“Endless Trip to Hell”: “Israel” Jails Hundreds of Palestinian Boys a Year. Here are Some Testimonies

By Staff, Haaretz

They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Every year “Israel” arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13.

It was a gloomy, typically chilly late-February afternoon in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. The weather didn’t deter the children of the Abu-Ayyash family from playing and frolicking outside. One of them, in a Spiderman costume, acted the part by jumping lithely from place to place. Suddenly they noticed a group of “Israeli” soldiers trudging along the dirt trail across the way.

Instantly their expressions turned from joy to dread, and they rushed into the house. It’s not the first time they reacted like that, says their father. In fact, it’s become a pattern ever since 10-year-old Omar was arrested by troops this past December.

The 10-year-old is one of many hundreds of Palestinian children whom “Israel” arrests every year: The estimates range between 800 and 1,000. Some are under the age of 15; some are even preteens. A mapping of the locales where these detentions take place reveals a certain pattern: The closer a Palestinian village is to a settlement, the more likely it is that the minors residing there will find themselves in “Israeli” custody. For example, in the town of Azzun, west of the Karnei Shomron settlement, there’s hardly a household that hasn’t experienced an arrest. Residents say that in the past five years, more than 150 pupils from the town’s only high school have been arrested.

At any given moment, there are about 270 Palestinian teens in “Israeli” prisons. The most widespread reason for their arrest – throwing stones – does not tell the full story. Conversations with many of the youths, as well as with lawyers and human rights activists, including those from the B’Tselem human-rights organization, reveal a certain pattern, even as they leave many questions open: For example, why does the occupation require that arrests be violent and why is it necessary to threaten young people.

In 2013, UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, assailed “the ill treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system, [which] appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” A report a year earlier from British legal experts concluded that the conditions the Palestinian children are subjected to amount to torture, and just five months ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe deplored “Israel’s” policy of arresting underage children, declaring, “An end must be put to all forms of physical or psychological abuse of children during arrest, transit and waiting periods, and during interrogations.”

About half of the arrests of Palestinian adolescents are made in their homes. According to the testimonies, “Israeli” soldiers typically burst into the house in the middle of the night, seize the wanted youth and whisk him away (very few girls are detained), leaving the family with a document stating where he’s being taken and on what charge. The printed document is in Arabic and Hebrew, but the commander of the force typically fills out the details in Hebrew only, then hands it to parents who may not be able to read it and don’t know why their son was taken.

About 40 percent of the minors are detained in the public sphere – usually in the area of incidents involving throwing stones at soldiers. That was the case with Adham Ahsoun, from Azzun. At the time, he was 15 and on his way home from a local grocery store. Not far away, a group of children had started throwing stones at soldiers, before running off. Ahsoun, who didn’t flee, was detained and taken to a military vehicle; once inside, he was hit by a soldier. A few children who saw what happened ran to his house to tell his mother. Grabbing her son’s birth certificate, she rushed to the entrance to the town to prove to the soldiers that he was only a child. But it was too late; the vehicle had already departed, headed to an army base nearby, where he would wait to be interrogated.

In many cases the children’s hands are handcuffed from behind. An “Israeli” soldier from the Nahal infantry brigade admits that his unit arrested a boy “of about 11,” but the handcuffs were too big to bind his small hands.

The next stage is the journey: The youths are taken to an “Israeli” army base or a police station in a nearby settlement, their eyes covered with flannelette. “When your eyes are covered, your imagination takes you to the most frightening places,” says a lawyer who represents young Palestinians. Many of those arrested don’t understand Hebrew, so that once pushed into the army vehicle they are completely cut off from what’s going on around them.

In most cases, the handcuffed, blindfolded youth will be moved from place to place before actually being interrogated. Sometimes he’s left outside, in the open, for a time. In addition to the discomfort and the bewilderment, the frequent moving around presents another problem: In the meantime many acts of violence, in which “Israeli” soldiers beat the detainees, take place and go undocumented.

Once at the army base or police station, the minor is placed, still handcuffed and blindfolded, on a chair or on the floor for a few hours, generally without being given anything to eat. It is the “endless trip to hell”.
Young Palestinian detainees under guard. Soldiers typically burst into the house in the middle of the night, seize the wanted youth and leave the family with a document stating where he’s being taken.

The nightmare can be of differing duration, the former detainees relate. Three to eight hours after the arrest, by which time the youth is tired and hungry – and sometimes in pain after being hit, frightened by threats and not even knowing why he’s there – he’s taken in for interrogation. This may be the first time the blindfold is removed and his hands freed. The process usually starts with a general question, such as, “Why do you throw stones at soldiers?” The rest is more intense – a barrage of questions and threats, aimed at getting the teen to sign a confession. In some cases, he’s promised that if he signs he’ll be given something to eat.

According to the testimonies, the interrogators’ threats are directed squarely at the boy [“You’ll spend your whole life in jail”], or at his family [“I’ll bring your mother here and kill her before your eyes”), or at the family’s livelihood [“If you don’t confess, we’ll take away your father’s permit to work– because of you, he’ll be out of work and the whole family will go hungry”].

Whether the young detainee has signed a confession or not, the next stop is prison. Either Megiddo, in Lower Galilee, or Ofer. Khaled Mahmoud Selvi was 15 when he was brought to prison in October 2017 and was told to disrobe for a body search [as in 55 percent of the cases]. For 10 minutes he was made to stand naked, along with another boy, and in winter.

The months in detention, waiting for trial, and later, if they are sentenced, are spent in the youth wing of the facilities for security prisoners. The children don’t speak with their families for months and are allowed one visit a month, through glass.

Far fewer Palestinian girls are arrested than boys. But there is no facility especially for them, so they are held in the Sharon prison for women, together with the adults.

The courtroom is usually the place where parents have their first sight of their child, sometimes several weeks after the arrest. Tears are the most common reaction to the sight of the young detainee, who will be wearing a prison uniform and handcuffs, and with a cloud of uncertainty hovering over everything. “Israel” Prisons Service guards don’t allow the parents to approach the youth, and direct them to sit on the visitors’ bench.

At a recent remand hearing for several detainees, one boy didn’t stop smiling at the sight of his mother, while another lowered his eyes, perhaps to conceal tears. Another detainee whispered to his grandmother, who had come to visit him, “Don’t worry, tell everyone I’m fine.” The next boy remained silent and watched as his mother mouthed to him, “Omari, I love you.”

While the children and their family try to exchange a few words and looks, the proceedings move along. As though in a parallel universe.

The vast majority of trials for juveniles ends in a plea bargain – safka in Arabic, a word Palestinian children know well. Even if there is no hard evidence to implicate the boy in stone-throwing, a plea is often the preferred option. If the detainee doesn’t agree to it, the trial could last a long time and he will be held in custody until the proceedings end.

According to data of collected by the British-Palestinian NGO, 97 percent of the youths arrested by the “Israeli” army live in relatively small locales that are no more than two kilometers away from a settlement.

In the case of reported stone-throwing incidents, he says, the commander’s assumption is that the Palestinians involved are young, between the ages of 12 and 30, and that they come from the nearest village. Often the officer will turn to the resident collaborator in the village, who provides him with the names of a few boys.

“I was arrested when I was 14, all the boys in the family were arrested that night. A year later, I was arrested again, with my cousin. They said I burned tires. It happened when I was sleeping. My mother woke me up. I thought it was time for school, but when I opened my eyes I saw soldiers above me. They told me to get dressed, handcuffed me and took me outside. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and it was cold that night. My mother begged them to let me put on a jacket, but they didn’t agree. Finally, she threw the jacket on me, but they didn’t let me put my arms in the sleeves.

“They took me to the Karmei Tzur settlement with my eyes covered, and I had the feeling that they were just driving in circles. When I walked, there was a pit in the road and they pushed me into it, and I fell. From there they took me to Etzion [police station]. There they put me in a room, and soldiers kept coming in all the time and kicking me. Someone passed by and said that if I didn’t confess, they would leave me in jail for the rest of my life.

“At 7 A.M., they told me the interrogation was starting. I asked to go to the toilet before. My eyes were covered and a soldier put a chair in front of me. I tripped. The interrogation went on for an hour. They told me that they saw me burning tires and that it interfered with air traffic. I told them it wasn’t me. I didn’t see a lawyer until the afternoon, and he asked the soldiers to bring us food. It was the first time I had eaten since being arrested the night before.

“At 7 P.M., I was sent to Ofer Prison, and I remained there for six months. In that period, I was in court more than 10 times. And there was also another interrogation, because a friend of mine was told while being questioned that if he didn’t confess and inform on me, they would bring his mother and shoot her before his eyes. So he confessed and informed. I’m not angry at him. It was his first arrest, he was scared.”

Khaled’s story is told by his father, Murad Shatawi: “On the night he was arrested, a phone call from my nephew woke me up. He said the house was surrounded by soldiers. I got up and got dressed, because I expected them to arrest me, on account of the nonviolent demonstrations I organize on Fridays. I never imagined they’d take Khaled. They asked me for the names of my sons. I told them Mumen and Khaled. When I said Khaled, they said, ‘Yes, him. We’re here to take him.’ I was in shock, so many soldiers showed up to arrest a boy of 13.

“They handcuffed and blindfolded him and led him east on foot, toward the settlement of Kedumim, all the while cursing and hitting him a little. I saw it all from the window. They gave me a document showing that it was a legal arrest and I could come to the police station. When I got there, I saw him through a small hole in the door. He was handcuffed and blindfolded.

“He stayed like that from the moment they arrested him until 3 P.M. the next day. That’s a picture that doesn’t leave me; I don’t know how I’ll go on living with that picture in my head. He was accused of throwing stones, but after four days they released him, because he didn’t confess and there was no other evidence against him. During the trial, when the judge wanted to speak to Khaled, he had to lean forward in order to see him, because Khaled was so small.

“What was it like to see him like that? I am the father. That says it all. He hasn’t talked about it since getting out, three months ago. That’s a problem. I’m now organizing a ‘psychology day’ in the village, to help all the children here who have been arrested. Out of 4,500 people in the village, 11 children under the age of 18 have been arrested; five were under the age of 15.”

Omar looks small for his age. He’s shy and quiet, and it’s hard to talk to him about the arrest, so members of his family recount the events in his place.

Omar’s mother: “It happened at 10 A.M. on Friday, when there is no school. Omar was playing in the area in front of the house, he threw pebbles at birds that were chirping in the tree. The soldiers, who were in the watchtower across the way here, picked up on what he was doing and ran toward him. He ran, but they caught him and knocked him down. He started to cry, and he wet his pants. They kicked him a few times.

“His grandmother, who lives here below, immediately went out and tried to take him from the soldiers, which caused a struggle and shouts. In the end, they left him alone and he went home and changed into dry pants. A quarter of an hour later, the soldiers came back, this time with their commander, who said he had to arrest the boy for throwing stones. When the other children in the family saw the soldiers in the house, they also wet their pants.”

Omar’s father takes up the story: “I told the commander that he was under 12 and that I had to accompany him, so I rode with him in the jeep to the Karmei Tzur settlement. There the soldiers told him not to throw stones anymore, and that if he saw other children doing it, he should tell them. From there they took him the offices of the Palestinian Authority in Hebron. The whole story took about 12 hours. They gave him a few bananas to eat during those hours. Now, whenever the children see a military jeep or soldiers, they go inside. They’ve stopped playing outside since then. Before the incident, soldiers used to come here to play soccer with the children. Now they’ve stopped coming, too.”

“It was around 2 P.M. I had a fever that day, so Dad sent me to my cousin next door, because that’s almost the only place in the village with a heating unit. Suddenly soldiers showed up. They saw me watching them from the window, so they fired shots at the door of the building, knocked it down and started to come upstairs. I got scared, so I ran from the second floor to the third, but they stopped me on the way and took me outside. The soldiers wouldn’t let me take my coat, even though it was cold and I was sick. They took me on foot to Kedumim, handcuffed and blindfolded. They sat me on a chair. I heard doors and windows being slammed hard, I think they were trying to scare me.

“After a while, they took me from Kedumim to Ariel, and I was there for five-six hours. They accused me of throwing stones a few days earlier with my friend. I told them I hadn’t thrown any stones. In the evening they moved me to the Hawara detention building; one of the soldiers told me I would never leave there. In the morning I was moved to Megiddo Prison. They didn’t have prisoners’ uniforms in my size, so they gave me clothes of Palestinian children who had been there before and left them for the next in line. I was the youngest person in the prison.

“I had three court hearings, and after 12 days, at the last hearing, they told me that it was enough, that my father would pay a fine of [$525] and I was getting a three-year suspended sentence. The judge asked me what I intended to do after getting out, I told him I would go back to school and I wouldn’t go up to the third floor again. Since my arrest, my younger brother, who’s 7, has been afraid to sleep in the kids’ room and goes to sleep with our parents.”

“On my 15th birthday, I went to the store in the village center to buy a few things. Around 7:30 in the evening, soldiers entered the village and children started to throw stones at them. On the way home with my bag, they caught me. They took me to the entrance of the village and put me in a jeep. One of the soldiers started to hit me. Then they put plastic handcuffs on me and covered my eyes and took me like that to the military base in Karnei Shomron. I was there for about an hour. I couldn’t see a thing, but I had the feeling that a dog was sniffing me. I was afraid. From there they took me to another military base and left me there for the night. They didn’t give me anything to eat or drink.

“In the morning, they moved me to the interrogation facility in Ariel. The interrogator told me that the soldiers caught me throwing stones. I told him that I hadn’t thrown stones that I was on my way home from the store. So he called the soldiers into the interrogation room. They said, ‘He’s lying, we saw him, he was throwing stones.’ I told him that I really hadn’t thrown stones, but he threatened to arrest my mother and father. I panicked. I asked him, ‘What do you want from me?’ He said he wanted me to sign that I threw stones at soldiers, so I signed. The whole time I didn’t see or talk to a lawyer.

“My plea bargain was that I would confess and get a five-month jail sentence. Afterward, they gave me one-third off for good behavior. I got out after three months and a fine of 2,000 shekels. In jail I tried to catch up with the material I missed in school. The teachers told me they would only take into account the grades of the second semester, so it wouldn’t hurt my chances of being accepted for engineering studies in university.”

“At 3 A.M., I heard knocking on the door. Dad came into the room and said there were soldiers in the living room and wanted us to show ID cards. The commanding officer told my father that they were taking me to Etzion for questioning. Outside, they handcuffed and blindfolded me and put me in a military vehicle. We went to my cousin’s house; they also arrested him. From there we went to Karmei Tzur and waited, handcuffed and blindfolded, until the morning.

“In the morning, they only took my cousin for interrogation, not me. After his interrogation, they took us to Ofer Prison. After a day there, they took us back to Etzion and said they were going to interrogate me. Before the interrogation, they took me into a room, where there was a soldier who slapped me. After he hit me in one room, he took me to the interrogation room. The interrogator said I was responsible for burning tires, and because of that the grove near the house caught fire. I said it wasn’t me, and I signed a document that the interrogator gave me. The document was also printed in Arabic, but the interrogator filled it out in Hebrew. I was taken back to Ofer Prison.

“I had seven hearings in court, because at the first hearing I said I hadn’t intended to confess, I just didn’t understand what I signed and it wasn’t true. So they sent me back for another interrogation. Again I didn’t confess. Then they sent me to interrogation another time and again I didn’t confess. That’s what it was like in three interrogations. In the end, my lawyer did a deal with the prosecutor that if I confessed in court – which I did – and my family would pay 4,000 shekels, they would release me.

“I’m a good student, I like soccer, both playing and watching it. Since the arrest I hardly wander around outside.”

“Around 2 A.M. someone knocked on the door. I woke up and saw a lot of soldiers in the house. They said we should all sit in the living room sofa and not move. The commander called Uday, my big brother, told him to get dressed and informed him that he was under arrest. It was the third time they arrested him. My father was also once under arrest. Suddenly they told me to put my shoes on too and go with them.

“They took us out of the house and tied our hands and covered our eyes. We went like that on foot to the base in Karmei Tzur. There they sat me on the floor with hands tied and eyes covered for around three hours. At about 5 A.M., they moved us to Etzion. On the way there in the jeep they hit us, they slapped me. In Etzion, I was sent to be checked by a doctor. He asked if I had been beaten and I said yes. He didn’t do anything, only checked my blood pressure and said I could stand up to an interrogation.

“My interrogation started at 8 A.M… They asked me to tell them which children throw stones. I said I didn’t know, so the interrogator gave me a slap. The interrogation went on for four hours. Afterward, they put me into a dark room for 10 minutes and then took me back to the interrogation room, but now they only fingerprinted me and put me into a detention cell for an hour. After an hour, Uday and I were moved to Ofer Prison. I didn’t sign a confession, neither about myself nor about others.

“I got out after nine days, because I wasn’t guilty of anything. My parents had to pay 1,000 shekels for bail. My little brother, who is 10, has been really afraid ever since. Whenever someone knocks at the door, he wets his pants.”


israel (apartheid state) Pharmaceutical Firms Test Medicines on Palestinian Prisoners

Israel Pharmaceutical Firms Test Medicines on Palestinian Prisoners
By Middle East Monitor

Israeli Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian revealed yesterday that the Israeli occupation authorities issues permits to large pharmaceutical firms to carry out tests on Palestinian and Arab prisoners, Felesteen.ps reported.

The Hebrew University lecturer also revealed that the Israeli military firms are testing weapons on Palestinian children and carry out these tests in the Palestinian neighbourhoods of occupied Jerusalem.

Speaking in Columbia University in New York City, Shalhoub-Kevorkian said that she collected the data while carrying out a research project for the Hebrew University

“Palestinian spaces are laboratories,” she said. “The invention of products and services of state-sponsored security corporations are fueled by long-term curfews and Palestinian oppression by the Israeli army.”

In her talk, entitled “Disturbing Spaces – Violent Technologies in Palestinian Jerusalem”, the professor added:

“They check for which bombs to use, gas bombs or stink bombs. Whether to put plastic sacks or cloth sacks. To beat us with their rifles or to kick us with boots.”

Last week, Israeli authorities refused to hand over the body of Fares Baroud, who passed away inside Israeli prisons after suffering from a number of diseases. His family fear that he could have been used for such tests and Israel is afraid this could be revealed through forensic investigations.

5,000 tests on prisoners

In July 1997, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported remarks for Dalia Itzik, chairman of a parliamentary committee, acknowledged that the Israeli Ministry of Health had given pharmaceutical firms permits to test their new drugs of inmates, noting that 5,000 tests had already been carried out.

Robrecht Vanderbeeken, the cultural secretary of Belgium’s ACOD trade union, warned in August 2018 the population of the Gaza Strip is being “starved to death, poisoned, and children are kidnapped and murdered for their organs.”

This follows previous warnings from Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour who said the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces “were returned with missing corneas and other organs, further confirming past reports about organ harvesting by the occupying power.”

Featured image: Palestinian activists take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons [Source: Almanar News English/Twitter]

Tension in Al-Naqab Prison as Detainees Protest Installation of Disturbance Devices

By Staff

Occupied Palestine – Palestinian detainees in the al-Naqab desert prison are getting prepared to escalate their protests, in objection to the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime’s oppressive policies and the installation of disturbance devices around the prison.

In this respect, liberated detainee Abdul Nasser Farawneh, the Head of Studies Department at the Society of Detained and Liberated Palestinian Prisoners, said that “the situation in al-Naqab Prison is moving towards escalation because the prison’s administration will install disturbance devices around the prison’s sections,” adding that “detainees inside the prison are worried about the influence of those devices and believe that they will cause cancer for them.”

Farawneh told al-Ahed website that “in less than a week, two Palestinian detainees set themselves ablaze inside the al-Naqab desert prison in protest of installing the devices and against the Zionist prisons’ administration’s attempts to humiliate detainees.”

Farawneh further noted that some 160 Palestinian detainees inside the occupation’s prisons suffer from chronic diseases, around 30 of them are diagnosed with cancer.

He also urged all of Palestinians, the presidency, government, factions, institutions and crowds to stand in solidarity with them and rush to an urgent movement to stop that oppressive and humiliating measures committed by the prisons’ administrations against the detainees.

It is good to restate that there are around 5700 Palestinian detainees inside ‘Israeli’ prisons, including 49 female detainees, 230 children and 1500 detainees in the al-Naqab prison.

Earlier, the Palestinian Prisoner Club warned of escalation in the al-Naqab Prison as a result of the ‘Israeli’ administration’s treatment of detainees, adding that “there is a state of alert in the section of tents inside al-Naqab detention camp, and its administration started bringing ambulances and fire trucks in preparation to any confrontation that may break out inside the section.”

He also uncovered that the prison’s administration started installing disturbance devices around the section 4 days ago, in addition to escalating oppression, storming and naked inspection, creating tension between the detainees and the administration.

Farawneh warned of such practices, which hint to preparations to oppressing any confrontation that might take place inside the section, especially after the prisons’ administrations increased its oppressive measures against the detainees since the beginning of the year.

Earlier on January 21, more than a 100 detainees were injured in the Zionist Ofer Prison west of Ramallah as the so-called Prison Service Forces attacked them, using rubber bullets, gas, sound bombs, batons and dogs, during which three rooms were totally burnt.

“Israeli” Authorities Submit to Palestinian Prisoners’ Demands to Cancel New Sanctions

Local Editor

Palestinian Prisoners’ leadership announced that “understandings were reached with the ‘Israeli’ prison administration, ending the tension in all prisons.”

The leadership said “the understandings include preserving the dignity, rights and benefits of the prisoners in Ofer Military Prison.”

Ofer, which includes 1,200 prisoners, including about 100 children, has been subjected to a series of incursions since January 20 by four “Israeli” repression units.

As a result of these attacks, some 100 prisoners were injured, most of whom suffered fractures and wounds due to severe beatings.

Source: U-News, Edited by website team

1,200 Palestinian Detainees Start Hunger Strike in “Israeli” Ofer Prison

Local Editor

More than 1,200 Palestinian detainees in Zionist Ofer Prison yesterday launched an open-ended hunger strike, in protest against the occupation’s continuous violations against them.

In further details, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club [PPC] said that about 150 Palestinian prisoners were wounded when the “Israeli” Special Military Police stormed Ofer on Monday morning.

According to the PPC, six prisoners suffered from fractures, 40 were wounded in their heads and had stitches and the others suffered injuries as a result of the use of rubber bullets and tear gas.

In response to the violent Zionist crackdown, prisoners refused to eat and rejected offers by the prison administration to meet with detainee representatives unless all factions were represented in the meeting.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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Tales of torture from israel’s prisons

Tales of Torture From Israel’s Prisons

As Israel prepares to worsen conditions for Palestinian prisoners, we asked six former inmates about their experiences.

by &
Palestinian boys raise up their hands with chains, during a protest to show their solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, May 4, 2017 [File: Hussein Malla/AP)

Palestinian boys raise up their hands with chains, during a protest to show their solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, May 4, 2017 [File: Hussein Malla/AP)

Earlier this month, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced plans to “worsen” already horrific conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s jails.

According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are nearly 5,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 230 children and 54 women. Of that number, 481 prisoners are held without trial – under the guise of an unlawful practice known as “administrative detention”. 

Speaking to reporters on January 2, Erdan disclosed some aspects of his plan, but a sinister context was missing from the story.

The minister said the prisoners will be denied “cooking rights”, yet failed to mention that many prisoners, especially during the first stage of their detention, are tortured and denied food altogether. “The plan also includes preventing members of the Knesset from visiting Palestinian detainees,” Erdan added but did not mention how hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are already denied access to lawyers and family visitations on a regular basis.

There is no reason to doubt the Israeli minister’s words when he vows to worsen conditions for Palestinian prisoners. However, the horrific conditions under which thousands of Palestinians are held in Israeli jails – which itself is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention – are already at a stage that can only be described as inhumane as they fail the minimum standards set by international and humanitarian laws.

No one is as qualified to describe Israeli prison conditions as Palestinian prisoners, who experienced every form of physical and psychological torture, and have spent years, sometimes decades, fending for their humanity every hour of every day.

We spoke to six freed prisoners, including two women and a child, who shared their stories with us, with the hope that their testimonies would help the world understand the true context of Erdan’s latest plan.

I was only 16 when I decided to wear an explosive belt and blow myself up among Israeli occupation soldiers. It was all I could do to avenge Muhammad al-Durrah, the 12-year-old Palestinian child who was brutally killed by Israeli soldiers in front of television cameras in September 2000. When I saw the footage of Muhammad huddling by his father’s side, as soldiers showered them both with bullets, I felt powerless. That poor child. But I was arrested, and those who helped me train for my mission were killed three months after my detention.

Wafa’ Samir Ibrahim al-Bis was born in the Jablaiya refugee camp in Gaza. She was 16-years-old when she was detained on May 20, 2005. She was sentenced to 12-years in prison after she was convicted of attempting to carry out a suicide mission targeting Israeli soldiers. She was released in 2011 in a prisoner swap between the Palestinian Resistance and Israel [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

I was tortured for years inside the Ramleh prison’s infamous Cell nine, a torture chamber they designated for people like me. I was hanged from the ceiling and beaten. They put a black bag on my head as they beat and interrogated me for many hours and days. They released dogs and mice in my cell. I couldn’t sleep for days at a time. They stripped me naked and left me like that for days on end. They didn’t allow me to meet with a lawyer or even receive visits from the Red Cross.

They had me sleep on an old, dirty mattress that was as hard as nails. I was in solitary confinement in Cell number nine for two years. I felt that I was buried alive. Once they hanged me for three days nonstop. I screamed as loud as I could, but no one would untie me.

When I was in prison, I felt so lonely. Then one day, I saw a little cat walking among the rooms, so I kept throwing her food so that she would be my friend. Eventually, she started coming inside my cell and would stay with me for hours. When the guards discovered that she was keeping me company, they slit her throat in front of me. I cried for her more than I cried for my own fate.

A few days later, I asked the guard for a cup of tea. She came back and said: “stick your hand out to grab the cup”. I did, but instead she poured boiling water on my hand, causing third-degree burns. I have scars from this incident to this day and I still need help treating my hand.

I cry for Israa’ Ja’abis, whose whole body has been burned yet she remains in an Israeli jail.

I often think of all the women prisoners I left behind.

In May 2015, I wanted to visit my family living in the West Bank. I was missing them terribly as I hadn’t seen them for years. But as soon as I arrived to the Beit Hanoun (Eretz) Crossing, I was detained by Israeli soldiers.

My ordeal on that day started at about 7:30 in the morning. Soldiers searched me in such a humiliating way. They probed every part of my body. They forced me to undress completely. I stayed in that condition till midnight.

In the end, they chained my hands and feet, and blindfolded me. I begged the officer in charge to allow me to call my family because they were still waiting on the other side of the crossing. The soldiers agreed on the condition that I use the exact phrase: “I am not coming home tonight,” and nothing more.

Sana’a Mohammed Hussein al-Hafi was born in the West Bank. She moved to the Gaza Strip after meeting her future husband. She spent 10 months in prison and a further five months under house arrest for transferring money to a ‘hostile entity (Hamas)’ [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

Then more soldiers arrived. They threw me in the back of a large military truck. I felt the presence of many dogs and men surrounding me. The dogs barked and the men laughed. I was so scared.

I was taken to the Ashkelon military compound, where I was searched again in the exact same degrading manner, and placed in a very small cell with a dim light. It smelled terrible. It was very cold although it was early summer. The bed was tiny and filthy. The covers too. The soldiers took all of my possessions, including my watch.

I couldn’t sleep, as I was interrogated every few hours. I would sit on a wooden chair for long periods of time to be subjected to the same routine, filled with shouting and insults and dirty language. I was kept in the Ashkelon compound for seven days. They allowed me to shower once, with very cold water.

At night, I heard voices of men and women being tortured; angry shouts in Hebrew and broken Arabic; doors slamming in a most disturbing manner.

At the end of that week, I was transferred to HaSharon prison, where I was relieved to be with other Palestinian female prisoners, some minors, some mothers like me, and some old ladies.

Every two or three days, I was taken out of my cell for more interrogation. I would leave at dawn and return around midnight. Occasionally, I was put in a large military truck with other women and taken to military court. We were either chained individually or to each other. We would wait for hours only to be told that the court session had been postponed to a later date.

In our cells, we struggled to survive under harsh conditions and medical neglect. Once an old woman prisoner collapsed. She had diabetes and was receiving no medical attention. We all started screaming and crying. Somehow, she survived.

I was in prison for ten months. When I was finally released from prison, I was put under house arrest in Jerusalem for another 5 months. I missed my family. I thought about them every hour of every day. No words can describe how harrowing that experience was, to have your freedom taken away, to live without dignity and without rights.

No words.

The day I saw my mother
Fuad Qassim al-Razam

I have experienced both psychological and physical torture in Israeli jails, which forced me to confess to things I did and didn’t do.

Fuad Qassim al-Razam was born in the Palestinian city of Jerusalem. He spent 31 years in prison for killing an Israeli soldier and an armed settler among other charges [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

The first phase of detention is usually the most difficult because the torture is most intense and the methods are most brutal. I was denied food and sleep and I was left hanging from the ceiling for hours. At times I was left standing in the rain, naked, tied to a pole, with a bag on my head. I would be left in that condition the whole day, while occasionally getting punched, kicked and hit with sticks by soldiers.

I was forbidden from seeing my family for years, and when I finally was allowed to see my mother, she was dying. An ambulance brought her to Beir Al-Saba’ prison, and I was taken in my shackles to see her. She was in terrible health and could no longer speak. I remember the tubes coming out of her hands and nose. Her arms were bruised and blue from where the needles entered her frail skin.

I knew it would be the last time I would ever see her, so I read some Quran to her before they took me back to my cell. She died 20 days later. I know she was proud of me. When I was released, I was not allowed to read verses from the Quran by her grave as I was deported to Gaza immediately after the prisoner exchange in 2011.

One day I will visit her grave.

‘They burned my genitals’
Mohammed Abul-Aziz Abu Shawish

I was arrested by Israel seven times; the first time I was six-years-old. That was in 1970. Then, they accused me of throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. I was arrested again when I was a teenager. That time I was beaten up and an Israeli officer lit a match under my genitals. They stripped my clothes off and placed my underwear in my mouth to muffle my screams. I felt pain when I tried to use the bathroom for many days after that incident.

Mohammed Abul-Aziz Abu Shawish was born in the Nuseirat Refugee camp in Gaza in 1964. His family is originally from Barqa, a village in southern Palestine that was ethnically-cleansed in 1948. He spent 9 years in prison after being charged with possessing a weapon and being a member of the Fatah movement [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

My last imprisonment was the longest. I was detained on April 23, 1985, and remained in jail for 9 years to be released after the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Even in prison, our fight for our rights never ceased. We fought through hunger strikes and they fought us back with isolation and torture. As soon as the prison administration would concede to our demands, to end our strike, they would slowly deprive us from everything we had achieved. They would withhold food, prevent family visitations, even prevent us from meeting with our own prison mates. They often confiscated our books and other educational materials for no reason whatsoever.

When I was released on January 8, 1994, I joined the prisoner rehabilitation unit in the Labour Ministry. I tried my best to help my fellow freed prisoners. Since I retired, I wrote a book entitled: Before My Tormentor is Dead, detailing the years of my imprisonment.

I am not a trained writer, I just want the world to know of our plight.

‘They detained my family’
Shadi Farah

I was arrested on December 30, 2015, when I was only 12-years-old. I was released on November 29, 2018. At the time, I was the youngest Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails.

Shadi Farah was arrested in his home in Jerusalem at the age of 12. He was accused of trying to kill Israeli soldiers with a knife they found at his house [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

My interrogation took place in the Maskoubiah prison in Jerusalem, specifically in Cell number four. After days of physical torture, sleep deprivation and severe beating, they imprisoned my whole family – my mom and dad and sisters and brothers.

They told me that my family was held captive because of me and they would only be released if I confessed to my crimes. They swore at me with profanity I cannot repeat. They threatened to do unspeakable things to my mom and sisters.

After each torture session, I would return to my cell so desperate to sleep. But then soldiers would wake me up by slapping my face, kicking me with their boots and punching me in the stomach.

I love my family, and when they used to prevent them from visiting me, it broke my heart.

‘Prisoners are heros’
Jihad Jamil Abu-Ghabn

In prison, my jailers tried to break my spirit and take away my dignity, not just through violence, but also through specific techniques meant to humiliate and demoralise me.

Jihad Jamil Abu-Ghabn spent nearly 24 years in Israeli jails for participating in the first Intifada and for being involved in the killing of an Israeli settler. He was released in 2011 [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

They often placed a bag with a most foul smell over my head, which led me to vomit repeatedly inside the bag. When the bag was removed, I would be left with a swollen face and a massive headache from the intermittent deprivation of oxygen.

Throughout my interrogation (which lasted for months), they had me sit on a chair with uneven legs for hours on end. I could never find a comfortable position, which left me with permanent pain in my back and neck.

At times they would introduce ‘prisoners’ to my cell, claiming to be genuine members of the Palestinian Resistance. I would later discover that these prisoners were actually collaborators who were trying to trick me into confessing. We called these collaborators assafir (birds).

Palestinian prisoners are heroes. No words can describe their legendary steadfastness and unfathomable sacrifices.

Yousef Aljamal contributed to this article.

The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

Israeli Enemy Goes Ahead with Arrest Campaign in Occupied West Bank


January 21, 2019

Israeli occupation forces went ahead on Monday with arrest campaign against Palestinians in various regions across the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian sources said the number of Palestinians arrested by IOF at dawn on Monday reached 21.

In Nablus, IOF confiscated the vehicle of the prisoner Ameer Eshteya after arresting his wife, the sources said.

Elsewhere in eastern Nablus confrontations erupted after hundreds of Israeli settlers raided Joseph’s Tomb, the sources said, adding that several injuries occurred during the clashes and that journalists were also detained, according to the sources.

The sources added that IOF stormed Jayyous village in eastern Qalqilya, and distributed warning leaflets to frighten peaceful civilians.

Citing the local sources, Maan news agency mentioned the arrested Palestinians: Lawyer Aman Mansour and wife of Ameer Eshteya from Nablus; Former prisoner Shaher Issa Takateka, Ahmad Khaled Takateka, Eyad and Ahmad Takateka in Beit Fajjar in Bethlehem; Mohammad Audi from Abu Shukheidim in Northern Ramallah; Ibrahim Ayoub Maarouf from Deir Abu Mash’al in Eastern Ramallah; Mo’tasem Omar Abou Alya, Assem Ahmad Abou Alya, Mahmoud Abdallah El-hajj Mohammad, and Ahmad Abdullah Abou Alya in Al-Mughayyir in Western Ramallah.


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شخصية العام: نائل البرغوثي

 عبد القادر عقل

شخصية العام: نائل البرغوثي

رفض البرغوثي عرض الإبعاد عن فلسطين وقَبِل الإقامة الجبرية في رام الله (أي بي أيه )

سلفيت | يبدأ عام جديد في حياة كل الناس، وعام آخر يقرّب نائل البرغوثي من السنة الأربعين في السجن. أكثر من نصف عمر القضية الفلسطينية قضاها «جنرال الصبر» أسيراً. ارتاح فيها لثلاث سنوات فقط، بين 2011 و2014، وهذا الأصعب: أن تتنشّق الحرية، أن تتعرّف إلى وجوه أصدقائك القدامى، أن تتعرّف إلى الحاسوب والإنترنت… وفجأة ينتهي الحلم. هذا الرجل تعلّم أن يتشبّث بحقوقه ويرفض المساومات. فمنذ الصغر، عندما حاول زميل الدراسة أخذ كتاب التاريخ منه، قاوم بكلّ ما يمكن للطفل أن يقاوم، كما رفض اقتراح المعلم تقسيم الكتاب إلى جزءين. اعتُقل وهو فتى، طالب في الثانوية العامة، لتمرّ عليه 34 عاماً، ثم سنوات الحرية الثلاث، ثم سبع سنوات من الأسر ليصير عمره الآن 62 عاماً، ولا يزال يواجه حكمه القديم: المؤبّد. ومع أنه يعلم تمام العلم أن لا حرية من القيد إلا بصفقة تبادل جديدة تشمله، فإن «جنرال الصبر» هو عنوان عائلته المُقاتِلة التي لا تستقيل من الأجداد إلى الأحفاد، منذ سجن نائل وعمر وفخري في 1978، إلى دم صالح في 2018، وبينهما أجيال من الشهداء والأسرى، آخرهم الشهيد صالح الذي شارك في تنفيذ إطلاق نار قرب مستوطنة «عوفرا»، وسط الضفة.

«أتمنّى الاستلقاء ساعة فقط تحت شمس قريتي كوبر وفوق ربيعها». سرٌّ صغير نقله الأسير الفلسطيني نائل البرغوثي، لوالدته، أثناء إحدى زياراتها إليه في سجون العدو. ومع أنه حقّق أمنيته بعد 34 عاماً، لم يكن أبوه أو أمه على قيد الحياة عندما خرج ليشهدا تلك اللحظة. ليت الوجع انتهى هنا، إذ لم يكمل ثلاث سنوات من «الحرية المشروطة»، حتى لاقى أسوأ مصير يمكن أن يتعرّض له أسير محرّر. فما إن تنفّس الصعداء عقب «صفقة شاليط» عام 2011، حتى أعاد العدو اعتقاله في 2014. هذا ملخّص سيرة «أقدم سجين (سياسي) في العالم»، يدخل عامه الـ 39 في السجن، فصلت ما بينها سنوات في «سجن أكبر، سماؤه بلا قضبان»، كما يصف.
قبل سبع سنوات، في تبادل «وفاء الأحرار» الكبير، كان بإمكان نائل أن يتّخذ قرار الإبعاد، شأنه شأن عدد من الأسرى المُفرَج عنهم آنذاك، ويجنّب نفسه هذا المصير، لكنه كان سيحرم ذاته تحقيق أمنية الاستلقاء تحت شمس كوبر. لذلك قال: «اقتراح الاحتلال إبعادنا خارج فلسطين مرفوض، ولن نقبل إلا العودة إلى عائلاتنا». ما إن خرج في 11/10/2011، ولم يمرّ سوى اثني عشر يوماً، حتى حقّق أمنية والدته وعَقد قرانه على الأسيرة المحررة إيمان نافع (من قرية نعلين غربي رام الله). وفي حفلة زفافه، قال لوسائل الإعلام: «كما ترون: عرس وطني، وإن شاء الله يكون امتداداً لعرسٍ أكبر بتحرر (باقي) إخواننا الأسرى».

اعتقُل نائل في 1978 وتحرّر في 2011 ثم اعتُقل في 2014

في لقاء آخر (23/11/2011)، يسأله محاوره عبر التلفزيون: «كيف بدت لك قريتك، وما هي مشاعرك بعد 33 عاماً في السجون». ينسى «أبو النور» نفسه وهو يصف قريته التي رفض أن يُبعَد عنها، مسهباً في الحديث عن «سحر الطبيعة» الذي بدا أن له حصّة واسعة في شخصيته. يستدرك: «لم أتنسّم حريتي كلياً، فأبناء شعبي تنقصهم حقوقهم، وحياتهم ليست طبيعية كباقي العالم، إنني أعيش في سماء بلا قضبان، وحريتي منقوصة رغم أن الوضع مريح نوعاً ما». في ختام اللقاء، يصفه المذيع بـ«الأب الروحي للحركة الأسيرة»، لكنه يعترض بشدة: «عفواً، لست الأب الروحي، خلفنا وبعدنا جاء عشرات الجنود المجهولين، يجب تسليط الضوء على الأسرى كافة».

سنوات «الحرية»

مقابل رفض نائل الإبعاد، فُرضت عليه الإقامة الجبرية في محافظة رام الله والبيرة، وكان ممنوعاً عليه أن يخرج من حدودها. صحيح أنه لم ينل المساحة التي نالها مَن قَبِل الإبعاد أو أُجبر عليه، لكنه نجح في نيل أمنيته بالاجتماع مع عائلته وتوأم روحه، قريته كوبر، وضريحَيْ والديه، كما نفّذ وصية والدته. استثمر البرغوثي سنوات الحرية المؤقتة في دراسة التاريخ في جامعة القدس المفتوحة، كما شارك شقيقه عمر الفرحة بزفاف نجل الأخير، الشهيد صالح (منفذ عملية فدائية قرب مستوطنة «عوفرا» الشهر الماضي).

رغم «حريته» المنقوصة، شارك في الفعاليات المتضامنة مع الأسرى في رام الله، كما بقي حريصاً على الحضور في المناسبات الاجتماعية، وزيارة ذوي الشهداء، ومنهم عائلة الشهيد عبد الحميد حامد في بلدة سلواد، شرقي رام الله، رغم مرور 28 عاماً على استشهاده. وبينما كانت الشمس في كبد السماء خلال تموز/ يوليو 2013، أصّر نائل على أن يحمل على كتفيه جثمان رفيق أسره أحمد أبو السكر، طوال التشييع، إذ قال: «أبو السكر حمل قضية فلسطين 27 سنة في السجون، فلنحمله 27 دقيقة على الأكتاف».

أيضاً، عاد نائل الشغوف بالأرض وطبيعتها الساحرة إلى تقاليد المزارع الريفي، ليحقّق أمنية من أمنيات السجن، فزرع عشرات الأشجار بيديه في حديقة أمام منزله واعتاد الاعتناء بها يومياً، كما التقط صحافيون صوراً له أثناء تربيته بعض الماشية. مرّت تلك الأيام كحلم جميل لم يتخيّل نائل، وعشرات المحرّرين، أن ينتهي بسرعة، عقب إعادة اعتقالهم عام 2014 في ردّ فعل واسع على قتل ثلاثة مستوطنين إسرائيليين في الخليل. منذ ذلك الوقت، قضى «أبو النور» ثلاثين شهراً بتهمة «التحريض عبر إلقائه محاضرة»، وبعد انتهاء المدة، أعاد العدو إليه حكمه السابق بالمؤبد، بذريعة «ملف أو تهمة سرية».

خارج الزمن

على مدار 34 عاماً، رفض العدو الإفراج عن «جنرال الصبر» في صفقات التبادل كافة، فاكتفى «أبو اللّهب» بتقديم التهاني إلى رفاقه المحرّرين الذين سبقوه، ومنهم شقيقه عمر الذي نال حريته أول مرة في 1985 خلال صفقة أبرمتها «الجبهة الشعبية ــــ القيادة العامة». ولم يشهد التاريخ أن نائل البرغوثي تخلّف عن أي إضرابٍ جماعي للحركة الأسيرة منذ اعتقاله في 1978، إذ بدأ إضرابه الأول عن الطعام لثلاثة أيام للمطالبة بتحسين جودة الطعام التي تقدمه إدارة السجون (يُعدّه الأسرى الجنائيون وغير الأمنيين). وجراء رفض الإدارة طلبهم، أضربوا عن الوجبات الغذائية المطهُوَّة لنحو نصف عام، واكتفوا بالخبز واللبن والفواكه وما شابهها من الأصناف غير المطبوخة، ثم رضخ العدو في النهاية وسلّمهم المطبخ.

قالت الوالدة لابنها في وصيتها: «ليت إيمان نافع تكون من نصيبك يا نائل!» (أي بي أيه )

يقول مُقرّبون إن نائل بدأ حياته يافعاً مقبلاً على دراسة الفكر التقدمي اليساري، لكنه سرعان ما تحوّل إلى العسكرة منخرطاً في صفوف «الكتيبة الطلابية» التابعة لـ«فتح»، إذ وجد فيها ما يلبّي عنفوانه وحماسته، وبقي كذلك حتى 1992، عندما اتجه نحو الالتزام الديني، واختار أن يُكنّى بـ«أبو النور». مع توقيع اتفاق «أوسلو» وتَسلّم السلطة الفلسطينية (1994)، نُقل نائل إلى سجن بئر السبع بعدما مكث أحد عشر عاماً في سجن جنيد في مدينة نابلس، قضى ثماني سنوات منها في زنزانة واحدة. بعد نقله بمدة قصيرة (1995)، قرّر العيش داخل أقسام حركة «حماس».

خلال أحد أيام 1997، فوجئ البرغوثي بعصفور يرتجف ويلتقط أنفاسه الأخيرة ولا يقوى على الطيران، محاولاً أن ينفض عن نفسه غبار سجن نفحة. أمسك الأسير الإنسان بالأسير العصفور ونفخ في منقاره، وأمدّه بقطرات الماء، ثم تنفّس العصفور وحلّق عالياً. يصف أسرى محرّرون نائل بـ«الرجل الوحدوي»، و«القارئ النهم»، و«واسع الاطلاع وكثير الإلمام في موضوعات شتى». ويقولون إن هذه الشخصية الآسرة للرجل الصابر تمتزج بالتواضع وتغلب عليها روح الفكاهة.

«المدرسة البرغوثية»

«درهم شرف خير من بيت مال». هذه المقولة كرّرتها أم نائل، فَرحة، لابنيها على مدى سنوات، وقالتها في الزيارة الأخيرة لنائل. ولما بَلَغتها أمنية ابنها في الاستلقاء على بساتين قريته وتحت شمسها، قالت لمراسل صحيفة «هآرتس» العبرية: «شو رأيك أخطفك، بس شوي، عشان أبادلك بنائل». بعدها، زرعت «الحجّة فرحة» شجرة ليمون باسم نائل في كوبر، وواظبت لسنوات على إحضار عبوات المياه لسقايتها من سجن نجلها، بل قطفت ثمرها ومرّرته إليه في السجن، قبل أن يمنَع العدو إدخال الليمون. وما إن لحظ نائل تعبها من نقل المياه من السجن، والليمون إليه، حتى توقف عن طلبه سقاية الشجرة.

توفّي والده في 2004 ووالدته في 2005 وتزوّج بأسيرة محررة

ذات مرة، تعمّد أحد جنود العدو تكرار المناداة على والدته محرّفاً اسمها: «فرخة! فرخة»، فردّت عليه: «فرخة! بس أنجبت ديوك يلعنوا أبوك». لم تعرف فرحة الكلل أو الملل، وجابت غالبية سجون العدو لزيارة ابنَيها نائل وعمر، كما خاضت معظم الإضرابات خارج السجون تزامناً مع إضراب أبنائها في الداخل. في 18/10/2005، انتظر الشقيقان نائل وعمر صوت والدتهما في برنامج الأسرى عبر إحدى الإذاعات. كانت وصاياها الأخيرة على الملأ: «درهم شرف ولا بيت مال يا حبايب قلبي… ليت إيمان نافع* تكون من نصيبك يا نائل!». ثم بعد يوم توفّيت الأم.
قبلها بسنة، أي في 2004، كانت زيارة الأب، صالح، الأخيرة لنجله نائل بعد منعٍ استمرّ سنوات. وبعدها توفّي الأب وتلقّى نائل وشقيقه عمر (المُعاد اعتقاله آنذاك) الخبر المفاجئ. آنذاك، ساق القدر الأخوين إلى الالتقاء في «معبار بئر السبع»، وبينما لهيب الشوق ينطفئ، عادت نار الفراق، إذ همس زميلٌ أسيرٌ في أذن الآخر: «المُسنّ بالثياب الزرقاء والعصا (صالح) لم يأتِ للزيارة… لقد مات!». أما الشقيقة الوحيدة لنائل، وكان عمرها 12 عاماً عند اعتقاله، فتزوجت وصار لديها أولاد ثم أحفاد، قبل أن يتحرّر هو في «صفقة شاليط». والآن عاد عمر، «أبو عاصف، إلى السجون مجدداً عقب استشهاد نجله صالح المحتجز جثمانه.

في مؤتمرٍ صحافي في التاسع عشر من الشهر الجاري، طالبت العائلة بالكشف عن تفاصيل ما حدث لنجلها صالح (استشهد في 12/12). ثم قرأ رئيس «هيئة شؤون الأسرى» السابق عيسى قراقع، رسالة «جنرال الصبر» لعائلته، إذ قال فيها:

«نُعزيكم باستشهاد صالح البرغوثي فارساً مقاتلاً، وأسال الله الفرج لأخينا أبو عاصف وابنه، وستتشرّفون بأنكم كنتم من الذين قدموا أرواحهم فداء للحرية وللقدس، ونشدّ على أياديكم وسنبقى على عهد الشهداء».

* إيمان نافع: أسيرة تحرّرت عام 1997، وكانت قد اعتُقلت في 1987، وحوكمت بالسجن 15 عاماً ونصف عام، بتهمة التخطيط لعملية فدائية.

أنقر على الصورة لتكبيرها

«القسام» لنائل: ستعانق الحرية من جديد

في الثامن عشر من الشهر الماضي، أرسل نائل البرغوثي من داخل سجنه رسالة بمناسبة مرور 38 عاماً على اعتقاله، لم يفصل بينها سوى «الحرية غير المكتملة». يقول أبو النور: «أصدق التحيات والمحبة أبعثها لكم من خلف 38 جداراً هي سنوات الأسر التي لم تحجبني عنكم… نعيش الأمل الذي يظلّلنا بقبس من نور الشهداء»، مضيفاً: «من خلف 38 عاماً، أقول لكم إن الشعب الذي أراد الحياة لن ينال إلا النصر». وجاء في الرسالة أيضاً: «الاحتلال لن يستطيع زرع الخذلان في نفسنا، لأننا نستند إلى جدار الله أولاً، ثم جدار كلّ من سار بخطى واثقة على درب من صنع الكرامة والعزة لأمتنا من المحيط إلى الخليج».

بعد يومين من رسالته، ردت «كتائب القسام»، الذراع العسكرية لحركة «حماس»، عبر تغريدة للمتحدث باسمها أبو عبيدة: «التحية الجهادية لأسطورة السجون وأيقونة المقاومة والصمود نائل البرغوثي، ونقول له: كما كسرنا القيد في وفاء الأحرار، سنكسر أنف المحتل وستعانق الحرية من جديد بإذن الله».

الطفولة والسجن: من «أبو اللهب» إلى «أبو النور»

المكان: قرية كوبر، شمال غرب رام الله، وسط الضفة المحتلة. الزمان: الثالث والعشرون من تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 1957. الحدث: صالح البرغوثي وزوجته فَرْحة على موعدٍ مع قدوم المولود الثاني لهما، نائل. ما إن بلغ هذا الطفل الرابعة من عمره، حتى سافر لأول مرة في حياته إلى الأردن مع أمه، لزيارة خاله المريض علي. وفي العام نفسه، زار المملكة مجدداً لتهنئة خاله بالإفراج عنه من السجون الأردنية.
بدأ نائل دراسته الابتدائية في مدرسة كوبر، لكنه في المرحلة الثانوية انتقل إلى بلدة بيرزيت، شمال رام الله. هناك، طلب من أساتذته تحويل اسم مدرسته إلى «مدرسة الثورة»، في وقت كانت فيه أجواء «حرب حزيران» 1967، أو ما تُسمّى «النكسة»، تحفر عميقاً في وعي كل فلسطيني، كما كانت «حركة التحرير الوطني الفلسطيني» (فتح) قد أعلنت انطلاقتها آنذاك.
في 1972، كانت أولى محطات العمل الثوري الفعلي للبرغوثي، إذ انخرط مبكراً في التظاهرات، ونجح في إنشاء علاقات مع الشباب الثوار الذين يكبرونه سناً في جامعة بيرزيت. ومن أبرز المسيرات الطلابية التي تقدّم صفوفها تظاهرة منددة باغتيال العدو «الكماليْن وأبو يوسف النجار» في بيروت عام 1973، ثم مسيرات يوم الأرض في 1976.

«أبو اللهب» هو اللقب المؤقّت الذي لازم نائل منذ السبعينيات حتى بداية التسعينيات، وأُطلق عليه لشهرته في إشعال إطارات السيارات خلال المواجهات في بيرزيت، لكنه تمكن في وقت قياسي من تجاوز مرحلة التظاهر والعمل الجماهيري (خلال سنتين فقط) إلى الكفاح المسلح. اعتقله العدو أول مرة في كانون الثاني/يناير 1978، وزَجّ به في سجن رام الله، لكن أُطلق سراحه بعد صموده، وجراء إخفاق المخابرات الإسرائيلية في توجيه لائحة اتهام إليه.

ثم في نيسان/أبريل التالي، وجد نائل نفسه في التحقيق مرة أخرى داخل السجن نفسه لأربعة أشهر. وبعد 12 يوماً، اعتَقل العدو شقيقه الأكبر عمر وابن عمه فخري، وحُكم على ثلاثتهم بالسجن المؤبد بتهم «قتل ضابط إسرائيلي شمال رام الله، وحرق مصنع زيوت داخل الأراضي المحتلة عام 1948، وتفجير مقهى في القدس المحتلة». داخل قاعة محاكمتهما، رفض الشقيقان وابن عمهما الاعتراف بشرعية محكمة العدو والإقرار بالذنب أو طلب الاستعطاف، فبدأ صراخ القاضي العسكري، وضرب بيديه على الطاولة صارخاً: «مؤبد مؤبد مؤبد». في تلك اللحظة، وقف الثلاثة وغنّوا: «ما بنتحول ما بنتحول يا وطني المحتل… هذي طريقنا واخترناها وعرة بنتحمل»، لتعلو فوقها زغاريد أمِّ «أبو النور» فَرْحة.

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