Head of the Prisoner’s and Prisoner’s Affairs Committee, Issa Qaraqe’ said that the Palestinian leadership will continue to support the prisoner’s families against Israel’s policy of financial piracy and racist laws against human rights for Palestinians.
His speech was held at the Arab International Forum for Justice in Palestine in Beirut. Qaraqe’ was invited to give the speech by the Arab International Center for Communication and Solidarity. He was speaking namely against Palestinians President Abu Mazen and others in leadership.
He stressed that Palestinian prisoners are political prisoners and legitimate activists for dignity, freedom, and independence. Calling for international action against the arbitrary Israeli laws, Qaraqe asked leaders to protect Palestinian detainees and compel Israel to implement international law and international humanitarian treaties.
The conference also held a tribute for Ahed al-Tamimi and for other prisoners still held in Israeli Prisons.
The Following is the text of Issa Qaraqe’s speech for the Arab International Forum for Justice in Palestine:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I would like to extend my greetings and appreciation to the President of the Arab International Center for Communication and Solidarity, Mr. Maan Bashour, and all those who are holding this forum. I am here also to extend the greetings of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the government of Palestine and the greetings of Palestinian prisoners and their families.
The Justice Forum for Palestine is being held during the detention of approximately 6,500 Palestinian and Arab prisoners, including 61 women, six of whom are minors, and the detention of 350 children, 500 administrative detainees, 8 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the prisoners of conscience, and MP Khaleda Jarrar.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The Israeli occupation violations against prisoners and detainees, which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity, are under the guise of a series of laws and regulations. This is what promotes the Israeli occupation. Apartheid under the cover of law and the transformation of Israel as an occupying power into the state of apartheid for the region.
Since 2015, 185 bills have been introduced in the Israeli parliament, including laws against the rights of prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails. These laws include racist incitement against the prisoners and the criminalization of their legitimate resistance to occupation, as guaranteed by UN resolutions and international law. The legality of their national and humanitarian struggle is violated by the laws that take their rights away. The arbitrary measures against them go against international treaties and conventions. And those same laws grant immunity and protection to perpetrators of crimes against Palestinians and their supporters.
The law detaining Palestinian tax funds under the pretext of using them only to support the families of prisoners, martyrs and wounded was approved by the Israeli Knesset on 3 July, 2018. The law of execution of Palestinian prisoners, which is now being discussed in the Knesset comes under the context of the attack on the legality of the national struggle by the prisoners against the occupation and part of the continuous repression under the cover of law against prisoners.
I agree with the position of President Abu Mazin and the Palestinian leadership to reject these aggressive laws and to not succumb to the policy of extortion, repression and financial piracy and to continue to support the families of the prisoners and martyrs and the wounded as a moral and humanitarian duty. The Israeli attempts to label the prisoners as terrorists and criminals will not overshadow the fact that our prisoners are political prisoners and activists legitimate for dignity, freedom and independence.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The number of laws passed against the rights of Palestinian prisoners is exactly 15 since 2015. Only one bill was presented and did not pass. All of them are targeting the rights of the Palestinian prisoners and the human and legal status. These reflect the reality of the Palestinian detainees inside the prisons and led to the deterioration of their humanitarian situation without discrimination.
These laws, accompanied by the racial incitement and hatred against prisoners has led to serious violations of their rights. Laws such as the detention of minors as young as twelve years old and the law prolonging their sentencing for up to 20 years, the law of immunity for those who torture and abuse prisoners and the law expanding the practice of administrative detentions are combined with the absence of fair trials, the serious deterioration in the health status of prisoners, the denial of visits and education and forced feeding during hunger strikes. There is no justification for the arrest of the bodies of prisoners and martyrs, the withdrawal of their residencies, the expulsion of prisoners from their homes, the imposition of fines and heavy financial compensation for the prisoners and their families. And no reason for the confiscation of property and the demolition of houses.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
This year, prisoner Yassin al-Saradih was martyred on Feb. 20, 2018 because of an arbitrary field execution. He was killed from a live round at point blank. Aziz Oweisat was martyred on May 20, 2018 after being beaten to death by the jailers. A prisoner with heart problems died because of medical negligence. His name was was Hassan al-Tamimi and he was held for two months after his arrest on Apr. 4, 2018. This is a sign of the rising medical crimes in prisons, the policy of slow death for prisoners. Administrative officials have been boycotting administrative detention courts since Feb. 15, 2018. Some are in an open hunger strike against their administrative detention, like the most prominent 55 days. These are realities of the laws and the imprisonment by the Israeli government.
The review of these laws reveal that they are obvious violations of UN resolutions, the four Geneva Conventions, the International Criminal Court, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention against Torture, the Convention on the Protection of the Child, and other international conventions and treaties. This places the occupying power as a hostile state to world culture and to human values.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we recommend your conference to adopt the following positions and proposals:
- Declare your condemnation of Israeli racist laws as violations of human rights, international laws and treaties and a threat to the right of prisoners and detainees.
- Demanding the United Nations to declare Israel as an occupying power and an apartheid state against the Palestinian people.
- Demand the United Nations to declare that the Palestinian prisoners and detainees are political prisoners and legitimate activists protected by the Geneva Conventions and UN resolutions.
- Demanding the United Nations to include the Israeli army on the list of terrorism in the world for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- Call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to take a stand and make a decision on these laws and to establish mechanisms to protect the rights of prisoners in Israeli prisons and to demand Israel to implement the Geneva Conventions and international treaties on occupying governments and their treatment of prisoners.
- Demand the dispatch of the committee under the direction of the United Nations to investigate Israeli practices against prisoners and the violations of international and humanitarian standards in dealing with them. Especially when it involves torture, killing, the administrative detention of children, holding prisoners inside the territory of the occupying state. Demand that the United Nations is held accountable for these crimes and practices.
- Call upon the United Nations and the Security Council to declare Israeli parliament an apartheid parliament because of its adoption and treatment of legislation that violates Palestinian human rights and poses a threat to security, peace and stability in the region.
- Demand the union of the International Parliament and all parliaments in the world to boycott the Israeli parliament and its deputies and members because of racist laws that violate international treaties and human rights principles.
- Strengthen and support the Palestinian position by going to the International Criminal Court and referring the crimes committed by the occupation authorities in order to expedite opening investigations against Israeli criminals so the occupying state will not remain a state of international impunity.
- Demand increased activities in solidarity with the prisoners and declare their position at all regional and international levels, exposing Israeli racist practices and holding all legal and official institutions responsible for the Israeli aggression against the detainees.
- The Secretary-General of the United Nations calls on Israel to be included in the black list for its detention of children and those children’s exposure to degrading treatment that violates the Convention on the Protection of Children and all international treaties.
- Call on all countries to cancel their agreements with the occupying power in economic, commercial, tourism, security and cultural areas because of Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights.
- Demand the League of Arab and Islamic States to establish a network of economic and social security for prisoners and their families and for the families of the martyrs and wounded because of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people’s money and the theft and detention of these funds under the guise of the law.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I conclude by saying that Israel, as an occupying power, can hold our money by force and arrogance, but it cannot hold our dignity, our will, or our legitimate right to freedom and a decent life.