To mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day 2012, on Tuesday 17th April from 1-2pm the IPSC will be holding a symbolic lunchtime demonstration outside EU House, Molesworth Street (Dublin 2) to highlight the European Union’s ongoing facilitation of Israel’s apartheid policies and war crimes – including the imprisonment of over 4,400 political prisoners.

Of these prisoners, over 300 have been interned without facing charge or trial under the Administrative Detention regime. Recently, two high profile successful hunger strikes by prisoners Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi have brought this issue a great amount of coverage. Several other prisoners are also currently on hunger strike, and it has been annoucned that some 1,600 mopre are due to embark on an open ended hunger strike on April 17th to coincide with Prisoners’ Day.

Following the demo, activists will move to Grafton Street and conduct an information stall between 2.30 and 5.30pm, distributing information about Palestinian political prisoners.

- Why are we targetting the EU?

The EU is Israel’s biggest trading partner, and the Additional Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an EC-Israel Association on an EC-Israel Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) is currently being debated at the European Parliament and is likely to be adopted, thus increasing this trade.

We are calling on Irish MEPs in the EU Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade committees to vote ‘No’ to ACAA, and no vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament in June. Israeli apartheid must not be rewarded, it must be opposed by concrete actions by governments who declare they support human rights. Appeasing apartheid is simply not an option.

You can also take action on this by emailing all Irish MEPs here: http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/e-action-item-europea…ement

- Prisoners, Internment and Apartheid

Amnesty International says Israel uses Administrative Detention “to lock up Palestinian activists without charge or trial”. As Amnesty notes, these detention orders can be repeatedly renewed, “so in effect detainees can be held indefinitely. The process violates their right to a fair trial which is guaranteed by international law”.

However, Administrative Detention is only one aspect of the larger prison regime used by Israel to suppress Palestinian resistance to occupation and Apartheid. The vast majority of political prisoners are ‘convicted’ by non-jury Israeli Military Courts. These courts, biased from the outset, do not meet international fair trial standards. As Amnesty points out, Palestinians “continue to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts”.

Furthermore, Amnesty says that ”consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence”. It is worth noting that Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are subject to Israeli military law, while Israel’s illegal settlers are governed by Israeli civil law – a clear example of Israel’s Apartheid system.

Since the beginning of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This forms approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories. Considering the fact that the majority of those detained are male, the number of Palestinians detained forms approximately 40% of the total male Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories – a truly staggering figure.

In turn, the brutal and repressive prison regime is only one aspect of the occupation of Palestine by Israel and its associated Apartheid regime. Indeed, when one considers the ongoing siege of Gaza and fragmentation of the West Bank, Palestine can be viewed as one large open air prison camp.

For more information about Palestinian political prisoners, please see the ADDAMEER website: http://www.addameer.org/

For more background to the EU and Israel, please see the relevant section of our website here: http://www.ipsc.ie/the-issues/the-eu-and-israel

Related Link: http://www.ipsc.ie