We stand with the hunger strikers

May 23, 2017

In April, a group of some 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike to protest conditions inside Israeli jails. They are often denied access to family visits or lawyers, receive inadequate medical treatment and are put into solitary confinement and administrative detention for extended periods. Labor for Palestine is circulating the following petition in support of the hunger strikers and calling for justice.

"We urge all labor organizations and workers' movements to express their solidarity and support for the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike, for the Palestinian people's struggle for liberation and for the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel."
-- Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS), April 28, 2017

LABOR FOR Palestine joins workers around the world to stand with 1,500 Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike since April 17 to protest conditions that Amnesty International calls "unlawful and cruel." After more than a month, their health is failing, but their steadfastness remains unshakable.

From workers' rights and women's rights, to anti-racism and anti-colonialism, hunger strikes are a time-honored form of protest against injustice.

But the Israeli government--which receives $3.8 billion per year in U.S. weapons and closely coordinates with the same police agencies that systematically terrorize Black and Brown communities in the United States--threatens to force-feed the strikers, and is gunning down their supporters in the streets of Palestine. Such relentless state violence reflects the continuing Nakba, Israel's 69-year-old ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian people.

Showing solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike
Showing solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike

Undeterred, the prisoners have vowed: "Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost."

They know that, like Jim Crow and apartheid South Africa, Zionist settler colonialism will one day fall to the unstoppable tide of popular mass resistance.

Labor bodies around the world have risen to their defense, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Canadian Labour Congress, 26 European trade unions and labor organizations, World Federation of Trade Unions (representing 92 million workers in 162 countries), and International Trade Union Confederation (representing 181 million workers in 163 countries).

Their outpouring is accompanied by rising international labor respect of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) picket line, which demands an end to occupation and apartheid, full equality for all, and Palestinian refugees' right to return to the homes and lands from which they were expelled.

In the U.S., BDS has been embraced by West Coast dockers refusing to handle Israeli Zim Line cargo, the United Electrical Workers, Connecticut state AFL-CIO, UAW 2865, UAW 2322, GSOC-UAW 2110, AFT 3220, and thousands of other union members.

This parallels growing intersectional solidarity with Palestine from the Movement for Black Lives, Standing Rock, #NoBanNoWall, and other U.S. grassroots social justice movements.

Today, we affirm:
-- Victory to Palestinian Political Hunger Strikers!
-- From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free!

Issued May 21, 2017 by Labor for Palestine Co-Conveners (affiliations for identification only) Suzanne Adely, Global Workers Solidarity Network; Michael Letwin, former president, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325, and Labor for Standing Rock; and Clarence Thomas, co-chair, Million Worker March and ILWU Local 10 Executive Board (retired)

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