Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee

29Feb/12

Statement on Hunger Strike

We, a collection of members of the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee, will hold a hunger strike for one day on Thursday, March 1, to proclaim our support for Palestinian victims of Israeli administrative detention and to raise the issue of such illegal practices at Harvard.

Today, 309 Palestinians are held by Israel indefinitely, charged with no crime and with little hope of release. Since 1967, 700,000 Palestinians- or 20% of the population, and 40% of all men in the Occupied Territories- has been detained at some point in their lives, and 95% of these have been subject to torture, according to the Palestine Monitor (link below).

Administrative detention is a practice by the Israeli military to arrest and hold Palestinians without proper trials for indefinite amounts of time. Under administrative detention, an arrested prisoner may be kept without access to legal counsel and without due trial for periods up to four months, which can be renewed without limit by Israeli military authorities. At times, Palestinian prisoners will be detained within Israeli territory and not in Palestinian territory (such as the West Bank), in violation of the Geneva convention ban on imprisoning people within the occupying power's territory. This practice makes it impossible for Palestinian lawyers to travel to see their clients. During this type of detention, Palestinians (including minors) are often subject to torture and abuse.

According to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, 309 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention, with at least 60% of them having had their terms extended. Several Palestinians have been detained in this way for over eight years. More information on Palestinian prisoners in Israel can be found here: http://www.palestinemonitor.org/?p=214 and information on torture against these prisoners can be found here: http://www.palestinemonitor.org/?p=216.

In the last few weeks, many activists around the world have engaged in hunger strikes out of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention. This Wednesday, we add our voices to this global chorus of opposition to Israel's unjust policies and the regime of apartheid it has imposed across the Holy Land. We will be having a joint dinner at 6 PM on Thursday at Casablanca in Harvard Square to end our strike together. We invite all members of good conscience of the Harvard community to join us.

This hunger strike is a part of Harvard Israeli Apartheid Week, a series of events held annually in cities across the world to raise awareness of Israel as an apartheid state and to build support for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns. More info can be found at the global site: http://apartheidweek.org/ as well as on our own website.

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