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Chicago Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG) on Jericho Raid

by Palestine Solidarity Group - Chicago |
March 1, 2006
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On the morning of Tuesday, March 14th, 2006, Israeli occupation forces accompanied by large numbers of tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters advanced on and surrounded the Palestinian Authority’s (PA’s) Jericho compound and prison in which the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Saadat, four of his comrades, Fu'ad ash-Shawbaki, and many others were imprisoned. These forces bombarded the compound with artillery and rockets, destroying the buildings and battering the prison itself. All the prisoners were arrested and abducted, two Palestinians were killed, and twenty-three more injured—in total disregard of all international laws.

This heinous crime is another demonstration of systematic state terrorism perpetrated by the government of Ehud Olmert, acting Prime Minister of Israel, who replaced the Butcher of Beirut, Ariel Sharon, after Sharon’s stroke a few months ago. The victory by Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections and the immediate response from Israel, the United States, and the European Union (demanding that the Palestinians renounce all resistance and uphold obsolete PA-signed agreements) was a predictor of this Israeli escalation. Olmert has also recently unveiled plans to annex Palestinian land in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Jordan Valley, and unilaterally establish new borders for the “state” of Israel.

The Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG)—Chicago condemns Olmert’s plans and actions, especially this blatant assault on Jericho and Palestinian sovereignty, as well as U.S. and British complicity in the operation. Saadat and his four comrades were illegally arrested by the PA in 2002, and despite calls by the Palestinian High Court of Justice to release them, had been imprisoned in Jericho under U.S. and British “guardianship” since that time. When the Anglo-American guards, ostensibly guaranteeing the “security” of the prisoners, pulled out, the Israeli occupation forces immediately moved in and began their siege. The PSG regards this as proof, once more, that relying on American promises and guarantees leads to nothing but death, destruction, and the surrender of Palestinian national rights.

There were mass, popular outbursts of protest in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, throughout the Arab World, and in other countries where the Palestinian Diaspora resides (including actions led by Minneapolis’ Anti-War Committee and PSG-Chicago, respectively, in the U.S.). But the “international community” stayed silent, another example of the double standard these governments apply when dealing with the rights of the Palestinian and Arab people.

Israel, the U.S., and England targeted Saadat and the other political prisoners in an attempt to break the will of the Palestinian people and impede their ability to continue the resistance to occupation and U.S. imperialism. But the determination of the Palestinian people cannot be weakened, nor can that of the brave Iraqi resistance to U.S. war and occupation. On March 18th, as hundreds of thousands throughout the world, including here in Chicago, demand Troops Home Now! and an End to War and Occupation!, the Palestinian people, and their leaders like Saadat, will continue to represent the steadfast will of oppressed peoples everywhere. And the banner of struggle and liberation will continue to wave until all the national rights of the Iraqis and the Palestinians are secured.

Free All Palestinian Political Prisoners! 
Liberation for Palestine and Iraq!