Final Declaration from the “Struggle of Palestinian Prisoners, International Solidarity and Boycott Conference”

Today is 29 November, the Day of International Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It is a day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have turned every place in which they take a breath into an arena for struggle against the illegitimate Israeli state and Zionism, from the West Bank to Gaza, and from the refugee camps to prisons and detention centres. As in past years, this 29 November is also being marked by solidarity events around the world. We believe that we are making a contribution to these international solidarity events with this conference.

This conference comes amid a special period. Particularly in Jerusalem and the West Bank, we are witnessing the intensification of attacks by the Zionist entity directed at the Palestinian people everywhere in Palestine, an increasing number of extrajudicial executions and, in conjunction with this, mass arrests with every passing day, as well as the rise of a new popular uprising.

Today, the number of Palestinian prisoners in Zionist jails has reached nearly 8,000, with close to 2,000 of these arrests occurring in the last two months. Since the start of the occupation, the number of arrested Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem has reached 800,000. At present, 45 of the Palestinian prisoners in Zionist jails are women, while a significant portion are also children. Moreover, the number of child prisoners is likely to rise following legal amendments by the occupational regime lowering the age of detention to 12.

Palestinian prisoners in the jails, who are subjected to every form of systematic torture, are naturally also being deprived of their right to life. At the moment, 25 Palestinian prisoners are suffering from cancer; in addition, the administrators of Zionist jails have restricted detainees’ access to food containing B12 vitamins or phosphorus, opening the way to potentially permanent brain- and nerve-related illnesses. Another recently passed law has provided legal backing to the torture-like force-feeding of prisoners participating in hunger strikes.

The occupier Israel has especially targeted the leaders of the Palestinian people with their arrest attacks. A number of Palestinian parliamentarians – particularly popular leaders such as Ahmed Saadat and Marwan Barghouti – have been incarcertated for years as part of an attempt by the Zionist entity to intimidate the entire Palestinian people while also effecting their surrender and bondage. Israeli courts, which are entirely devoid of the slightest desire for justice, never advance beyond being a mere formality for the occupying regime.

As the organizers and speakers at the 29 November “Struggle of Palestinian Prisoners, International Solidarity and Boycott Conference,” we declare once more that we support the struggle of Palestinian prisoners with all our heart and strength. In concrete terms, we support the campaign that was begun in 2013 on Robin Island, the site of Nelson Mandela’s incarceration in South Africa, to demand freedom for Marwan Barghouti and all Palestinian captives. In a similar fashion, we offer our support from Turkey to international campaigns to secure freedom for Ahmed Saadat. At the same time, we are not restricting our solidarity to mere declarations of support. Today, one of the most effective vehicles for concrete solidarity with Palestinian prisoners is the boycott campaign, which will soon target the G4S company.

Considered to be the world’s third biggest employer with 650,000 employees in 120 countries, G4S launched operations in Palestine in 2002 after it purchased a company called Hashmira. As part of an agreement signed with the Israeli Prison Authority in 2007, it provides equipment and services to prisons and detention centres. At the same time, however, it also provides equipment to military checkpoints in the West Bank, illegitimate settlements and police stations.

G4S has been accused of its complicity in the ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian prisoners in jails and detention centres. Children, meanwhile, are not exempt from such treatment, with some being subjected to solitary confinement. In some instances, the torture has resulted in the deliberate death of prisoners, while medical aid and treatment has been prevented from reaching ill inmates. At other times, fresh air and water have been denied to prisoners.

In summary, a company is accruing profits by compliciting in torture and ill treatment on a people, whose land has been occupied, in prisons and detention centres! A company is making money by helping to restrict a people’s right to movement at illegal settlement units and checkpoints!

The Palestinian National Prisoners’ Movement has sent a letter from prisons and detention centres to the International Boycott Movement with a number of recommendations and requests. The letter notes that all security companies that support the occupying government, especially G4S, are chiefly responsible for the crimes committed against the Palestinian people and that boycotting these companies would entail the protection and defence of the Palestinian people, whose homeland is under occupation and who is subjected to new massacres every day.

As such, we, the Boycott Israel for Palestine Initiative (BDS-Turkey), which has been exposing and boycotting Israel and Zionism in every arena in Turkey since 2009, declare that we will heed the call of the Palestinian National Prisoners’ Movement and boycott more than 350 organizations that have an association with G4S, which employs 4,250 people in 18 provinces around Turkey at firms such as Yapıkredi, Koç Museum, Finansbank and Sabancı University, until the company ceases its practices in Palestine and completely withdraws its investments from the occupied territories.