palestinians and the ‘battle of empty stomachs’
Last Updated : GMT 11:59:16
Egypt Today, egypt today
Egypt Today, egypt today
Last Updated : GMT 11:59:16
Egypt Today, egypt today

Palestinians and the ‘battle of empty stomachs’

Egypt Today, egypt today

palestinians and the ‘battle of empty stomachs’

Diana Moukalled

The Palestinians are now embarking on a new course in their conflict with Israel.
More than two weeks ago, some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails began an open-ended hunger strike, refraining from eating any food and only drinking water mixed with salt, to protest the deteriorating conditions of the prisons.
The hunger strike has so far caused the death of one person while many of the remaining striking prisoners are suffering from serious health problems.
There is no doubt that their strike brings the situation back to the beginning stage of political action, the stage before an armed struggle.
This is an example of peaceful civil action that is taking place in a very complex political situation.
For the Palestinians, the strike comes as ruling powers Fatah and Hamas failed to provide effective political leadership to lead the struggle for Palestinian rights.
Within the Arab context, it is happening at a time of general collapse in some countries or of tyranny in others, therefore no Arab help should be expected to strengthen the Palestinian movement.
The biggest obstacles are attempts by some Arab parties to hijack the strike and use it to advance their political agenda.
How can people trust figures who lend their support to the regime of Bashar Assad, one of the most prominent jailers and murderers of our time, while they shed tears over the Palestinian prisoners?
What credibility have those who have been blind toward, and even blessed, the deadly Baathist regime and now launch propaganda-filled solidarity campaigns with the Palestinians on hunger strike?
Palestinian prisoners undoubtedly deserve support, but the Arab world is full of political prisoners, of people who have disappeared or who were killed during torture.
The numbers of people captive in Syrian prisons is terrifying.
How can anyone who ignored the plight of the Syrians over the past years, or has supported the regime that is responsible for the catastrophe that befell Syria, claim solidarity with Palestinian prisoners?
It is this hypocrisy, and nothing else, that allows Israel to continue to humiliate the Palestinians and deprive them of their rights.
The Palestinian cause has suffered under tyrannical regimes just as it suffered due to the occupation.
In other words, regimes such as the Syrian Baathists, which was preceded by the Iraqi regime, which exercised tyranny and dictatorship under the pretext of helping the Palestinian cause.
This has harmed the just cause of the Palestinians.
Today, some are trying to breathe life into these harmful policies by linking the prisoners’ strike with the falling axis of resistance represented by Bashar Assad.
Such attitudes only mislead those trying to understand the struggle of the Palestinians against occupation and of some Arabs against tyranny.
Therefore, it is imperative to clarify and protect the Palestinian cause and to show respect for the lives lost in the prisons of repressive and absolutist regimes.
The campaign of the Palestinian prisoners is based on an independent choice, one that is not subject to extortion by authoritarian regimes.
Therefore, Palestinian society should be called upon to circumvent it and get out of the state of total political inertia that almost destroys the meaning of the Palestinian cause.
The hunger strike should also be an opportunity to make a clear distinction between the Palestinian fight for justice and the Arab fight against the tyranny of some of their leaders.


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