The Popular Resistance Committees in Palestine sent on Tuesday its “heartfelt congratulations” to the freed Palestinian hunger striker from occupied Jerusalem, Samer Al-Issawi.
In a statement published on its website, the Committees said: “Our heartfelt congratulations, inspired by revolution and resistance, go to the freed Palestinian prisoner after his victory in the longest hunger strike, which lasted for more than nine months.”
The statement described Al-Issawi’s hunger strike as “legendary” for lasting 277 days, and it would have gone on for even longer if the Israeli prison services had not accepted his demand.
“This victory,” the Committees said, “proves that rights cannot be dragged from the fascists unless by force. They do not gift rights.”
Occupation authorities arrested Al-Issawi in 2002 and sentenced him to 30 years in prison, but he was one of the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails in 2011 in the deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. On 7 July 2012 he was re-arrested on the pretext that he violated the conditions of his release. The following month he started his hunger strike to demand his freedom.
Calling for coordinated support for Palestinian prisoners, the Committees pointed out that: “This is a humanitarian issue and all the Palestinian people and Palestinian national parties have to work side by side to free all the prisoners in Israeli jails.” They also pledged their own commitment.
On the same issue, the Committees called for the international community to work on freeing Palestinian prisoners “who suffer aggressive torture inside the Israeli jails”, and to support justice.
Occupation authorities freed Al-Issawi for the second time on Monday, but prevented his family in Jerusalem from showing any kind of celebration.
Upon leaving the Israeli prison of Shata, Al-Issawi told reporters why he had been on that long hunger strike: “I wanted to protect the rights of Palestinian prisoners and deter Israel from re-arresting more Palestinians who had been freed in the Shalit deal.”.