It would have been possible for things to pass like normal if not for the consecutive turning points that slowly lead to Operation Decisive Storm and its subsequent events. It would have been possible to resume the strikes that have disappeared from the political scene regarding the Palestinian political prisoner file in the occupation’s jails.
What I am referring to are the Palestinian political (hunger) strikes that began in Israeli jails in 2014, which today seem to be but a mere memory. We are constantly being reminded of this political moment by Facebook as it chooses a glimpse from the past every morning for its users.
The hunger strikes were among the most prominent symbols of our resistance and steadfastness as they exhibited an attempt by our prisoners in Israeli jails to break the administrate injustices that are being carried out by forces of the occupation that continue to take place without any accountability. The strikes are taking place in the hopes that unwarranted political arrests will be brought to an end and to continue sprout small pockets of Palestinian resistance and change inside Palestinian civil society.
In the current reality it seems as though the hunger strikes have been taking place under very difficult civil circumstances, which make it difficult for this project to succeed, especially in the West Bank as it is the territory with which many of the hunger strikers feel a certain affiliation. The civil reality and morale were strong and determined and aimed at placing pressure on the occupier to comply with the demands of the hunger strikers.
With that being said, at the time, Hamas took on its responsibilities in the West Bank and did everything it could to ensure the success of the hunger strike project. After a long string of events, members of the Palestinian Authority found themselves aggravated by Hamas’s efforts to show its solidarity with the hunger strikers and therefore, made the decision to suppress these resistance efforts, which according to PA officials only served to further exacerbate the sense of oppression demonstrated by the Israeli occupation forces.
Yet, the most surprising outcome was the kidnapping of Israeli settlers from Hebron, which ultimately forced the PA to halt all of its security coordination for a brief time, as a result of the many Zionist violations against Hamas and its supporters in the West Bank.
Palestinian prisoners were then forced to stop their hunger strikes as a result of external developments, which were expected to continue if not increase the level of repressions that were taking place inside the prison with the war front in Gaza in full blast. In fact, the war in Gaza changed the outlook of this entire political stage as the war entered more severe stages and grew more surprising.
The goals of the Israeli war came to an end when it failed to meet its ends and although the Palestinians failed to meet their goals from the war – breaking the siege – they managed to encourage those living within prison cells that their siege could be broken. The hope here was that pressure could be placed on the occupier to end its injustices against Palestinian political prisoners.
With all this said, we can analyse today’s political prisoner struggle through the effects of foreign and external events and not through its internal accomplishments. There is a spark that fuels this movement just as there are things that led to Operation Decisive Storm. The important thing here is that the victims’ lives do not go to waste despite the fact that we do not see the means of salvation unfolding anytime in the foreseeable future.
Translated from Felesteen newspaper, 26 May 2015.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.