17th December 2013 | Resistenza Quotidiana, Silvia Todeschini | Gaza, Occupied Palestine
Every Monday, activists and relatives of political prisoners in Israeli jails attend a solidarity sit-in inside the courtyard of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza. The perseverance of these women and men, who have met here every week for eighteen years, is admirable, but this Monday was animated by a special hope.
Um Rami is waving a small Palestinian flag and holding a sign with a picture of a teenager. The teenager is Rami, her son. He was taken by the Zionist occupation forces 20 years ago, when he was 15 and a half years old, before the Oslo accords. After the prisoner exchange for Shalit, she was able to visit him in prison four times. Before, for twelve years, she had been forbidden to see him.
“He was a child,” she said. “They should not give them all these years. The judge was unfair! I had three other children after his arrest. None of them has been able to meet him in person. My daughter got married, had children, and even they have never met their uncle.”
According to Um Rami, he was arrested on the street near the illegal settlement of Kfar Darom. Two military jeeps stopped his car, took him, tied his wrists, blindfolded him and took him inside the colony. They sentenced him to life imprisonment on charges of stabbing a soldier of the Zionist occupation forces. The same occupation forces killed two of his brothers, two other sons of Um Rami, but no one has been given a life sentence for this.
But this Monday, there was an atmosphere of hope.
Um Rami is confident that her son will be released in a week, with the third group of Palestinian political prisoners Israel has agreed to free. Despite the accompanying expansion of settlements, and the fact that they should have been released years ago according to the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, this is good news for Um Rami.
“When the other two groups of prisoners were released, both times, a few days before, the neighbors told me that my son was on the list,” she said. “When the news turned out to be false, I fainted from sorrow.”
“But I went to the Erez to greet the freed prisoners, to bring solidarity to them and their families.”
Um Rami is active in the campaign for the release of Palestinian political prisoners. She participated in solidarity visits to the families of prisoners, was present at meetings of the UN to defend the prisoners’ cause, is also in contact with human rights centers.
Um Dia’a hopes that her son Dia’a will be released with the next group of prisoners. She does not know whether or not he is on the list, but, she says, he was arrested before many that have already been released, so he should be.
“My son was hiding in his sister’s house, but a spy told it to the occupation forces, so they surrounded the house,: she said. “They ransacked it, found him and took him away before they beat daughter’s family because they were hiding him.”
Dia’a was 16 years and 4 months old when he was detained 22 years ago. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. For seven years before Slahit exchange, his mother could not see him. After the exchange, Um Dia’a says she was only allowed to visit him three times.”In the meantime, I became the grandmother of 45 grandchildren,” she says. ”None of them has ever been able to see his uncle.”
According to current agreements, the Zionist entity should release 104 prisoners detained before the Oslo Accords . The first two groups were released on August 13 and October 30. While these prisoners have been freed, dozens more were arrested. 4,996 currently remain in prison.
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are political prisoners because they are “guilty” of resistance against the occupation.
Their transfer from the Gaza Strip or West Bank to Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 violates the fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids the occupying power from transferring persons out of an occupied territory.
145 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails held in administrative detention, without notification of any charges. Administrative detention orders are issued by Zionist military commanders for a period of six months, but may be renewed for an indefinite number of times.
Inside Israeli jails, torture is routinely practiced torture, children are detained, and family visits are often prevented.