The following statement was issued by the Palestinian Youth Movement to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, April 17:

This year we commemorate Palestinian political prisoners’ day as Palestinian prisoners wage “the battle of empty stomachs.” We pay special tribute to those who are under administrative detention, to the martyrs of the prisoners’ national movement, to those serving life sentences, and to those who are in solitary confinement in the Zionists’ jails. On this day we recall the glorious and heroic struggles of the prisoners’ national movement since 1948, a date which is marked with bloodshed, suffering and steadfastness. No statement can do justice to the heroic sacrifices of the Palestinian prisoners, which include countless women, men and children.

The Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) salutes all political prisoners of the national movement and all Arab prisoners in the jails of the occupiers.

We are convinced that the freedom of all prisoners will not be won through the wishful thinking and diplomacy of our current leadership that was ushered in following the Oslo accords, as this so-called “peace process” has not been able to secure the release of even one prisoner—old or young. On this day we call for the unity of the prisoner’s movement in order to focus the efforts of the prisoners so that we may reach the goals we all aspire to; justice, dignity and liberation. The prisoners’ issue is of no less importance than the issue of refugees, the integrity of Jerusalem and self-determination.

On this occasion we also emphasize the need for adopting a national program based on the complete liberation of Palestine, a principle and goal that countless prisoners and martyrs struggled for, a national program that is not dictated by distractions such as representation, legitimacy and political differences, which led to divisions among our ranks. The division has taken a lot of the energy and weakened our efforts to face the Zionist military and political machinery.

We in the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) reject the forced exile of freed prisoners and call upon our great people to stand against this practice and to support the prisoners’ movement. We also call for the development of a resistance strategy based on the goals of freedom and liberation and against all forms of passiveness and normalization.

The prisoner’s national movement was and still is the flame that lights the path of our struggle against the Zionist colonizer. Let us revitalize the prisoners’ national movement through collaboration and unification of the efforts for the freedom of all prisoners. Let us refuse all options that detract from the fundamental right to resist and fight for decent living for our families and people.

Oppression shall vanish…And chains are certain to break

A phrase known to generations old and young. A slogan used by the prisoners’ national movement in its continuous struggle against the Zionist occupation.

Let us work together for return and liberation making this slogan visible in our actions, work and approach.

Freedom to all prisoners and strugglers for freedom and dignity!

Until Return and Liberation,
International Central Council
Palestinian Youth Movement