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  • Leila Khaled

    Leila Khaled | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“The prisoners on hunger strike are in direct confrontation with the enemy, but they have only the weapon of the empty stomach,” said Khaled.

Icon of revolutionary Palestinian resistance and a member of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Leila Khaled, announced Saturday that she will be hunger-striking in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, who have been striking in a historic, mass struggle for 21 days in Israeli cells.

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Khaled announced her strike at the prisoners’ support tent in Amman, Jordan, during an event held by the office of the Democratic People’s Unity Party of Jordan.

“The prisoners on hunger strike are in direct confrontation with the enemy, but they have only the weapon of the empty stomach,” said Khaled, reported Hadf News.

She called on the militant left to unite in supporting the strike, saying that “the prisoners are telling us for 20 days to come to the streets and showing us an example of unity.”

The revolutionary leader also berated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that the PA leadership wants “to sell us the illusion that Trump will resolve our struggle through negotiations,” and stated that the prisoners’ struggle is a clear alternative path of liberation.

“We must uphold the right of return, and the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of a democratic Palestine on the entire land of Palestine,” she said. “To the heroes on hunger strike in Israeli prison, I join you in this strike from this moment.”

The open-ended hunger strike has seen over 1,700 Palestinian prisoners take part since April 17. As their health deteriorates, Israel has shown no signs of heeding the prisoners’ demands.

Instead, Israeli authorities have cracked down on the prisoners, forcibly moving many to different sections of Israeli jails, confiscating their clothes and personal belongings and preventing lawyers and family members from visiting them in jail. Some prisoners, including strike leader Marwan Barghouti, a former Fatah leader, have been placed in solitary confinement.

Still, throughout the world, many groups have expressed their solidarity with the strikers, staging their own in support.

Several youth from the Palestinian Youth Organization in the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon began their hunger strike last week.

In the United States, students participating in the Columbia University Apartheid Divest campaign also launched on May 4 a rolling hunger strike in New York City.

And throughout Europe, a number of solidarity hunger strikes have seen people participating from Turin, Italy, to Edinburgh, Scotland, to Manchester, England.

On Saturday, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement released a number of calls to action: urging their supporters to escalate their solidarity marches, rallies and strikes; calling on the PA to end their cooperation with the apartheid Israeli state and urging action that would seek to prosecute “the criminals of the occupation prison administration and intelligence agencies, and the Minister of Internal Security, the terrorist Gilad Erdan, for judicial action everywhere in the world.”

Leila Khaled

They also emphasized that Israel’s force-feeding of the prisoners, accepted in medical ethics as a form of torture, “will mean for us a project of the execution of the prisoners.”

While Israeli doctors and hospitals have refused to carry out force feeding, the Israeli Supreme Court recently ruled that forrce-feeding hunger-striking prisoners is constitutional.

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“We will deal with it on that basis and we will turn the prisons into sites of confrontation with our bare bodies, armed with our faith, our will, our determination and our confidence in our people, the Arab and Islamic nation and the forces of freedom and justice in the world to stand by our side,” the statement from the Palestinian Prisoners’ National Movement concluded.

“This is a battle of freedom in confrontation of injustice, persecution and oppression, a battle to preserve and fight for human values and concepts in the face of the barbarity and racism represented by the occupation and its agents.”

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