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Palestinian columnist: Israel is a “Holocaust state” and its prisons are “detention camps”

Excerpt of a column by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for official PA daily and former advisor to former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on national affairs

Headline: “The strike of freedom or Martyrdom”

“Yesterday evening, Tuesday [Feb. 14, 2023], bully [Israeli] Minister [of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir], the successor of [former Israeli Parliament Member Rabbi Meir] Kahane the fascist, emphasized that he is insisting on his measures against the Palestinian prisoners’ movement in the prison of his state, the Israeli state of death and organized crime. Israeli Channel 12 quoted him as follows: ‘I am determined to continue reducing the prisoners’ conditions to the minimum.’ The criminal murderer Ben Gvir continued: ‘Murderers do not deserve comfort’ (Ben Gvir’s actual quote was “the murderers of children and babies do not deserve pampering” -Ed.), as if there is ‘comfort’ in the holocaust state’s detention camps!

In light of this heavy challenge, and in light of the fact that the supreme national emergency committee of the prisoners’ movement felt the national responsibility laid on its shoulders – to break the criminal decisions, measures, and violations of Ben Gvir and the senior officials of his Nazi government – it ‘organized our ranks to fight this policy, which is hostile to everything Palestinian,’ according to its statement. The statement continued: ‘The recent things [in this framework] have been the policy of demolishing [homes] in Jerusalem, expanding the settlement plans in the Palestinian West Bank, using violence against female prisoners and child [prisoners] in the Damon Prison (sic., apparently refers to a female prisoner who attempted to set her cell on fire after prisoners were put in solitary confinement for celebrating terrorist Khairy Alqam’s murder of 7; see note below), stopping the entry of pitas into the prisons (sic., refers to the closure of bakeries operated in the prisons by and for terrorist prisoners), …and today they are harming our right to wash ourselves (refers to limitations on terrorist prisoners’ shower time to stop deliberate waste of water -Ed.).’ This is because criminal Minister [Ben Gvir] determined that a prisoner’s shower will be limited to four minutes, water [for showers] will be allowed to flow to the prisoners’ wings for one hour per day in all the prisons, and the bakeries in the prisons will be closed…

The statement by the prisoners’ supreme emergency committee defined the gradual steps of their struggle against the prison authorities: ‘We have decided to launch a series of steps, which will begin with disobedience and will end with an unlimited hunger strike on the first of the coming [Muslim fasting month of] Ramadan… This strike, whose headline is “Freedom or Martyrdom,” is a strike in which every prisoner who is able to do so from all the factions will participate.’ …

Through their arrogant decisions, the Zionist fascists have opened with their own hands – and on themselves – the gates of hell in the arena of the prisons. They caused the prisoners of freedom and national honor to wave the flag of defending the national identity and narrative, and [defending] their rights and the political, legal, and cultural rights of every people…

The headline of the statement by the emergency committee of the prisoners’ movement – ‘Freedom or Martyrdom’ – reflects the determination to wage the current battle of defense of the prisoners’ freedom to the end, a battle that is likely to be the fiercest and most intense, until their will overcomes the will of the fascist hangman…

There is no room to retreat or submit to the barbarity of Zionist Nazism. We all – the people, the leadership, and the factions – in all parts of the homeland and diaspora must stand as one line behind their battle, the battle of the entire people, until victory and until the defeat of the new fascists in Palestine, so that peace will prevail throughout the region and the entire world, because they are a danger threatening all of humanity.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 15, 2023]

Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul is also a former PLO Central Council member.

Meir Kahane - American Israeli rabbi with right-wing views, who was elected to the Israeli Parliament in 1984. His views included the belief that Arabs should be “transferred” out of Israel - preferably by encouraging them to leave and compensating them for their property, but if that was unsuccessful, then by deportation. In 1988, Kahane’s party, Kach, was banned in Israel for being racist and anti-democratic. Kahane was assassinated on Nov. 5, 1990, by an Egyptian American.

Khairy Alqam - 21-year-old Arab terrorist and resident of Jerusalem who shot and murdered 6 Israelis and 1 Ukrainian national - Asher Natan, 14, Ilya Sosansky, 26, Natali Ziskin Mizrahi, 45, Eli Mizrahi, 48, Rafael Ben Eliyahu, 56, Irina Korolyova, 60, and Shaul Chai, 68 - and wounded 5 others outside of the Ateret Avraham Synagogue in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Yaakov on Sabbath eve, Jan. 27, 2023, as some of them were coming out from prayers in the synagogue. Alqam fled the scene in a car and then opened fire on Israeli police officers, who shot and killed him. The attack took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.