It 'a step away from death, now reduced to a skeleton in a wheelchair, Samer to Issawi, a Palestinian prisoner now in its 213th day of a hunger strike. His photo circulates in an almost viral on the web, in the succession of appeals and petitions signed by thousands of people around the world. More than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Samer is one of the four prisoners on hunger strike, and on February 19 was rejected the application for release filed by his lawyers. A few hours after the hearing we have telephoned Abbas Hamideh, one of the coordinators of the campaign for his release .
Abbas Hamideh: February 19 Today's news is that Samer Al Issawi was again heard by magistrates Israelis.That today's hearing was an emergency because of his health, but the court still said no to his release, which was requested by a motion brought by his family. Who knows the situation of Palestinian prisoners know that these decisions are the norm, it is not anything new. Samer to Issawi was part of the agreement between Israel and Hamas to exchange prisoners reported in the freedom soldier Gilad Shalit. After that agreement there was a massive campaign to riarrestare Palestinians released from prison, Samer is just one of many.The re-arrest of these people demonstrates the bad faith of Israel at the time of the agreement.
AMISnet: But let's step back to the personal story of Samer, what were the charges against him before the agreement for the exchange of prisoners, because he was in prison?
Abbas Hamideh: In 2002, the Israeli army, which had invaded Ramallah, arrested many Palestinians as part of which they called "Operation Defense Shield" during which many were re-occupied West Bank town. Samer to Issawi, who is originally from the village of Isawia, a suburb of East Jerusalem was captured during that operation on charges of smuggling arms and taking part in military operations. He was then sentenced to 13 years in prison. Prior to the exchange of prisoners Samer had already completed 10 years in prison and then was released three years before the end.
Abbas Hamideh: What happened after, on what grounds he was arrested?
AMISnet: July 2, 2012 at Samer Issawi was arrested by Israeli authorities near the town of Hizma, a village included within the boundaries of the city of Jerusalem, even according to Israel. Despite this, he was arrested for being a "public danger", whatever that means, and leaving Jerusalem, an accusation at least superficially.Skip to understand for what "public" was a threat to the Israeli or Palestinian, is something that nobody knows.If it were not so sad it would also have to smile at the fact that Israel has arrested a man accused of leaving Jerusalem to Jerusalem itself. Those against the Samer Issawi is an example of trumped-up charges that Israel is riarrestando released prisoners with the agreement of prisoner exchange in October 2011
AMISnet: Recently Palestinian prisoners have rediscovered the instrument of the hunger strike to fight against the Israeli occupation and to a detention they perceive as unjust, what is the idea behind this strategy?
Abbas Hamideh: The first to discover this tool has been Khader Adnan, a former Palestinian prisoner. His hunger strike has attracted the attention of the world on him. He used the weapon of an empty stomach to impose the world's attention the issue of Palestinian prisoners. Most people are unaware of the suffering of these prisoners who are subjected to torment and torture, are ill-treated in Israeli jails. After Khader Adnan other Palestinian political prisoners used their empty stomachs as weapons of resistance, such as Hana 'Shalabi Mahmoud Sarsak and today is the turn of Samer Al Issawi that is not the only one: there are also Aiman Al Sharauna, Tarek Qaddam and Jaafar Ezzeddine, all of them are fighting using their empty stomachs.
AMISnet: This form of struggle is gaining a lot of solidarity at the international level but also within the same prison where Israeli February 19 another 800 Palestinian prisoners have refused food in solidarity with Samer and others. According to her hunger strike is proving to be an effective tool?
Abbas Hamideh: Yes, it is proving very effective as Khader Adnan has gained a worldwide visibility despite the blackout of mainstream media. There is always a black-out media on Counteracting the occupation of the Palestinians, but with the use of social media, we managed to reach the world, every Palestinian has become the journalist himself. The speed of social media is a blessing for the Palestinians, every day on Twitter, there are campaigns in support of the Samer Issawi, as there were for Khader Adnan or Hana 'Al Shalabi or the famous player of the national football Mahmoud Sarsak. Moreover Gandhi was the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of the hunger strike as a means of struggle.
AMISnet: in conclusion, is there a message you want to run for our Italian listeners?
Abbas Hamideh: The Italian people, beyond the behavior of governments, has always proved to be close to the Palestinian people. Today we ask you to prove it once again, we need more protests, more people take the word to denounce what is happening. The life of the Samer Issawi hangs in the balance, as well as those of Aiman Al Sharauna, Tarek Qaddam and Jaafar Ezzeddine. These four Palestinian political prisoners need the help of the Italians and around the world, each charitable initiative is necessary and welcome.
And gestures of solidarity which come from our country from February 17 is also fast Rosario Citriniti , media activist of the Documentation Centre 'Invictapalestina', camped in front of the church of Pentone, in the province of Catanzaro, while in Rome on February 21 from 17 to 19 outside the headquarters of the Red Cross will hold a demonstration organized by Palestinian community that has already received numerous applications from Italian associations.