June 25, 2017

Eleven years on the attack on Jericho prison: Security coordination and occupation must end

On the 11th anniversary of the occupation crime of attacking Jericho prison and kidnapping Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat and his comrades, it is more clear than ever the misery that has been inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Palestinian Authority and its practice of security coordination.

On this day in 2006, Zionist forces armed with tanks and bulldozers stormed Jericho prison, surrounding it from all sides and destroying its walls, in order to abduct Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and his comrades Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Majdi Rimawi, Hamdi Qur’an and Basil al-Asmar, and the veteran fighter Fouad Shoubaki. In this crime, the Palestinian Authority, the United Kingdom and the United States were also accomplices. The British and American guards suddenly left their post only a few hours before the attack in coordination with the occupation; the abducted Palestinians were then subject to military trials by the occupation.

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat emphasizes the following points:

1) We have not forgotten and have not closed the file on or forgiven this crime, which was a product of British, US and Palestinian Authority security coordination with the occupation. The first chapter of this crime began with the kidnapping of Ahmad Sa’adat by the PA security apparatus and their imprisonment in the Muqata’, including their hastily-arranged military trials. They were then placed in Jericho prison, subject to the dictates of the occupation, which later led to the storming of the prison by occupation forces and their abduction.

2) This incident is part of a series of crimes in which security coordination by the Palestinian Authority has been complicit in attacking the rights and resistance of the Palestinian people, including political arrests and persecution of the resistance. We have witnessed a revolving door, in which strugglers and former prisoners from occupation prisons are arrested by the PA and vice versa. This has escalated to murder, as in the case of Basil al-Araj and his comrades, arrested by the Palestinian Authority and imprisoned for five months before his assassination at the hands of the Israeli occupation. The arrest of Basil and his five comrades indicates the devastating nature of security coordination.

3) Despite the abduction of Sa’adat and his comrades from Jericho prison, the occupation failed to imprison their spirit of resistance. Inside the Israeli prisons, Sa’adat and his comrades are leaders in struggle and confrontation and have participated in all the battles of the prisoners’ movement. They have become influential leaders challenging the occupation time and again.

4) We reaffirm in this anniversary the need to strengthen the movement in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, including prisoners and activists who are victims of security coordination, exposing the joint policies of the Authority and the occupation against them.

The attack on the Jericho prison and the subsequent events have many lessons to be found in the struggle of Ahmad Sa’adat and his comrades, including his refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the occupation courts. Despite all attempts to crack down on resistance and imprison those who struggle, the idea of resistance and the will and determination of the people for freedom cannot be crushed, despite security coordination and despite massive military aggression. Inevitably, we will see a light at the end of this tunnel and the occupation and the Authority will be held accountable. Today, the continuing popular movement is growing in the Palestinian street against the project of the Authority and, at the forefront, its security coordination policies that have been a catastrophic failure for the Palestinian people.

Greetings and solidarity to Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom!

Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat
March 14, 2017