December 25 marks the eighth anniversary of the sentencing of Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, by a Zionist military court. Noting this anniversary, the international Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat issued a call for international actions on January 13-15, 2017, calling for the freedom of Comrade Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners. January 15 marks the 15th anniversary of Sa’adat’s abduction by Palestinian Authority security forces under security coordination with Israel. Sa’adat was imprioned by the PA until 2006, when the Jericho prison was raided by occupation forces and he was seized along with his comrades. On December 25, 2008, he was sentenced to 30 years in Zionist prisons.
Khaled Barakat, the coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, said that “Today, the struggle of Ahmad Sa’adat and the Palestinian prisoners not only keeps the flame of the struggle alive but also reflects the strength of the political will of the Palestinian people. The support of the Palestinian people for the prisoners is a popular referendum in favor of the resistance and the prisoners’ movement as a genuine and legitimate leadership of the Palestinian national liberation movement. We have witnessed in the past 10 days the large number of people who have visited the village of Asira al-Shamaliyah, the popular delegations – labor, students, mothers of martyrs and prisoners – to visit Bilal Kayed upon his victory. This is also a popular referendum on the struggle of the prisoners as a national consensus cause of our people.”
Barakat spoke further about the role of Palestinian prisoners in the liberation movement, saying that “Today we are seeing the emergence of a new leadership inside the prisons. These are the comrades, brothers, sisters, of Ahmad Sa’adat. Over 70 years, the Zionist movement has never succeeded in breaking the will of the Palestinian people or pushing them into surrender. Instead, the prisons of the colonizers and occupiers have always been an advanced arena of struggle that graduates new leaders and new ideas for the Palestinian revolution and the Palestinian resistance.”
“The fact that Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat has been in Israeli prisons on various occasions since 1969, in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s on multiple occasions, proves the failure of the occupation and not the failure of the resistance,” said Barakat. “We have received a message from Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat calling upon us to make the year of 2017 a year for mobilization, unity and advancing the Palestinian cause in the international arena, particularly to make the utmost efforts to defeat the nefarious framework of administrative detention.”
“We see that the truthful and honest leadership of the Palestinian people are the ones in Israeli prisons and not the ones in the Muqata in Ramallah. Our people know this fact very well. The world should not count on the Vichy governmnent of Abu Mazen. We absolutely cannot speak about Ahmad Sa’adat and his comrades without speaking about the loathsome politics of security coordination, of which Ahmad Sa’adat and his comrades are direct victims,” Barakat said, highlighting the January dates as the anniversary of Sa’adat’s abduction by the Palestinian Authority under security coordination in 2002, at the behest of Israel and imperial powers such as the US and the UK. “We cannot talk about the cause of Ahmad Sa’adat and the prisoners without addressing the complicity of Washington, London, Paris and other imperial and colonial capitals, because these are the forces that are trying to impose their will against the Palestinian people.”
“Today, youth in Palestine can tell you about Khader Adnan, Mohammed al-Qeeq, Bilal Kayed, Samer Issawi, Marwan Barghouthi. They know and respect these names as strugglers who have stepped forward to confront the occupation and its oppression. And if you look deeply, you will see that these leaders are bakers, workers, and journalists. These are the sons and daughters of the popular classes that Sa’adat defends and always reminds us that it is from the oppressed and impoverished classes that the solid and committed leadership will emerge. And he is right,” said Barakat.
Barakat also noted at Al-Farabi publishing house in Lebanon will soon publish a new book by Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, “Confronting Isolation.” “We see also that there is a growing movement internationally in support of the prisoners, despite the challenges and repression faced in various countries and the complexity of these situations,” said Barakat. “It is very important to support the prisoners’ struggle clearly and without silencing due to fear and intimidation,” he said, urging participation in the January days of action.
“The failure of the Palestinian Authority in raising the cause of the prisoners in the international arena reflects the fear of that official leadership of the role of Palestinian political prisoners, because they represent an alternative path to that of the ruling Palestinian capitalists and they have the trust of the masses. When they are outside of prisons, they push for unity and resist the diversion of the Palestinian national liberation movement to a narrow and conscribed call for recognition of statehood,” Barakat said.
“As long as there is occupation, there will be prisons. Ending occupation, freeing Palestine, will end the suffering of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners and the 12 million Palestinian people struggling all their lives for freedom, return and liberation.”