ISRAEL was dealt a massive humiliating blow early Monday morning when six Palestinian prisoners tunnelled their way out of the Gilbao maximum-security jail.
Five of the six were members of the resistance movement Islamic Jihad and the other was Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. According to reports, the men tunnelled their way out of the heavily guarded prison using spoons.
This humiliation for the Zionist state forces is the biggest Palestinian escape from an Israeli jail since May 1987, when six members of Islamic Jihad broke out of a heavily guarded jail in Gaza.
What will be worrying Israeli authorities is that this Gaza jail break was followed in December 1987 by the First Palestinian Intifada (uprising).
Monday’s heroic escape by the six men was greeted with celebrations by Palestinians. Dr Walid al-Qatati, a member of Islamic Jihad’s political bureau, said: ‘This operation constituted a major shock to the Zionist security system, in a major blow to Israeli security apparatus, considering that the escape happened in one of the most highly secured facilities.’
He added: ‘This operation restored a sense of hope among our people for the possibility of victory and reinforced the state of helplessness and a feeling of fear among the Zionists.’
Another senior Islamic Jihad member, Khader Adnan, told the press: ‘We call it a tunnel of freedom, we call it a liberation process, not an escape process.’
In a demonstration of its weakness, Israel resorted to airstrikes on Monday night against the Gaza strip, in a desperate attempt to cover up its humiliation.
While planes carry out murderous airstrikes, the Israeli army is conducting a massive search operation for the six men, storming dozens of areas across the occupied West Bank district of Jenin, ransacking the homes of the six heroes and arresting their relatives.
These invasions were met with resistance, with Palestinian fighters declaring an all-out war if Israeli forces attempt to invade the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
The break-out was indeed a ‘liberation process’, that demonstrates conclusively that all the decades of repression, murder and torture inflicted by the Zionist regime has failed dismally to break the resistance of the Palestinian people.
7,000 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails in conditions condemned as ‘inhuman’ by international human rights organisations, with dozens being sentenced to multi-life imprisonment terms.
Many more are held under ‘administrative detention’ orders, meaning they have not even been given a trial. 600 Palestinian prisoners are minors – children held in insanitary conditions, where torture and repression is carried out on a daily basis to break their spirits.
Outside all the killings of unarmed Palestinian civilians – over 200 along with 70 children in the last barrage of bombs on Gaza – all the invasion and destruction of Palestinian homes by Zionist settlers protected by the army, has not crushed the determination of the Palestinian people to drive out the occupiers.
On the contrary, it has produced a revolutionary uprising against the Zionist state, created and propped up by US and world imperialism, that will not stop until Israel and imperialism has been defeated and driven out.
The struggle of the Palestinians has won the overwhelming support of working and young people throughout the world. In Britain last May, 250,000 workers and youth marched in London demanding the establishment of the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
15 trade unions had their names on the Trade Unionists for Palestine banner, with the TUC declaring it stood in solidarity with all Palestinian workers.
With the Palestinians rising up, now is the time for the trade unions to take real solidarity action and deliver a decisive blow for the liberation of Palestine by taking strike action to ban all Israeli goods and services from the UK and force the UK government to recognise the state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Tories will never do this, so the issue is to demand the unions call a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government that will recognise the independent state of Palestine and provide it with all the material support it requires to flourish.