It’s not just al-Quds and Samidoun that are under attack; it’s the whole lot of us Palestinians

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Caption: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network poster: “Freedom for all of our Palestinian prisoners”

In the warped mind of The Jerusalem Post and other Zionist mouthpieces for Israel, Palestinians must not defend their prisoners or mourn their martyrs. If they do, whether by word or deed, they are terrorists or Islamists out to destroy the world as proxies of Iran. This vicious and at the same time ridiculous hasbara is birthed out of a deep sense of Jewish Zionist entitlement and superiority that denies Palestinian humanity, refusing to acknowledge our rights in our own homeland. In The Jerusalem Post’s hot-headed opinion, for example, “Iran proxy” Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network “should be designated as a terror organization by the EU.”

How often we the Palestinians must hear our suffering, not only trivialized, but also criminalized? To such diabolical mouthpieces as The Jerusalem Post and to Israel itself, Palestinians do not deserve understanding, sympathy or solidarity — not in warrior death, not in cruel imprisonment, not in unliberated life.

Zionism is a terminal illness but those who mourn its inevitable death are still stuck in the stage of denial as they grieve. In the words of Afif Safieh, speaking in Belfast, “those who chose to be our enemies have mobilized against us God, the Bible, Hitler, the Holocaust and Hollywood … a tough challenge … We the Palestinian people have suffered three successive denials. First came the denial of our mere physical existence. Those who wanted to colonize our country pretended that Palestine was a land without a people for a people without a land. Our mere physical existence was denied. Then we were denied our individual and national and individual rights and we were collectively uprooted and expedited to the periphery of our homeland. And third, and this is worse, today we are being denied the recognition of the historical injustice that was inflicted on us, the recognition of our sufferings. How often, dear friends, we the Palestinians have to hear our suffering being trivialized and banalized?”

Today, add to the above Zionist denials the denial of the undeniable truth that “All the territory west of the Jordan River has long constituted a single state under Israeli rule, where the land and the people are subject to radically different legal regimes, and Palestinians are permanently treated as a lower caste. Policymakers and analysts who ignore this one-state reality will be condemned to failure and irrelevance, doing little beyond providing a smokescreen for the entrenchment of the status quo.”

Zionist hysteria runs deep. Israel, for example, often refuses to return the remains of Palestinian martyrs to their families as though scared Palestinians could still use their organs to transplant, even as Israel literally rips their hearts out. But remaining blind to the reality of a single state upholding Jewish supremacy (which is by no means a new reality) ought not to be an option for anyone.

Samidoun will not stop caring about Palestinian rights, no matter how fervently The Jerusalem Post and Israel wish they would. Nor will Palestinians themselves. The upcoming Liberation Conference for Palestine (Ottawa, April 28–30, 2023) organized by Masar Badil — The Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement will no doubt denounce the renewed incitement campaign against the Samidoun Network.

Palestinians will never abandon their prisoners or their martyrs or, in fact, their cause. Of the 166 Palestinians killed by Israel in 2022, the majority ‌have been civilians, according to the United Nations and Palestinian human rights groups. The same is true of Palestinian prisoners; the majority are neither Fateh nor Jihad nor any other armed resistance groups. In Palestine, there is no distinction between civilian and fighter.

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Caption: Event organized by Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine together with the youth committee in Beit Ummar, al-Khalil on 17 April and 18 April of 2021 in support of Palestinian prisoners

At an event organized by Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine together with the youth committee in Beit Ummar, al-Khalil on 17 April and 18 April of 2021 in support of Palestinian prisoners, Palestinian youth affirmed their commitment to visit with prisoners’ families — all 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons.

“It is our duty today to be the voice of the prisoners to the world and their voice to the Palestinian communities in exile and diaspora everywhere. It is our duty to expose the international inaction and complicity with the crimes against our valiant prisoners. Today, it is our duty to reject the policies of intimidation, threat, revolving doors and trading on the rights of our prisoners. Today, it is our duty to defend all prisoners of freedom and conscience in the prisons of the world. From the heart of Al-Arroub camp, we send a message of freedom to the heroic prisoner Georges Abdallah, who has been detained for 37 years in French prisons, for defending the cause of Palestine and its freedom, and assuring him that his revolutionary approach, resilience and the steadfastness of our prisoners are the daily engine driving us towards freedom.”

That’s the spirit The Jerusalem Post is trying to criminalize in Europe, as Israel has successfully criminalized it in Palestine. It’s not just al-Quds and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network that are under attack; it’s the whole lot of us Palestinians.

Note: First published on Medium
Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank


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