Victory for Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed – step up the solidarity

We salute the victory of Palestinian political prisoner Bilal Kayed, whose 71-day hunger strike in Ramle prison resulted in the Israeli state agreeing to release him in December 2016. His protest against continued imprisonment under ‘administrative detention’, without charge or trial, highlighted the treatment of many more locked up under the Zionist regime. In a letter from prison Bilal wrote:

‘The prisoners are yesterday’s strugglers and tomorrow’s leaders...I remind you that there are still those prisoners who are fighting a vicious battle against this occupier that does not understand anything but the language of challenge...I remind you of the two Balboul brothers and Malik Al Qadi, and bless the victory of Ayed Al Heraimi, which is no less than my victory and the victory of others. I call upon you to stand with them in their struggle until the battle of hunger is victorious against the arsenal of the occupier. Inevitably, they will win.’

The RCG supports the Samidoun (‘steadfast ones’) campaign for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners and argues that the issue of detainees is central to building a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. At a rally in solidarity with Bilal Kayed in Manchester on 17 August comrade Shadi Daana told crowds:

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Boycott Israel! Free Bilal Kayed! Free all political prisoners!

On Saturday 23 July 2016, on London’s Oxford Street - Europe’s busiest shopping area - protestors held a loud and colourful demonstration demanding the release of Bilal Kayed, a Palestinian political prisoner who is now in the second month of a hunger strike.

The protest was organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and took place outside the flagship store of Marks and Spencer, Britain’s biggest corporate supporter of Israel. The RCG has organised pickets outside Marks and Spencer for more than 14 years because of the company’s historical links with the zionist movement, and its continuing economic ties with Israel. The 23 July picket was dedicated to the cause of Bilal Kayed and all Palestinian prisoners.

Free Bilal Kayed

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On 13 June 2016 Bilal Kayed completed a 14.5 year sentence in Israeli jails and was immediately given a further six-month sentence of ‘administrative detention’, meaning arbitrary imprisonment without charge or trial.

Kayed was an organiser of the 2012 Karameh hunger strike, in which thousands of Palestinian prisoners refused food for nearly one month, in protest against solitary confinement and denial of family visits. His continued imprisonment is punishment for his political leadership and solidarity. Now in his second month of another hunger strike, Bilal is demanding his freedom from administrative detention.

The RCG was one of 150 organisations around the world that responded to the call for protests to demand freedom for Bilal and for all Palestinian political prisoners.

A small group of zionists, keen to silence any criticism of Israel or its human rights abuses, attended the picket with Israeli flags and shouted abuse at the protesters, at one point attacking someone speaking on the sound system. In any case, the overwhelming support of passers by was for the anti-racist message of the Palestine protest and the zionists only served to show how isolated Israel has become - precisely because of its war crimes against the Palestinians.

To find out more about Bilal Kayed and the international campaign for political prisoners, visit the Samidoun website.

To find out more about the RCG and protests against the occupation of Palestine here in Britain, contact your nearest RCG branch today!

Solidarity with Palestinian prisoners

Solidarity with palestinian prisoners

On 24 April 12-year-old Dima Al Wawi was released from prison. She had been arrested on her way to school and accused of carrying a knife. She was imprisoned in Israel’s notorious HaSharon women’s prison, an overcrowded and filthy gaol, where food is insufficient and often infested with insects, women are routinely denied sanitary items during menstruation and threats, beatings, humiliation and sexual violence, and internal body searches are standard. HaSharon is one of five Israeli prisons run by G4S, which also provides guards at Israeli military bases, and services and equipment to Israeli checkpoints. Dima ‘confessed’ to wanting to ‘stab a Jew with a knife’ and was subsequently convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a knife. Her parents were fined NIS8,000 (£1,488). Israeli children under 14 are not given prison sentences, however a separate military law enables Palestinian children as young as 12 to be gaoled. Nazia Mukti reports.

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Israeli fascists reshuffle

While British politicians, opportunists and the ruling class media have been whipping up a frenzy to try and smear any opposition to Israel as anti-Semitic* a real and largely unreported crisis is engulfing the Zionist regime. In May, Moshe Ya’alon quit as defence minister in Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government over disagreements about 'manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society'. His replacement by the notorious racist Avigdor Lieberman confirms the rightward direction of the Zionist government. His appointment also raises the question whether the government will reject the opinion of army chiefs that another open war on the Palestinians would be unwinnable. Because of its increasing international isolation, the Zionist ruling class is split over its response to Palestinian resistance.

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Palestine - British Zionists lead witch-hunt against the boycott movement

Zionist prime minister benjamin netanyahu

Palestine British Zionists lead witch-hunt against the boycott movement

Labour’s ‘Mayor’ savages Corbyn: Party star Khan damns leader over anti-Semitism

(Daily Mail, 20 September 2015)

Jeremy Corbyn ‘impotent’ as he fails to halt Labour’s anti-Semitism

(The Telegraph, 16 March 2016)

‘Most Jews can’t trust Labour’: Jeremy Corbyn under fire from senior Jewish figure

(Evening Standard, 17 March 2016)

Anti-Semitism a major problem in UK universities, says former co-chair of Oxford University Labour Club

(The Independent, 17 March 2016)

Labour and the left have an anti-Semitism problem (Jonathan Friedland, The Guardian, 18 March 2016)

Lord Levy ‘may quit’ Labour over party’s failure to condemn anti-Semitism (The Express, 20 March 2016)

Over the years RCG supporters and other Palestine solidarity activists have learned first-hand that British police, Labour councils, store managers and local fascists will collude to try to destroy boycott Israel campaigns, with arrests, violence and press campaigns using ‘anti-Semitism’ as a label to try and smear the protests. Now the ruling class media is up in arms over what it depicts as a wave of anti-Jewish sentiment across Britain. The supposed ‘sharp rise’ in anti-Semitism (BBC 30 July 2015) is tied directly to Palestine solidarity and student activism supportive of the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to isolate the state of Israel. While there have undoubtedly been examples of anti-Jewish views by supposed supporters of Palestine, including some Labour Party members, the media scandals are blown up by Israel’s supporters to smear the BDS movement as a whole. In reality the media campaign has nothing to do with combating racist or religious prejudice, and everything to do with smearing anti-Zionists as anti-Semitic. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership is now a target for this attack.

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