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Saltwater Campaign Challenge in Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners

posted on: May 10, 2017

BY: Leila Diab/Contributing Writer

To stand in solidarity with over 1,700 Palestinian prisoners, living under an illegal Israeli military occupation of their homeland, and the unjustifiable and inhumane imprisonment of Palestinians, a Saltwater Campaign Challenge strategy reaches out to supporters to participate in solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers.

Palestinian detainees, are prisoners without a trail or any charges held against them. They are even denied the possibility of any universal or democratic rights or legitimate defacto laws… innocent until proven guilty is shielded by bias overtones, smitten to say the least. 

The Saltwater Campaign Challenge idea sprang up on April 17, the Day of International Solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. It was initiated by the son of Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian official who is in prison and leading the hunger strike of more than 1,500 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons.

Drinking distasteful water, with a mixture of salt is the image and the reality of what Palestinian detainees must face as their destiny behind walls of cement or for families living under a destructive and impure occupation and unclean water supply.

One might even ask, is drinking salt water better than the water supply and sanitation in the Palestinian occupied territories? Standing in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers is the clear water choice for human dignity and freedom.

Middle Eastern fact sources report that, “generally, the water quality is considerably worse in the Gaza Strip when compared to the West. About a third to half of the delivered water in the Palestinian territories is non-revenue water lost in the distribution network. The lasting blockade of the Gaza Strip and the Gaza War. Gaza War have caused severe damage to the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Concerning wastewater, the existing treatment plants do not have the capacity to treat all of the produced wastewater, causing severe water pollution. The development of the sector highly depends on external financing.”

The Saltwater Campaign Challenge is a worthy global effort by Palestinians and all people of human dignity to change and better the world we live in. Silence is never the answer to justify human incivility and undemocratic vises. 

Accordingly, saltwater is symbolic of prisoner hunger strikes because in these protests the detainees generally abstain from food but consume saltwater as a means of steadying their health. And hopefully, visualizing the images and reality of social media’s solidarity with the imprisoned Palestinian hunger strikers abusive treatment, justice, freedom, and peace have a chance to survive a fountain of hope.

Recently published in the New York Times, over two weeks ago in April, it stated, “Marwan Barghouti penned an op-ed on the start day of the strike in the New York Times, alleging Israel’s prison service systematically abused him. “[An] Israeli interrogator forced me to spread my legs while I stood naked in the interrogation room, before hitting my genitals. I passed out from the pain,” he wrote. Following publication, Israeli authorities moved Barghouti into solitary confinement.

Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs released a lengthy fact sheet regarding the essay in the Times. Addressing the specific description of torture in an Israeli prison, the ministry said, “In his opinion piece, Barghouti’s claims of mistreatment have no basis or evidence; moreover, he could have appealed his claims at the time he alleges they occurred, but did not.”

Voices of  honest claims by hunger strikers quickly released a list of demands to end their protest. Most relate to their living conditions and medical treatment, or rather the lack of medical services provided to Palestinian detainees.

Not all complaints are directed toward the Israeli government. Prisoners want the International Committee of the Red Cross, the liaison that coordinates family visitation for inmate relatives from the occupied Palestinian territory to increase the number of monthly visits. In the past, the Red Cross offered two trips per month. Now it is down to one. The Times of Israel reported Sunday the Red Cross was considering the prisoners’ demands.” 

The Saltwater Campaign Challenge campaign has projected its message of Solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners on social media. For example, one can visit the Saltwater Campaign Challenge on YouTube and see the video of Arab idol star, Mohammed Assaf taking the saltwater challenge in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.  There are also many other Saltwater Campaign Challenge videos, not only in Arabic, but in English and other languages. And that is the reality of images with a message of freedom and human dignity for Palestinian hunger strikers. 

Let us all take the salt water challenge and post it on YouTube for the world to see that good people of moral conscience stand in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers and of Palestinians in general.