Empty Stomach Warriors (I): Hasan al-Safadi Time and Time Again

By: Linah Alsaafin
Published Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Palestinian women shout slogans during a protest calling
for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails
in Gaza City on 25 April 2012.
(Photo: AFP – Mohammed Abed)
On Wednesday April 25, 33-year-old Hasan al-Safadi entered the 52nd day of his hunger strike in protest of not just administrative detention (a form of internment where a prisoner is held indefinitely without ever knowing the charges against him or her), but the Israeli occupation’s policy of imprisonment in general.

Safadi was arrested for the seventh time by Israel on 29 June 2011. He spent 60 days under interrogation, and was only allowed to meet with his lawyer Mohammad al-Abed for the first time after 30 days.

Safadi was in Megiddo prison when he began his hunger strike, which the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) responded to by transferring him to Gilboa prison.

Prisoners who are transferred from one prison to another suffer immensely due to the harsh conditions they travel under, which include having their hands and feet shackled inside a metal ridged vehicle. The process of transfers, referred to as bosta, turns a two-hour trip into a torturous journey that could take up to three days.

After refusing to eat or drink water for five days in Gilboa, Safadi was taken back to Megiddo. After it became clear that he would not end his hunger strike, he was placed in solitary confinement in Jalameh prison. Ten days later, Safadi’s health deteriorated rapidly, and he was taken to the Ramleh prison hospital where he has remained since.

Safadi is no stranger to spending time in Israeli prisons. He was first arrested when he was just 16 years old, in 1994. From 2007 to 2010, he became the longest administrative detainee in Israeli prison, with his detainment renewed every six months over and over again.

After his release, he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority for 48 days and spent the next five months being summoned for interrogation regularly. Prior to his arrest by Israel in 2007, he had spent 43 months in prison. In total, Safadi spent 10 years as an administrative detainee in Israeli prisons, without ever once being sentenced or charged officially.

In the living room of his family’s house in the old city of Nablus, photographs of Safadi taken over the years cover the coffee table. Framed pictures of his oldest brother Farid, who was killed in 1996 in the Battle of the Tunnel near Joseph’s tomb, and of his sister Nelli, imprisoned for 18 months back in 2010, adorn the walls. Nelli was finally able to travel to the Gaza Strip to be reunited with her husband Obadah Saeed Hakam, also an ex-prisoner, who was freed in the October Hamas-Israel prisoners’ deal but exiled to Gaza.

The day before Israeli forces came to arrest Safadi, his mother recalls, was a good one. She had gone to see a bride for Safadi, and was planning on going back again with Safadi.

Instead, later that night the Safadi family was rudely awakened by an explosion that blew the front door off its hinges at 2am. Suddenly the house was teeming with soldiers, with more coming down from the roof. They took Safadi and as his mother began crying out and screaming at the soldiers, they beat him up on the way to taking him to the jeep.

Safadi had studied maintenance but could barely keep a stable job, due to his frequent summoning for interrogations by the Palestinian Authority and Israel, which sometimes lasted for days on end.
He is adamant that he will not break his hunger strike unless he attains freedom and rejects the notion of exile unequivocally.

His sister Najiyeh, whose four young sons are all wearing t-shirts emblazoned with their uncle’s face, elaborates more. “The Israeli authorities have presented Safadi with the chance to go into exile as opposed to the continuous arrests and harassment he faces from them since 2004,” she said. “They offered him exile again in 2007, and the Israeli intelligence officer’s exact words were, ‘It’s better for you to go to a different country instead of rotting here in Palestine.’”

Safadi’s detainment was extended by another six months on December 2011. None of Safadi’s family members have seen him since last June, or were allowed the courtesy of speaking to him by phone. Safadi has reportedly lost 20kg so far.

Safadi’s mother shook her head slowly. “I support his hunger strike,” she said, “but it’s extremely difficult watching your own son dying.”

Despite her age, Safadi’s mother went on hunger strike for 15 days in solidarity with her son. She almost collapsed, and had to be taken to the hospital where she was forced to end her strike.
“I don’t want Safadi to know of my hunger strike,” she said speaking softly. “I don’t want him to worry about me. One of my grandchildren wanted to write on his Facebook about my hunger strike but I forbade him from doing so.”

She added, “He’s a compassionate person. Quick tempered, but the most loving of my 11 children. Safadi has told me time and time again, in and out of prison, that he gets his strength from me. If he sees my crying on TV for example, he tells me it’s like I’ve placed him inside another prison.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!


1600 Detainees To Declare Hunger-Strike on April 17

DateSunday, April 15, 2012 at 7:46AM AuthorGilad Atzmon


1600 Palestinian political prisoners, held by Israel, declared they will be starting an open-ended hunger strike on April 17th in protest to their illegal detention, and demanding basic rights.

Palestinian Minister of Detainees in the West Bank, Issa Qaraqe’, stated that the situation of the detainees in Israeli prisons is very difficult, and dangerous, especially amidst the ongoing Israeli violations and attacks against them.

Qaraqe’ added that the detainees are fighting a battle to defend their dignity and to improve their living conditions.

He further called for massive solidarity campaigns, and called for declaring April 17, the Palestinian Prisoners Day, as a day for solidarity and massive nonviolent protests in all parts of the occupied territories.

The Maan News Agency reported that a committee formed by the Israeli Prison Authority, headed by Yitzhak Gabai, visited a number of detention facilities, listened to the demands of the detainees, and “promised” respond to these demands this coming week.

Some of the demands presented by the detainees are;

1. Ending Administrative Detention.
2. Ending Solitary Confinement.
3. Reinstating the right to education.
4. Halting all invasions targeting detainees’ rooms and sections.
5. Allowing family visitations, especially to detainees from the Gaza Strip.
6. Improving medical care to ailing detainees.
7. Halting the humiliation, and body-search of the families of the detainees.
8. Allowing the entry of books and newspapers.
9. Halting all sorts of penalties against the detainees.

Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons are subject to harsh and illegal treatment that violates International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory.

The Palestinians started marking April 17 as the Palestinian Prisoners Day, on April 17, 1974, the day Israel released Mahmoud Bakr Hijazi, in the first ever prisoner-swap deal.

202 Palestinian detainees died after being kidnapped by the Israeli forces since 1967, following Israel’s occupation to the rest of Palestine (The West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights).

Hundreds of detainees died after they were released suffering from serious illnesses and medical conditions resulting from extreme torture and abuse in Israeli prisons.

70 detainees died in prison due to extreme torture, 74 were executed by the soldiers after being arrested, 51 died due to the lack of medical treatment, 7 detainees died due to excessive force by the soldiers, and after being shot while in prison, former political prisoner, head of the census department at the Ministry of Detainees, Abdul-Nasser Farawna reported.

The wandering who- Gilad Atzmon
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Resisting Israeli Oppression Courageously

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoOn March 8, women worldwide commemorate International Women’s Day. It celebrates over a century of economic, political, and social achievements.

This year for Palestinians, Hana Shalabi’s hunger strike for justice is highlighted. After three weeks, it’s taken a toll. Nonetheless, she’s determined to resist Israel’s lawless arrest, detention, torture, and degrading treatment.

Since arrested on February 16, she’s only ingested water. However, for the past five days, extreme nausea prevents her from drinking more than 1.5 liters daily.

Steadily her health deteriorates. She’s experiencing chest pain and dizziness. Her lawyer said she can barely speak. She’s also tired and can’t move much.

She refuses Israeli Prison Prison Service (IPS) medical care. She’ll accept only Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) doctors. On March 4, IPS officials denied PHR-I’s request to see her.
Repressively they said non-prison physician access is only allowed for second opinions. Since Hana refuses IPS treatment, request denied.

On March 4, PHR-I petitioned the Petach Tikva District Court, demanding immediate access to Hana. No word on if it’s approved or rejected. PHR-I expressed grave concern for her health. After two weeks without food, muscle decomposition begins. The heart and other organs are affected.

On March 5, Hana’s lawyers petitioned Israel’s Military Court of Appeals to end her administrative detention. Her scheduled March 7 hearing was postponed until March 11 or 12. She vowed to continue hunger striking for justice.

For days, Palestinians rallied supportively. A candlelight vigil was held. Dozens of other Palestinian prisoners hunger struck with her. According to Palestinian Prisoners’ Club head Qadoura Fares, they’re also protesting their own horrific conditions.

Fares said growing numbers of prisoners began refusing food. Israel doesn’t care if they live or die. On March 6, IPS authorities transferred about 80 political prisoners from Gilboa Prison to Nafha in Negev desert isolation.

Since February 28, they’d been hunger striking supportively. Earlier they did in mid-February for one day. In response, Israel punished them harshly. Now they’ll endure Nafha Prison isolation far from home. Israel often does it punitively. As a result, their suffering increases.
Torture is official Israeli policy. So is state terror and many other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment. April 17 marks Palestinian Political Prisoners Day. Dozens of human rights and other organizations worldwide called for a day of international action against Israeli injustice.

On March 7, the Addameer Prisoner Support group called for immediately releasing all female political prisoners on International Women’s Day. Among them they named Lina Jarbuni, Wurud Qassem, Salwa Hassan, Alaa Jubeh, Yusra Qaadan, Manal Suwan, and Hana.

According to PLO data, around 100,000 Palestinians, including 10,000 women, were lawlessly administratively detained since 1967. Many spent months or years uncharged with no trials. Young children are affected as part of Israel’s collective punishment policy, violating international law.
Addameer said Israel now detains 36 women administratively uncharged. To raise global awareness, the above named seven were highlighted.

(1) Lina Jarbuni
Arrested on 18 April 2002, she was sentenced to 17 years in prison. She’s currently at HaSharon.
(2) Wurud Qassem
On October 4 2006, she received 6 years in prison. She’s currently at Damon Prison.
(3) Salwa Hassan
Arrested on 19 October 2011, she’s at HaSharon Prison awaiting trial.
(4) Alaa Jubeh
On December 7 2011, she was arrested. She’s also at HaSharon. So far, she’s unsentenced. Though age 17 when arrested, she’ll be treated like an adult. Israel makes no distinction in violation of international law.
(5) Yusra Qaadan
Arrested on March 4, 2012 while visiting an imprisoned family member, she’s currently detained for interrogation in Beersheva.
(6) Manal Suwan
On March 6, 2012, she was arrested. She’s currently undergoing brutal interrogation at HaSharon. Virtually all Israeli interrogations use torture, abusive and degrading treatment to force innocent detainees to confess. It’s standard policy.
(7) Hana Shalabi

On February 16 2012, she was re-arrested less than four months after release as part of Israel’s October 18, 2011 Shalit prisoner exchange deal. Earlier she was lawlessly detained for two and a half years.
On February 23, 2012, she received a six month administrative detention without charge. On March 4, it was reduced to four months. For her and thousands of other Palestinian political prisoners, four minutes is too long.
As a result, Hana, Khader Adnan, and others hunger strike for justice. Hana’s at HaSharon. On March 8, day 22 and counting began.

Addameer highlighted their plight, saying:
All Palestinian prisoners are treated abusively, including children and women. They endure “sexual harassment, psychological and physical punishment and humiliation, and a lack of gender-sensitive healthcare. These practices (violate) international law and must stop immediately.”
Free or incarcerated, Israel treats all Palestinians oppressively. Children and women are especially affected, including young girls.

On March 7, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, and Al Dameer called for Hana’s immediate release. They hold Israeli responsible for her life and welfare.
A joint March 8 Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations (PCHRO) statement said Palestinian women and girls are “regularly subjected to harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment by Israeli military authorities and as a consequence they are denied the enjoyment of basic human rights such as education, health and freedom of movement. Such treatment amounts to an assault on their dignity and security of person in violation of international law.”

“The international community of States cannot continue to avert its gaze while Israel refuses to apply international human rights law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in the OPT.”

“Israel is not only in violation of the positive duty to implement its obligations under CEDAW, but also, through the imposition of illegal policies such as restrictions on the freedom of movement, is in breach of its negative duty not to interfere in the enjoyment of the rights under the Convention.”

Israel spurns all international law abusively. Contemptuously, it treats Palestinians horrifically for praying to the wrong God and demanding freedom on their own land in their own country.
As a result, they’re called terrorists. World leaders able to act do nothing. With or without help, their liberating struggle continues.

Hana, Khader, and many other courageous hunger strikers highlight its importance. Millions worldwide support them. Everyone should! Their struggle is ours!
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

On International Women’s Day, Palestinian Political Prisoners Remain the Spearhead of Resistance

From the cold, dark dungeon, and after three weeks of an open-ended hunger strike, Palestinian detainee Hana Ash-Shalabi saluted Palestinian women on the occasion of International Women’s Day and confirmed that she will continue her hunger strike and her struggle: I will not compromise my freedom and my right for any price, and I have decided to continue my hunger strike for my dignity and the dignity of all those struggling for freedom and liberation.

Palestinian women will always be the spearhead of resistance against the occupier and the symbol of generosity, patience and steadfastness.

Hana Ash-Shalabu, today on her 21st day of hunger strike, is writing a new chapter in the history of struggle and steadfastness, the history of a nation that is yearning for freedom and fighting for justice, the history of Palestinian women who have always stood side by side with their fathers, brothers, husbands, comrades to resist the Zionist occupation, to fight for freedom and legitimate rights.

Palestinian women resist the Zionist occupation soldiers in the streets and alleys of occupied Palestine, they resist the Zionist colonists in the fields and meadows, they resist the Zionist jailors in the dungeons. And every day, Palestinian female prisoners write new chapters in the history of resistance with their courage and their steadfastness. Neither the threats, the harassments, the torture, the interrogation cells nor the walls of the dungeons can break their will or stop their struggle. They fight not only for their freedom, but for the freedom of every Palestinian, and their belief in their just cause gives them the strength to continue the struggle, to break the dungeon walls and to defeat injustice. Their struggle is the struggle of every Palestinian, the struggle of every justice-seeking person, the struggle of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners, those who are free today and those who are still fighting for freedom. Since 1967, Israeli occupation forces kidnapped and detained more than 800,000 Palestinians, including 15,000 Palestinian women.

During the First Intifada, at least 3000 women were detained and during Al-Aqsa Intifada more than 900 women were locked up behind Israeli bars. Raids are carried out on a daily bases, and every week tens of Palestinians are kidnapped from their homes, workplace, schools and at checkpoints. Alone this week, at least 3 Palestinian women were detained by Israeli occupation forces, 2 of them while visiting their relatives imprisoned by Israel. Currently, there are 11 Palestinian female prisoners held captive in Israeli dungeons and detention centres.

The Zionist entity violates the rights of Palestinian political prisoners on a daily basis. In addition to torture, physical and verbal abuse, repeated attacks and humiliation, Palestinian political prisoners in general and female political prisoners in particular suffer from medical negligence, are denied proper nourishment, their private property destroyed or confiscated, they are tied up for hours under the hot sun or under the rain, are deprived of sleep, isolated, and are forced to pay for the water and electricity they consume. The cells are small, over-crowded, damp, lack hygiene, are cold in winter and hot in summer, no sun or fresh air enters them and they are infested with insects and mice.

Palestinian female prisoners are often subjected to harsh and humiliating raids and body searches. During raids, mostly at midnight or early morning, tear gas is fired inside the cells and Israeli prison guards beat Palestinian female prisoners, causing many injuries, broken bones and suffocations. On 24.06.2010, Israeli special forces in the Damon prison broke into the cells of Palestinian female prisoners in the early morning, assaulted the prisoners, searched the cells and forced them to undress, to sit in a humiliating squatting position for 4 hours under the pretext of inspection. Water is very dirty and undrinkable and food is inedible, forcing the detainees to buy their food and water from the prison canteen for very high prices.
One method of punishment favoured by Israeli prison forces is reducing family visitation for Palestinian prisoners from 45 minutes to 15 minutes, or cancelling all visitations despite the hardships the families endure to reach the prisons. When a Palestinian child reaches the age of 16, he/she is prevented from visiting their detained parent anymore without special permits which aren’t easy to get. In addition, Gaza, Arab and many West Bank prisoners are denied their visitation rights completely. Also, there are many cases of Palestinian female prisoners who were imprisoned as well as other family members, such as their husbands or their siblings, but were not allowed to visit them.

Israeli prison authority refuses to allow Palestinian female prisoners to visit their imprisoned husbands, despite the existence of an Israeli law which permits family visits within jails once every 6 months. While Palestinian female political prisoners are denied such rights, Israeli criminal prisoners are allowed family visits at least once every 3 months. Linan Abu Ghalmeh asked to be removed to the same section as her sister Taghreed who was also held hostage in the same Israeli prison, but the Israeli prison authority refused her request despite Linan’s 20 day hunger strike.

During house raids, Palestinian mothers, sisters and daughters are beaten, kidnapped to detention centres, and tortured to force their relatives to surrender themselves to Israeli occupation soldiers or to force confessions out of them. Fathiya Sweas, 57 year old mother, was detained on 19.07.2010, and her sister Ikhlas, the wife of a prisoner, was also summoned for interrogation. Upon her release on 01.08.2010, Sweas talked about being tortured, prevented from sleeping and forced to stand for long hours despite her bad health. She was threatened with the detention of all her sisters if she didn’t provide information. In addition, Palestinian women are sometimes kept hostage by the Israeli prison authority while visiting imprisoned family members. Samha Hijaz was detained while visiting her brother in jail. Since the beginning of 2012, at least 8 women were detained while visiting brothers, husbands or sons in Israeli occupation dungeons.

One form of punishing Palestinian prisoners is medical negligence. Since 1967, at least 51 Palestinian political prisoners have been killed due to the deliberate medical negligence widespread in Israeli dungeons. Palestinian female prisoners in need of medical treatment are denied appropriate and urgent medical care. Instead, they are punished with isolation, withholding or delaying the provision of medicine and treatment, thus contributing to a deterioration in their situation and leaving them to die a slow and painful death. All ailment and diseases, no matter how malignant, are “treated” with pain killers, expired or useless medicines and those who do get operated end up in a worse situation than before the operation.

Palestinian prisoners are treated either in the so-called prison clinics or are sent to the Ramleh prison “hospital”. Both the “hospital” and the clinics lack basic medical equipment and supplies and are run by military personnel with little to no medical training. There are no specialists and no doctors for emergencies at night. Patients are transferred in vans to the Ramlah prison “hospital” instead of in ambulances while they are hand and leg cuffed.

They are also hand and leg cuffed during operations which are often conducted without anesthetic. In cases when human rights organizations send a doctor to examine a sick prisoner, the Israeli prison authority delays giving the needed permission by placing obstacles. The prisoner has to apply for a “security clearance” so the doctor can enter the prison and this may take more than six months, in which time the health of the prisoner might deteriorate. If security clearance is given, the human rights organization has to apply for a permit for the doctor so he/she may see the prisoner. Even if the doctor is allowed to examine the Palestinian prisoner, he/she is not allowed to issue any medical prescriptions.

According to one report, upon arrest, Palestinian political detainees are first taken to the prison clinic for a medical test to determine their weak points so these might be used by Shabak during interrogations. Palestinian prisoners get interrogated in the so-called prison clinics and are blackmailed into giving information. For example, former Palestinian female prisoner Amna Muna, who was isolated and in need of an operation, was told to sign a document in which she refuses medical treatment in return for not being isolated.

Amal Jum’a suffered from internal bleeding for 6 months, after which it was discovered she has uterine cancer. Israeli prison authority “refused to give her the necessary medical treatment, nor was a stretcher made available. This meant that other female detainees had to carry her on their shoulders in order to move her from one place to another, because her condition had deteriorated so dramatically that she was no longer able to move alone.”[1]
Raja’ Al-Ghoul, who has heart problems, reports how once, while in Israeli detention, her blood pressure was extremely high and despite calls for help from her fellow Palestinian prisoners, the Israeli prison authority ignored her state until she fainted. After many protests, Al-Ghoul was finally taken to the prison clinic where she was left for 2 hours without any attention, after which she was transferred to a hospital. She didn’t get any medical treatment, but was tied to a bed for 2 days and was in such suffering that she preferred to be returned to her cell. On 09.02.2011, it was reported that the medical clinic at the HaSharon prison refused to provide medical assistance to Qahira As-Sa’di who suffered from severe inflammation of the jaw and gum and was in urgent need to remove her infected teeth. The clinic also refused to allow a specialist to see her even on her own expenses.

At least 8 Palestinian female political prisoners were forced to give birth in Israeli prison “hospital” while they were handcuffed and tied to the beds such as Intisar Al-Qaq, Majida Salaymeh, Umaymah Al-Agha, Samiha Hamdan, Mirvat Taha, Manal Ghanim, Samar Sbeih and Fatima Az-Ziq. They didn’t get appropriate medical care before, during or after giving birth and weren’t allowed to have family members by their side while in prison hospital. During 66 days of interrogation, Samar Sbeih who was pregnant, was threatened with abortion, and when she was transferred to hospital to deliver her baby, she was hand and leg cuffed

Another form of punishing Palestinian political prisoners is isolation, which is used to undermine and break the will of the prisoners. Being locked up in isolation cells constitutes not only physical and physiological torture but also a death sentence, where prisoners are left to die a silent death. Some political prisoners are transferred to isolation cells immediately after the end of their interrogation, others are punished with isolation for protesting Israeli inhumane treatment, for demanding their rights, for being political leaders or for no reason other than persecution and harassment. Justifications provided range from “causing a threat”, “being dangerous” to having “influence” on other prisoners. Usually isolation orders are extended without reason and prisoners who are placed in isolation remain so for many years and have no access to other prisoners, no contact with the outside world. There are two types of isolation: Individual isolation where one prisoner is locked up alone in a cell, and dual isolation where two prisoners share a small cell. Every 6 months or every year, depending on the type of their isolation, isolated prisoner go through mock trials which always end with the extension of the prisoner’s isolation without reason. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club describes “a phony court where the prisoner is taken every six months and in the event of their being two prisoners they are taken to it once a year. This court obeys the Israeli intelligence court orders “Al-Shabak” and the prisons administration “Al-Shabas”, and often requires the extension of the period that the prisoner is in isolation without giving reasons for it, and it also lacks the bare images and elements of a fair trial.”[2]

Isolation cells have an area of only 1.8m x 2.7m, including the WC. These cells are damp, badly ventilated. They have an iron door that is fitted with an opening for passing food to the prisoner and one small window close to the ceiling causing high humidity. Neither fresh air nor natural light enter the isolation cells. Prisoners are expected to live, cook, sleep, shower and excrete in these cells. There is almost no room for movement and little space for personal items.

Some Palestinian female detainees were subjected to solitary confinement more than once such as Latifa Abu Thra’, Abeer Amro, Abeer Odeh, Amna Muna, Nisreen Abu Zeinah, Su’ad Nazzal, Wafa’ Il-Bis and Mariam Tarabeen. On 11.03.2003 six Palestinian female prisoners were punished by the Israeli prison authority with solitary confinement because they demanded the prison authority provide them with hot water for bathing during the cold season. Latifa Abu Thra’ was isolated more than once after she was “declared” in 2007 by the Israeli prison authority as “dangerous to the security of the state of Israel”. She suffers from fibers in the uterus and was supposed to conduct medical tests at Tel Hashomer hospital, but because her hands and feet were chained, the nurse was unable to conduct the tests. After the accompanying policewomen refused to unchain her arms, Abu Thra’ unchained herself, upon which she was attacked by the prison guards and “declared” as “dangerous”. She was further punished with solitary confinement for two months and ten days in Ramleh prison, after which she was returned to HaSharon prison and was isolated there. She didn’t get any medical treatment. On another occasion, Abu Thra’ saw the Israeli special forces for the “suppression of prisoners” beat prisoner Sanabil Breek from Nablus. When Abu Thra’ told them to stop beating Breek, the special forces started beating her as well. She defended herself and hit one of them back and was punished with isolation for 4 months in Ramleh prison and a further 2 months of isolation in HaSharon in a tiny cell with cameras observing her 24 hours. Wafa’ Il-Bis spent 7 months in isolation in Ramleh prison, thenwas isolated in Damon, then in Ramleh isolation cell again. Amna Muna was not only deprived of family visits as punishment, but was also placed in isolation for 2 years in Ramleh prison. She was imprisoned together with Israeli criminals who often assaulted her in front of the jailors and she was tied to a bed for days. Ahlam At-Tamimi was isolated as a punishment for writing the names of all Palestinian female prisoners on a piece of paper for her lawyer during a visit.

The Zionist entity uses torture systematically against Palestinian prisoners, including women and children. According to a 2005 report of B’Tselem, 85% of the Palestinian detainees have been subjected to torture: “Since 1987, the GSS (Israeli General Security Service) interrogated at least 850 Palestinians a year by means of torture …. (a)ll governmental authorities – from the Israeli army to the Supreme court – take part in approving torture, in developing new methods, and in supervising them.”[3] Confessions extracted under torture are admissible in Israeli courts, and Israeli interrogators use over 80 methods of physical and psychological torture, including severe beating, shackling, depriving the detainees of sleep, burning detainees with cigarettes, removing their nails, shabih, freezing or boiling baths, standing for long hours, sexual harassment. Torture used during interrogation has led to the death of at least 70 Palestinian detainees. Palestinian female detainee Nili As-Safadi was locked up in an isolation cell for more than 45 days in Israeli detention center Bet Hatikva. The cell was dark, she didn’t get any proper food and wasn’t allowed to change her clothes for the length of her isolation. During the interrogation she was subjected to all forms of physical and psychological torture to force her into confessing. When she didn’t confess, her entire family and the family of her husband were detained. Later she was transferred to HaSharon prison in a journey that lasted 12 hours with her hands and legs bound and she wasn’t given any food or water. Iman Badir Ikhlayyil, 33 years old from Beit Ummar, was kidnapped at an Israeli military checkpoint on 20.06.2010. She was tortured by the Israeli soldiers during the interrogation and had to be transferred to hospital twice.

Former Palestinian detainee Maha Awwad described her time in the detention centre: she was kicked by one of the soldiers until she bled from her mouth, another soldier threatened her with rape, and when she asked for water to drink, a soldier urinated in a bottle and gave it to her. Iman Al-Akhras described how during interrogation she was tied to a chair and was not allowed to eat, drink, go to the bathroom or sleep for 3 days. After her release, former Palestinian prisoner Raja’ Al-Ghoul described her captivity in Israeli dungeons. She was kidnapped in the middle of the night from her home, was handcuffed and taken to Jalameh prison. Al-Ghoul was made to sit on a chair for a whole day with her hands tied behind her and was threatened with torture and the arrest of her husband to force confessions out of her, which she refused. During the 25 days of interrogation she refused food and only drank water, and on the last day of interrogation she was placed in a very cold room, with one stone bed and a very stinky mattress. Al-Ghoul was told by the interrogators that she is to spend her detention time in that cold cell as punishment for not talking. When she still refused to talk, Al-Ghoul was transferred to a cell of Israeli criminal prisoners where she continued her strike and refused to take her heart medicine. Upon the deterioration of her health, the Israeli prison authority was forced to transfer her to section 11 of the Tal Mond prison (for political prisoners). Al-Ghoul further described the suffering of Palestinian female prisoners when transported to court for a hearing or to the Ramleh prison “hospital”: Palestinian prisoners are transported at 3 am and sometimes the transport can last hours, even days. On the way, the prisoners are often mistreated by Israeli special forces in all possible ways such as withholding food, water for long periods of time, beating the prisoners and insulting them. Before the court session begins, prisoners are locked up in cold small cells without any food or water, and after the short session which often lasts no longer than 15 minutes, all prisoners are gathered in a cell till 7 pm when the return journey begins.

Palestinian political prisoners often protest their illegal detention, the inhumane conditions in Israeli dungeons, their baseless punishments, isolation and ill treatment and harassments. A hunger strike is a legitimate form of resistance and protest used by Palestinian prisoners in the fight for their rights. While some hunger strikes are open-ended and last until the prisoners’ demands are met, others are one-day hunger strikes to protest a certain policy or show solidarity with other political prisoners.

There are general hunger strikes, where all prisoners in all Israeli jails take part, and partial hunger strikes where Palestinian prisoners in a particular Israeli prison declare a hunger strike to protest ill-treatment at that particular prison. Palestinian female prisoners have either joined their comrades in hunger strikes or organized their own hunger strikes (Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike: Defeating Oppression, Liberating Palestine).

Currently, 28 year old Palestinian female political prisoner Hana’ Ash-Shalabi is on her 21st day of an open-ended hunger strike in the HaSharon prison. Hana’ was kidnapped from her home in Burqin, Jenin on 16.02.2012 and has been ordered in administrative detention for 6 months. After two and a half years in administrative detention, which is detention without trial or charge, Hana’ was released in October 2011 in the latest prisoner exchange deal, to be kidnapped from her home again less than 4 months later. Despite her deteriorating health, she is determined to continue the hunger strike in protest against her illegal detention and to demand an end to the policy of administrative detention. Israeli military orders empower the IOF to illegally detain Palestinians for up to 6 months, without charge or trial, which can be extended indefinitely. Over the years, thousands of Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for periods ranging from 6 months to over 8 years, without being tried or charged.

Currently, there are over 4600 Palestinians held captive in Israeli dungeons and detention centres, including11 women (including 3 women detained in the last two days), 145 children and 309 administrative detainees. Palestinian female prisoners currently held captive by the Zionist entity include:
1. Lina Ahmad Al-Jarbouni, from Arrabet Al-Batouf, Al-Jalil, in Israeli captivity since 15.04.2002.
2. Woroud Mahir Qasim, from At-Tira, Al-Muthallath, in Israeli captivity since 04.10.2006.
3. Salwa Abdel-Aziz Hassan, 52 years old from Hebron, in Israeli captivity since 19.10.2011.
4. Ala’ Al-Ju’ba, a minor from Hebron, in Israeli captivity 07.12.2011.
5. Saja Al-Alami, 18 years old from Beitunia, Ramallah, in Israeli captivity since 09.01.2012.
6. Hana’ Ash-Shalabi, 28 years old, from Burqin, Jenin, in Israeli captivity since 16.02.2012
7. Mufiqa Mohammad Al-Qawasmi, in Israeli captivity since 22.02.2012 (while visiting her imprisoned husband)
8. Muna Subhi Abu Sneineh, from Hebron, in Israeli captivity since 22.02.2012 (while visiting her imprisoned husband)
9. Diala Mustafa Thura, 26 years old, in Israeli captivity since 04.03.2012 (while visiting her imprisoned brother)
10. Yusra Adel Qa’dan, 30 years old, in Israeli captivity since 04.03.2012 (while visiting her imprisoned brother)
11. Manal Nawwaf Al-Jada’, 32 years old from Habla, Qalqilya, in Israeli captivity since 06.03.2012.
In addition, the Zionist entity still holds the bodies of 7 Palestinian female martyrs in captivity:
1 Dalal Said Mohammad Al-Mughrabi, killed on 11.03.1978.
2 Darin Abu Eisheh, from Jenin, killed on 17.02.2002.
3 Zeinab Isa Abu Aalim, from Askar refugee camp, Nablus, killed on 22.04.2004.
4 Hanadi Tayseer Abdel Malik, from Jenin, killed on 04.10.2003.
5 Wafa‘ Ali Khalil Idris, from Al-‘Am’ari refugee camp, Ramallah, killed 21.01.2002.
6 Ayat Mohammad Lutfi Al-Akhras, from Dheisheh refugee camp, Bethlehem, killed on 29.03.2002.
7 Hiba Azim Daraghmeh, from Toubas, killed on 19.05.2003.
On International Women’s Day, freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners, freedom for Palestinian political prisoners defying death in Zionist dungeons and freedom for Palestinian martyrs defying injustice in secret graves and Israeli morgues.
On International Women’s Day, freedom for all Palestinian women.
On International Women’s Day, freedom for Palestine from the River to the Sea.
[1] http://www.waed.ps/en/#
[2] http://www.ppsmo.org
[3] http://www.theheadlines.org/05/11-03-05.shtml
More on Palestinian female political prisoners:
Palestinian Female Prisoners and the Struggle for Freedom
On International Women’s Day: Remember Palestinian Female Prisoners
Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike: Defeating Oppression, Liberating Palestine
Hana‘ Ash-Shalabi; A Struggle Against Administrative Detention
Video: Palestinian Prisoners of Freedom

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Prisoner Exchange Exposes Palestinian Authority

Palestinians from the Gaza Strip celebrate the release of hundreds of prisoners following a swap with captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on 18 October 2011 in Gaza City. Crowds of Palestinians, many of them overwhelmed and in tears, welcomed home hundreds of freed detainees in the West Bank and Gaza, under a landmark prisoner exchange deal with Israel. (Photo: AFP – Alessio Romenzi)
Published Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The prisoner exchange deal was a major achievement for Hamas and a great step forward for the Palestinian people, particularly the prisoner’s movement.
Hamas earned respect and credibility for its management of a very complex issue. In particular, the entire operation was played out on Palestinian land and largely handled in Palestine for five years, under complicated and dangerous circumstances.
The exchange brought joy to the lives of prisoners, their families, and all Palestinians living in Palestine and abroad. It was a joy combined with honor, dignity, and the promising spirit of victory.
Veteran prisoners who were not included in the agreement have endured, along with their families, untold pain and suffering. The released prisoners and all the Palestinian people sympathize with them and understand these feelings.  
 Mazin Qumsiyeh: Kudos Mr. Abbas‏,
 “But there are still thousands of Palestinian prisoners”.
I am not on the boats to Gaza‏ 
It is important to highlight, however, that the continued suffering of the remaining prisoners is not caused by the prisoner exchange deal, but rather in spite of it. It is caused by a lack of a Palestinian vision for liberation that is tangible and ripe for the moment.
The idea that postponing the prisoner swap could have improved the terms of the deal is simply not true. On the contrary, delays could have jeopardized the agreement entirely. Such deals are done when the timing is right. They cannot be rushed, postponed, or determined beforehand.
The swap exposed a Palestinian leadership in the West Bank that does not hold much promise, as it has no real vision or project for liberating the rest of the political prisoners.
The prisoner swap deal, or any deal of that sort, is not without its limits. One should not expect a deal to liberate all 6,000 prisoners languishing in Israeli jails. We should evaluate Hamas’ success or failure based on the following question: did the movement exhaust all its capabilities before signing off on the deal? The answer is a definite yes.
For the deal, as it was achieved, is the outcome of certain power dynamics, and approving it was a legitimate and appropriate action. In the history of all struggles and liberation movements, even among the victorious, there are losses and victims. That does not make the victory any less significant.  
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh emphasized an important point in his liberation speech in Gaza.
“The borders of historic Palestine — Gaza, the West Bank, and the 1948 areas — are the borders of the prisoner exchange deal.
A freed Palestinian prisoner (R) is greeted by senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) upon arrival at the Rafah crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip October 18, 2011. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, freed after five years of captivity.   UPI/Ismael Mohamad
“With resistance we liberated Gaza. We liberated the land and the people,” he said.
Indeed, as Haniyeh claimed, resistance achieved what no other track, such as negotiations, was able to achieve or even come close to achieving.
Palestinian Reality
In addition to liberating the prisoners and their families from the burden and suffering of imprisonment, the exchange represents another important development. The swap exposed a Palestinian leadership in the West Bank that does not hold much promise, as it has no real vision or project for liberating the rest of the political prisoners.
It is no longer acceptable to postpone the issue of prisoners or give priority to other issues, as is the case with the Palestinian Authority’s pointless negotiations
It is no secret that this leadership is under the illusion that progress is possible without resistance, that it will come about as a gesture of good faith on the part of Israel. The history of the struggle with Israel, however, has taught us that the Zionist state will not hesitate to commit any crime against the Palestinians, unless it is unable to do so or pay the price. The prisoners will not be liberated by laws, courts, mercy, or futile negotiations.
The prisoner exchange deal has created a new margin of freedom for Palestinians and an atmosphere of national reconciliation. It has also rehabilitated a supporting Arab role that had been suppressed by peace agreements from Camp David to Oslo to the so called Arab Peace Initiative.
It has restored the value of resistance and the prospects of liberation, reaffirming that what was taken by force can only be restored by force; what was taken by occupation can only be restored by liberation; and what was taken by dispossession can only be restored by return.
Hamas’ insistence on the inclusion of Palestinian prisoners living in the 1948 lands is a strategic accomplishment. It is not the first exchange, historically speaking, to include prisoners from that part of historic Palestine. It is, however, the first deal since the Oslo Accords to do so, setting a precedent for the future.
The deal also revealed the strategic role that the new Egypt can play in liberating prisoners and restoring Palestinian rights, if the political will is there.
Hamas was able to take advantage of Israeli public opinion, which pressured the Israeli government for the return of the imprisoned Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. It withstood Israel’s repressive escalation against it, against the prisoners movement, and against Gaza.
After this deal, the people now expect any action by the Palestinian leadership on the prisoners issue to be connected to the question of their release. The goal is to liberate the prisoners and not merely to improve the conditions of their imprisonment.
It is no longer acceptable to postpone the issue of prisoners or give priority to other issues, as is the case with the Palestinian Authority’s pointless negotiations, conditioned as they are on freezing settlement expansion. The framework around the issue of political prisoners, namely that there will be no final peace agreement without the release of all prisoners, is practically a deferment strategy. But Palestinians do not want this issue deferred as the recent exchange has presented a pressing opportunity.
Israel is taking precautions to prevent the capture of its soldiers and create a deterrent policy that includes liquidating Palestinian leaders, tightening their grip on prisoners, and using intelligence and technological assets. These methods, however, have been tried, while the Palestinian people have remained undeterred.
Nevertheless, one should not underestimate Israeli plans, and there is a need to develop a Palestinian strategy which minimizes the price paid in struggle while maximizing the benefits. This requires Palestinian preparedness. There is also pressing need for a supportive Arab contingent and for investment in Turkey’s role. Since both Egypt and Turkey desire regional power status, they can help foster, along with popular Palestinian, Arab, and international solidarity movements, a safety zone that could deter Israel, liberate political prisoners, and restore Palestinian rights.
This article is co-published by The Electronic Intifida and translated from Arabic.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Aruri: Nine women will be freed soon from Israeli jails

[ 20/10/2011 – 10:00 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)– Senior Hamas official in charge of prisoners’ file Salah Al-Aruri said the remaining nine female prisoners would be freed from Israeli jails within days.

“According to the pledges made by our Egyptian brothers, the nine female prisoners will be released within days and ahead of the second stage of the deal,” Aruri told the Palestinian information center (PIC) on Wednesday.
The Hamas official also told the PIC, commenting on Israel’s threat to harm the freed Palestinian prisoners, that there was no guarantee that Israel would not attack or recapture those prisoners in particular.
“The only guarantees we have is to respond to any aggression [by Israel]. We did not get a signature or pledge that there would be no assault on the prisoners released,” the official added.
He also warned the Israeli occupation that the Palestinian resistance has the right to resort to all means in order to release more prisoners from its jails.

“There must be no red lines for the release of our prisoners from the occupation’s jails.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

477 freedom-fighters released and the struggle continues

October 18, 2011 -11:58 PM
October 18, is a milestone in the history of Palestine and the region. The date of the release of 450 Palestinian prisoners including 27 female prisoners, the first step of the exchange agreement between the resistances, represented by al-Qassam Brigades, and the Zionist entity. Within two months under the terms of the agreement, supervised by the Egyptian security services,the second stage will see the release of 550 other prisoners.

This October 18th is also a milestone in the history of the national movement of prisoners, although this is not the first time an exchange takes place to release Palestinian and Arab prisoners in exchange for Zionist soldiers. However, this is the very first time a Zionist soldier is kidnapped captured on occupied Palestine land, and the first time a Zionist is held hostage by the Palestinian resistance during a period of over five years, in total secrecy, defeating the Zionist intelligence services, the east and the west and their collaborators.

It is also the first time since the Oslo accords, political prisoners of the city of al-Quds and the occupied lands of 48 are included in an exchange agreement. Having had our say; that Isma’il Haniyyé, the acting Prime Minister in Gaza,- is representing the front-line borders of Palestine.- and – For the first time so many fighters lives are rescued.! – During his first press conference, Khaled Meshaal declared that – “ the exchange agreement with the Zionist entity was a great and historic achievement.” – These public appearances actually, despite the judgments, justified or not, “rocketed” immediately after announcement of its details.

On October 18, 2011 we experienced the release of 477 combatants, members of the Palestinian resistance, who for their most part today,wish for a return to the fields of armed struggle, a selfless course aimed at improving the quality of their people’s life. In a tireless strive against the colonial administration; the Palestinian armed resistance has served their time as political prisoners.

Sent to five lifetime sentence’s, released on October 18 were 310 political prisoners, including female combatants, in exchange for one Zionist soldier The exchange agreement, which overhauled the claims of the resistance in broad outline, despite of its shortcomings, is a victory of the resistance, which reflects a balance of force on the ground. More than 100 prisoners from the West Bank city of al-Quds are released to Gaza, and 40 prisoners, including 25 of al-Quds, are deported to the Arab and Islamic countries ( Syria, Qatar and Turkey). Several leaders of the resistance are still prisoners, including Hamas movement, the Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and the PFLP … and many prisoners are still detained, including three in (48), of the occupied territories. These are items that somewhat has tarnished the joy and the rejoicing of the Palestinian people,wherever they are.
Following the issuance of the Zionist soldier, who in an interview on Egyptian television acknowledged that he had been well treated, and that he wished for the release of all Palestinian prisoners. A key-word is repeated by several Palestinian organizations, meaning the need to kidnap Zionist soldiers to exchange them for the liberation of 5000 and more prisoners, (not included are the 550 fighters to be released within two months.) The exchange agreement proved to the Palestinian people, the Arab and Islamic people, even to the rest of the world; that only resistance is able to free their freedom fighters. According to the criteria of resistance, exchange agreement alone, can not liberate such a great number of combatants.
It is true that the acting Palestinian President of Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas, hosted prisoners return to Ramallah, which in regard, Na’ila Barghouty and Fakhry Barghouty,said: -” A deal to release many prisoners, is the very next issue with the Zionist state” Wait and see, since it seems to be an interesting case, which will become a priority in the formation of a Palestinian state – within the 1967 borders. However, it is important to note that its security services, many fighters of Islamic Jihad and the Hamas Movement are still captive in the prisons of the West Bank.


To the successful exchange agreement between the Palestinian resistance and the Zionist entity – the release of 477 Palestinian soldiers and combatants, and moreover, the pending parole of 550 prisoners, in regards to security, we must dedicate the great victory to the Palestinian resistance. During five long years of obstructed justice, besieged, bombarded with missiles from dawn to sunset, yet, still no intelligence – service in the world have been able to determine the whereabouts of a soldier held captive in an geographic area as tiny as the Gaza Strip. If the Zionists were capable of murdering the Palestinian envoy, Mahmoud Mabhouh and the Lebanese commander Hajj ‘Imad Moghnieh in countries where the resistance does not control all the data.

Hamas security men keep watch as a bus c In Gaza the Zionists entity were unable to infiltrate the resistance, whom today have gained an even greater control over their land.

Today, liberation fighters in Zionist prisons crown the years of sacrifice of a population, which has suffered from two bloody wars, air strikes, blockades, destruction and threat of annihilation. But their injuries will heal, by time their injuries will heal. The Palestinian people never exerted pressure on the leaders of the resistance to release the abducted Zionist soldier. On the contrary, the Palestinian people have
despite unmeasurable hardship carried through and patiently waited, with faith in Gods will, in the cause of his people and his prisoners. With the support of its people, resisted all international pressure. The victory of the Palestinian resistance is the victory of Gaza, for all that of the great Palestinians who refused to comply and submit to normalization with the Zionist occupant.

Finally, the comparison between the conditions of a Zionist soldier, detained by Palestinian freedom fighters, accentuates a particularly significant detail, as it is stated by the leaders of Hamas; that is, the difference between Islamic moral – the humanity of the Palestinians resistance, and the immorality of the criminal Zionists occupation of Palestine. The killing, the racial extermination, the nauseating and humiliation of prisoners in Zionist detention – centers. In their prisons, the Zionist fixed intentions are to destroy the will of the Palestinian prisoner, the Palestinian distinctive traits of mind and prominence. Yet, contrary to expectation, they have failed. Today, the will of Palestinian prisoners whom were freed from Zionist prisons, have proved ability to withstand great suffering and provocations. Palestinian political prisoners were stronger than their jailers, the Zionist entity and its institutions.These men, and women are true freedom fighters!
On Tuesday, Hamas media office in the southern town of Gaza, Khan Younis, released the names of 16 Palestinian prisoners freed by the Zionist entity in the exchange deal with the Palestinian resistance.

1. Taleeb Ibrahim Abu Mustafa
2. Ibrahim Mohammad Shabaan Ibrahim al-Hindi
3. Ismael Mousa Hussein Bakheet
4. Akram Abdul-Rahman Salameh
5. Hani Mohammad Salman Abu Setaah
6. Muunes Ahmad Hussein al-Aqaad
7. Abdul-Aziz Mohammad Abdul Aziz Masri
8. Imad Al-Deen Atta Qasem Zoroub
9. Fareed Mohammad Mahmoud Qaisi
10. Nasser Yousef Mahmoud Fadi “al-Qadi”
11. Yahia Ibrahim Hassan Al-Sinwar
12. Ihab Hasheem Mohammad Qenen
13. Ahmad Salman Ahmad al-Fajjam
14. Salam Hassan Khalil Shab
15. Alian Abdul-Kareem Salameh al-Zir
16. Mustafa Ali Hussein Ramadan

“Palestine is the heart of Arab countries” – The PalestineFreeVoice

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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