Thousands of Palestinian civilians and institutions marked Palestinian Prisoner's Day on April 17th by holding massive peaceful protests in support of the detainees currently being held by Israel. The protests took place in every Palestinian area as the residents took to the streets demanding the release of the detainees, the Arabs48 news website reported.The protests were organized by the Popular Committee for the Release of Detainees, the Palestinian Prisoner Society and several other organizations and institutions.
In Jenin city, in the northern part of the West Bank, thousands of Palestinian and international women gathered in front of the headquarters of the International Red Cross in Al Basateen neighborhood and marched in the main streets of the city before stopping in front of the main junction in the city, where they held a rally.
Political and social leaders, in addition to the parents of several detainees, delivered speeches confirming the Palestinian steadfastness, and stressed the importance of releasing all Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons without any conditions.
The speakers reiterated their commitment to pressuring the Israeli state to release the detainees. They added that the issue of political detainees is one of the most important issues in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and that a real and comprehensive peace agreement cannot survive if Israel does not release the detainees.
They also called on the international community, the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to place the issue of the detainees as a top priority in any peace talks, since this issue is among the most important issues that could affect the future of the region. Other key issues are the issue of Jerusalem and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.
The protesters said that the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, should be freed under a prisoner swap agreement.
The Popular Committee called on the Palestinian negotiators to push Israel to resolve the issue of the detainees, and to consider their case as a top priority in any peace talks by demanding a timetable for releasing the detainees without any preconditions.
The Committee also called on Israel to stop its violations against the detainees and to stop its strip-searches, prevention of family visitation and the medical neglect of the detainees. It also appealed to the International Community and the Red Cross to expose the illegal Israeli practices against the detainees and to act in order to release them.
The detainees are deprived from their basic rights of education, medical attention and care, and are living in cells, rooms and tents that lack the basic components needed for decent living conditions.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prisoner Society called for the immediate release of the detainees without any preconditions, and called on the international community to charge Israel for its violations of the internationally-recognized rights of the Palestinian detainees.
April 17th is designated as Palestinian Prisoners' Day every year. On this day, the Palestinian community holds events to honor and respect the detainees who are imprisoned by Israel, many of them without charge or trial, who are suffering bad treatment, bad living conditions and repeated attacks by the soldiers.
There are at least 11,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli detention camps, among them 120 women and around 400 children.