Dr. Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, today saluted the Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli jails for their acts of heroism and steadfastness in resisting Israel's oppressive practices. Dr. Erekat said: “We call upon Palestinians everywhere to support the national movement of the Palestinian prisoners in their hunger strike against the Israeli illegal racist policies that gravely violate the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law”.
Dr. Erekat added: “After 50 years of occupation, Israel must immediately fulfill the long overdue rights of the Palestinian prisoners and accelerate their release for the achievement of peace. The Palestinian leadership will continue to exert its utmost efforts and urge the international community to put pressure on Israel to abide by and respect the rights of Palestinian prisoners enshrined in international law and conventions.”
Dr. Erekat also called upon the International Community, Human Rights Organizations and the High Contracting Parties to the Four Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations and assume their responsibilities with respect to Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian Human Rights on top of which is the Palestinian prisoners. He said, “It is time for the international community to take concrete action to ensure Israel’s adherence to its obligations under international law and safeguard the rights of prisoners. We also call upon the International Criminal Court to speed up the preliminary inquiry and open an immediate investigation into Israeli war crimes.”
Dr. Erekat made this statement as Palestinians commemorate the Palestinian Prisoners' Day, which coincides with the 100 years of Balfour Declaration and nearly 70 years since the Nakba and 50 years of Israel's colonial occupation of Palestine.