Israeli Activist Begins Prison Sentence for Protesting Israeli Siege of Gaza

Tuesday, 11 January 2011 11:11 Alternative Information Center (AIC)

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak entered prison on Tuesday (11 January) to begin his three month sentence for protesting against the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.


Accompanied by family members and friends and before entering the Hermon Prison in the Galilee, Pollak stated that his sentence “is part of a trend of limiting protest….There is an atmosphere to prevent any opposition to the Israeli occupation. I am sent to prison while in the background are government and institutional moves, calls to establish investigative committees,” reported the Israeli daily Ynet.

Pollak added that this trend “is also expressed against Palestinians, who are sentenced to longer periods than me, without evidence and without just trials. This is not my personal story.”

Jonathan Pollak, who also serves as the Media Coordinator of the Popular Struggle, was convicted of illegal assembly for his participation in a January 2008 Critical Mass bicycle ride against Israel’s siege of Gaza. This conviction triggered a previous suspended sentence for protesting construction of the Apartheid Wall, which will be served concurrently.

Pollak refused to conduct community service instead of the prison sentence, saying he would not participate in deciding his punishing. Upon conviction, Pollak said that “if His Honor decides to go ahead and impose my suspended prison sentence, I will go to prison wholeheartedly and with my head held high. It will be the justice system itself, I believe, that ought to lower its eyes in the face of the suffering inflicted on Gaza’s inhabitants, just like it lowers its eyes and averts its vision each and every day when faced with the realities of the occupation.”

Pollak’s father Yossi, who accompanied Jonathan to prison, is quoted by Ynet as saying that “this looks like a bad joke, but everything happening around us testifies that it couldn’t happen any other way.”  Pollak the father added that “everything begins and ends with the word occupation and my son, who believes in his path, is another one who pays the price.”

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