(This call was also published in Spanish)
On September 11, 2018, Raja Eghbarieh was arrested from his home in Umm Al-Fahm, in 1948 Palestine. His detention was remanded twice and the Israeli prosecution announced that they will file indictment against him on Thursday, September 20. According to the remand hearings, all of comrade Eghbarieh “offences” are his posts on his Facebook page, which the Israeli prosecution claims contain “incitement”. Comrade Eghbarieh explained in court that all his posts are an expression of a legitimate political resistance to Israeli occupation and war crimes. The prosecution declared that they will request his detention for an unlimited period until the end of the trial.
Comrade Eghbarieh is a veteran member of the left Palestinian movement, Abnaa Al-Balad (“Sons of the Country”). He was the movement’s first general secretary and is still one of its main leaders.
The arrest and sentencing of Raja Eghbarieh is part of a pattern of a continuing onslaught by the Zionist state against the freedom of expression and organization of the Arab Palestinians, also those that formally carry Israeli citizenship. While activists are interrogated and arrested on regular basis, we witness in the last years an orchestrated attempt to root out the framework of political organizations and social movements. It started with the Islamic Movement, which was outlawed in November 2015. Many of its members were arrested and sentenced to prison terms for such offences like organizing prayers in Al-Aqsa mosque. It continues with the Attack on the National Democratic Alliance (Balad), many of its activists were interrogated and there is a constant demand between Zionist parties to prevent it from participating in the Knesset elections. Abnaa Al-Balad, representing the line of the radical left and boycotting the Knesset, was persecuted many times before, and its leaders and activists were victims to arrests and administrative detention. Now the detention of comrade Eghbarieh seems to target the very right to express Palestinian national positions on the internet.
International solidarity is urgently required and is the most important form of defense of what little that was left of the thin margin for political activity for the Palestinians in 1948 Palestine, that were supposed to enjoy “the only democracy in the middle east”. Israeli politicians and public opinion are abandoning any semblance of democracy as all Zionist parties compete in promoting the colonialist concept of a “Jewish only” state. Arab public opinion is viewed with contempt by the Israeli authorities. But it is still the fact that Israel is able to perform all its crimes due to its consistent support from the western powers, which supply it with weapons, money, preferential access to markets and legal impunity. All these privileges are given based on the lie that Israel is a democracy.
For leftist organizations and sincere democrats there is a special reason to defend and support Abnaa Al-Balad. This movement never retreated from the original Palestinian call for the establishment of a secular democratic state in the whole of Palestine, for all its inhabitants and as a framework to enable the return of all Palestinian refugees. The attack on Abnaa Al-Bald proves that the Zionist state, with all its military might, is still afraid of the very idea of a democratic solution in Palestine.
Free Raja Eghbarieh!
Hands off Abnaa Al-Balad!
Freedom to the Palestinian People!
For more information on the case, comrade Eghbarieh and Abnaa Al-Balad – read here.
For solidarity news, visit the “Free Raja Eghbarieh” Facebook page.