Issawi was originally arrested in 2002, for holding a rifle without a license. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was released in October 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. Israel however has never intended to respect this agreement and in its attempt to teach the Palestinians who is the master it re-arrested Issawi, along many others, who were released in the exchange deal. Brother Samer was arrested just months after he was released and the Zionist state, accused him of violating his terms of release by traveling outside his home village of Issawiyeh. The intention of the Zionist state was to force him to serve the full 30 years as part of the lesson that the oppressed cannot win against Israel.
But the Israeli state was unable to break the will of Samer Issawi who went on hunger strike for 265 days. Out of fear that the death of the Palestinian political prisoners will ignite a new uprising-Intifada, Israel was forced to agree to release Samer Issawi, the freedom fighter.
Issawi is the third hunger striker Israel was forced to release in the past three months. Among them Ayman Sharawneh, who was sentenced last month to 10 years in the Gaza Strip in lieu of prison time. (See Jason Ditz: Israel Sentences Hunger Striker to Ten Years in Gaza Strip. Striker Signs Deal With Israeli Officials in Hospital, March 17, 2013, http://news.antiwar.com/2013/03/17/israel-sentences-hunger-striker-to-ten-years-in-gaza-strip)
The deals reflect growing fear in Israel that the deaths of such hunger strikers could spark a new popular Intifada. In the occupied West Bank, which is already on edge over the detainee’s medical abuse and deaths that occur in the Israeli prisons. This fear is even stronger in light of the fact the Palestinian authority, that is very similar to the old regime the Arab revolution fight against and that serve Israel as a police force against the Palestinians is in a process of collapsing.
The Israeli government fears have increased after the death of the prisoner Arafat Jaradat in Megiddo Prison and the confrontations that broke out afterward, as well as the death of another prisoner Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, who died from cancer in a clear case of medical negligence of the Prison Service.
Issawi’s deal restricts his freedom of movement. Once he is released, he will be sentenced to stay in his small village for the rest of his life. If he ever leaves, whether to go to the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, or abroad, he would face another 12 and a half years in prison as punishment if Israel the Apartheid state will survive so long.
It is not clear whether brother Samer Issawi will survive the very long hunger strike. But even if he will die he won against the Zionist tyranny and so are the Palestinian masses and all of the supporters of the Palestinian struggle around the world who demand the release of all the Palestinian political prisoners. It is a victory even if small because the Palestinian masses are learning that the struggle can lead to results. Israel lost because it is forced to release Samer Issawi against its intention. This victory is another step in the coming Intifada we support.
To win the Intifada a revolutionary working class leadership is needed with a revolutionary perspective. The perspective is the mass struggle led by the working class with the support of the unemployed, fallahins, small business owners, oppressed women and youth, for a democratic Palestinian state from the river to the sea that in its class content will be a workers state. The Jewish masses who will accept it will lose their privileges but will win security and equal civil rights. The Jewish workers who will join the revolution will be part of the new ruling class in the worker state from the river to the sea. Israel is not only the oppressor of the Palestinians and the Arab masses in the region but a death trap for the Jewish masses.
For this reasons the International Socialist League in Israel/Occupied Palestine demands:
Free all Palestinian political prisoners!
Fight for the right of the return of all Palestinian refugees!
One democratic state from the river to the sea!
For a multi-national working class government supported by the fallahins and the Palestinian refugees, small business owners, oppressed women and youth! For a Workers and Fallahins Republic!
Free Red Palestine!