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ANC expresses solidarity with jailed Palestinian Leader Marwan Barghouthi's 'freedom and dignity' hunger strike

3 May 2017

The African National Congress (ANC) has affirmed its solidarity with the Freedom and Dignity hunger strike by 1600 Palestinian prisoners in 200 Israeli jails.

The hunger strike has entered its second week. The prisoners are on strike to draw attention to the plight of Palestinian political prisoners, many of whom are held in solitary confinement.

In a letter addressed to parliamentarians around the world, jailed Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouthi has called the arrest of Palestinian MP's by Israel 'an insult to Parliamentarians everywhere…an insult to freedom and justice, and an insult to human rights everywhere.'

The ANC concurs with the sentiments expressed by Cde. Barghouthi, and once again affirms the organization's position that the Israeli state's pattern of arbitrary arrests and detention without trial of Palestinians bears the hallmarks of apartheid South Africa.

Progressive organizations in South Africa and around the world should be appalled that prisoners are denied their basic human rights, in Israel and everywhere else the world. It is a scathing indictment of the lack of human rights culture prevalent globally that prisoners of conscience are in detention in many parts of the world.

According to media reports, Israel has imposed general closures in the West Bank to prevent gatherings in support of the prisoners on hunger strike. This denial of the legitimate right to protest should be condemned.

During apartheid's darkest days, hunger strikes where often the only means by which political prisoners were able to draw attention to their plight, and countless ANC, SACP UDF cadres embarked on hunger strikes in prison, including on Robben Island.

The ANC affirms that the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands has gone on for far too long. For far too long Palestinians have been denied their right to self-determination.

The ANC knows too well that every attempt will be made to break the morale of the prisoners on hunger strike; and salutes the Palestinian prisoners for their determination and courage.

In the same week that workers of the world united to mark May Day, the ANC affirms the rallying call of the progressive worker's movement: that An Injury to One is an Injury to All.

Issued by:
Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General
African National Congress

Edna Molewa 076 462 5529
Chairperson: ANC NEC SubCommittee on International Relations
Zizi Kodwa - 082 330 4910
National Communications Manager