Monthly Archives: March 2012

Day of the March – Palestinian solidarity hunger strikers day 7 – Catherine Harris

Today, 24th March 2012, hundreds of people turned out on the streets of Glasgow to protest the continued detention of Hana Shalabi and all the other Palestinian prisoners. We marched from George Square to the BBC Scotland Headquarters to protest the complicity of the mainstream media through their refusal to report on the hunger strike of Hana and 25 other prisoners. Please watch the vidoes to hear about the march and the rolling hunger strike which Glasgow University Palestine Society launched on the 16th March 2012.

Check out some pics here….

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Support Hana Shalabi – solidarity hunger strikes day 6

I have tried for days to vividly imagine what Hana Shalabi is going through; starvation. There is no other way to put it. She is so weak that we all very much fear for her life.

We associate starvation with uncontrollable poverty but this is voluntary, and to me that is something almost impossible to get our heads around. How can a situation be so incredibly horrific that the only remaining response is to starve yourself? Why can Israel continue to commit these crimes against humanity without being stopped?

All I feel is utter helplessness. Our rolling hunger strike is a modest action; if only we could do more. I wish – at the very least – we could communicate our messages to her and her family.

I wonder what thoughts she has in the detention clinic, how she stays strong when she sees her body erode before her eyes, how insignificant she must feel at times and above all, how hopeless.

In comparison I have thought about Hana as a child and how free she may have felt then, at least for a moment in time; the freedom we should all feel, eternally. I have imagined her running, playing and laughing like any one of us. We cannot take this freedom for granted. We cannot let a human being go through this much pain and sorrow and above all, captivity; an entrapment we cannot fully comprehend. We cannot stop fighting.

We will march on Saturday in solidarity with Hana on Saturdaya t 4pm from St Georges Square to The BBC to show our anger at their lack of publicity. Inform everyone of Hana and the Palestinian hunger strikers. We have to use our own resources to combat the BBC’s ignorance.

Free Hana. Free all Palestinian hunger strikers. Free Palestine.

Day 5

Day 5:

Hana Shalabi has been refusing food for 35 days now.  In excruciating pain and having lost 14kg, Hana remains in an Israeli prison, where she does not receive proper medical care.

Indeed, Physicians for Human Rights have been calling for her immediate transfer to hospital. Perhaps their call has been ignored because Hana, still just alive, continues to pose a ‘security threat’ to the state of Israel.  

But Hana poses no threat to Israel’s security. She, like thousands of others, has been arrested for ‘security’ reasons; reasons that do not have to be specified or proven for her to remain in prison.

Any Palestinian can be held in prison indefinitely under these so called ‘administrative detention’ laws.

This begs the question: how much weaker does Israel need to make Hana, and her fellow hunger strikers, before she stops posing a ‘security threat’? Will she need to go into a coma, like Khader Adnan, before Israel sets a date for her release?

The BBC has finally picked up on the story; noting that Hana is close to death.  Yet the BBC leaves out what has led up to Hana’s hunger strike. Hana was imprisoned for two years, and then released only to be arrested again months later, during a violent IDF raid on her village.

March with us this Saturday at 4pm in George Square, in support of Hana’s desperate attempt to end Israel’s abuse of Palestinian human rights and ‘administrative detention’. Don’t let Hana’s painful sacrifice be in vain.

Read Physicians for Human Rights’ report on Hana Shalabi’s medical condition and treatment in prison here:

Solidarity Hunger Strikes Day 4

20/-3/2012 – Day 4 – Lorna MacBean

As Hana Shalabi entered her 34th day of hunger strike there was no mention of her on the news; no one was talking about her in the pub; there were no pictures in any newspaper. And this is not because people do not care. As I worked, I told people about Khadar Adnan, Hana Shalabi, Kifah Hattab, Ahmed Nebhaan Suqer, the conditions of their imprisonment and the prisoners (sorry, ‘detainees’) who, in solidarity, refused to eat – the only form of resistance which they are left. I told them why there is a large base of activists dedicated to solidarity and why we need everyone to write, to talk, to protest, when our media will not. People reacted with empathy, compassion, revolt and anger. But none of them were surprised. The truth is that the world has seen this death before: where prisoners of war are termed ‘security risks’, imprisonment becomes ‘detainment’ and the world interprets jargon and rhetoric without question while innocent people die in silent cells.

Eleven hours ago the BBC finally published an online article on Hana’s case. But it took 35 days and her life to be in imminent danger. A note on their track record of reporting on Palestinian news can be found here:

Hunger striking is the last resort. It is the only way Hana Shalabi and her fellow prisoners can resist. The simple message of it is clear: You are allowing me to die at your feet. The world will not allow me to speak, so my dying body must be my voice.

‘It’s true our lives are very precious, but our freedom is even more precious and more powerful than their cells.’ – Jawad Boulos, Hana’s lawyer.

Demonstrate against the atrocious behaviour of the BBC, Saturday 24th March, assembling in George Square at 4pm. We will march through the city to protest the continued detention of hundreds of lives by the Israeli Government because we must use every channel of communication available to save lives and make people aware of the situation which our country actively covers up.

Our thoughts, prayers, anger, voices and spirits are with Hana Shalabi and the people of the Palestine.

Solidarity Hunger Strikes Day 2

18/03/2012 – Day 2 – Kate Connelly

At the end of the second day of the rolling hunger strikes for Hana Shalabi, I go to bed knowing that tomorrow I’ll wake up and someone else will begin their 24hr fast; my turn will be over.  The prospect of students from all over Scotland participating in this action is reassuring… We are making this commitment not because it is any sort of sacrifice when compared with the strength and bravery shown by Hana Shalabi, but because every one of us has been asking the same question for 32 days now: Why are so many people unaware of what is going on?

People don’t just decide that they are willing to put their lives on the line to highlight injustice unless they are sure that there is no other way to make people take notice.  It is our responsibility as people who have become aware of Hana’s struggle that we make it known to everyone we possibly can.  This is the very least we can do.

All day I’ve been trying to imagine myself in a situation which I knew to be utterly helpless, and asking myself whether my response would be anything like Hana’s; that is, a response which shows no defeat, only absolute strength.  The answer is clear from what I have just written: For Hana Shalabi, no matter how much has been taken from her, no matter how badly she has been treated, as long as she has breath left in her she is not helpless.

The lack of coverage in the mainstream media of Hana’s hunger strike is appalling, just as it was a few weeks ago for Khader Adnan.  We owe it to the people who make greater sacrifices than we ever have to make sure that their stories are heard.  I know that courage and strength of the magnitude shown by Hana Shalabi is something to which I will always aspire.  To show the proper respect to one of the most remarkable women of our lifetimes, speak out about Hana Shalabi.


‘You can bend but never break me
’cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul’

Solidarity Hunger Strikes Day 1

17/03/2012- Day 1

To begin with I would personally like to say massive thank you to all of you for taking part and supporting this action. Together we can make this huge and let thousands of people know about Hana al-Shalabi’s fight. Unsurprisingly the mainstream media are doing their best to ignore Hana so it falls to us to make sure they know that we won’t let them away with it. We will make them tell Hana’s story and if they don’t then we will do it ourselves.
The story of Hana and her family is truly shocking and what’s worse is that it’s all too common throughout villages and towns across Palestine. Her parents have lived through the daily humiliation and aggression of Israel’s occupation; they survived through all the violence and attacks to have a family only for the Israeli army to murder their son and then arrest their daughter. Hana’s brother was shot and killed by the Israeli army when they came to re-arrest him after releasing him only three months before. The family home has since been raided several times, during one of these raids a soldier tore up a picture of Hana’s brother and walked over it in front of the family; they then went on to physically assault Hana and her father before arresting Hana. Hana was held under administrative detention for two years based on secret evidence. Every day for two years Hana was denied her liberty and was subject to abusive conditions, daily humiliation, physical intimidation and sexual harassment.
She was eventually released in the prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel in October 2011 and for four short months was reunited with her family. For those four months her mother and father got one of their children back. Her mother say Hana was just beginning to recover from her ordeal in prison when 50 armed soldiers came in the night and took her from her family once more.   No arrest warrant was shown when they came for Hana. She and her brother were beaten and a soldier stated “Hana must die”. This was all done in front of her family- a family who already had a son killed by this army. This was on 16th of February 2012 and Hana has been on hunger strike ever since. The least we can do for Hana is to take one day of our lives to share her struggle and show some solidarity.
Hana’s story is all too common in Palestine: over 300 people are currently being held under administrative detention. This allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. This is done on the basis of Military Order 1651. This order empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six month renewable periods if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.” – A definition which is vague enough to be easily abused. On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed. This process can be continued indefinitely. The pain of each prisoner and there family has been felt by hundreds of families in hundreds of homes and still their stories aren’t told.  We need to do something about it, to make sure that people know about administrative detention, to make sure they know Hana’s name what Israel is doing and to help us stop it.
So please if you can take part in the solidarity hunger strike and use your experience to help raise awareness about the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention. Let your friends know you’re doing it and why, support other people taking part and write up your reasons and thoughts for this blog.
You can read more about Hana here:
More about our campaign here:
And you can sign up to a day of fasting here:

Glasgow Uni becomes latest UK Uni to boycott Eden Springs

In September 2011 Glasgow University Palestine Society relaunched a campaign which began several years ago to encourage the University to cancel their contract with Eden Springs.  Eden Springs UK are a subsidiary of Mayanot Eden, an Israeli company which extracts water from illegally occupied Golan Heights, bottling the water in nearby settlement Katzrin.
Eden Springs has become a major target in the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement across the UK and Europe, responding to the call from Palestinian civil society.

The campaign consisted of public meetings, a student petition, an appeal for support to the Student Representatives Council, and a letter from staff at the University which voiced their support for the motion to cancel the contract.  Following a report submitted to the University in January 2012, a meeting was arranged between members of the Society and the Principal of the University, Anton Muscatelli.

The meeting took place on 13th March 2012.  The Principal assured the Palestine Society that the University acknowledged the concerns of the students and staff, and to this end would make a commitment to refraining from any future contract with Eden Springs.

The agreement from the University follows similar commitments from other Scottish Universities including Strathclyde University, Caledonian University, University of Edinburgh, Dundee University and others.  Similar campaigns have been run at Universities and Colleges across the UK.

Glasgow University Palestine Society would like to thank everyone who supported the campaign by signing the student petition and staff letter.  In addition to this, we would like to thank all of the individuals who assisted the campaign through offering advice and resources.  Thanks also to individuals who endorsed the campaign, and organisations such as Boycott From Within for their endorsement.

We consider this success significant not just for Glasgow Palsoc, but for all groups campaigning for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israeli companies internationally.  The Palestine Society at Glasgow University will continue to pursue BDS campaigns against Israeli companies, the existence of which propagates Israel’s ongoing system of occupation, apartheid and oppression of the Palestinian people.