“Today while we understand, appreciate and grasp the extreme
pressures the resistance in Palestine is being subjected to, both externally
and internally, we unite our voices and stand with theirs to say yes this
issue is worth that level of sacrifice, confrontation and steadiness for it
is a matter of principle and the issue of 10,000 detainees.” —Hezbollah
Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (June 30)
The extremely difficult situation of approximately 10,000 political
prisoners held in a constellation of Zionist prisons is central for understanding
the events unfolding in Occupied Palestine and Lebanon.
Most of the prisoners are Palestinian, while a smaller number are Lebanese
and Jordanian. They include men, women and children, and also elected officials.
Some have been jailed since the 1970s.
Their cause has resulted in numerous self-sacrificing actions by both Palestinian
and Lebanese militants. Over the years the prisoners have taken their own actions
to defend their dignity and their internationally recognized human rights.
The Salem detention camp is located near the West Bank city of Jenin. A lawyer
for the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS)—Mustafa Al Azmouty—reported
on June 13 that conditions were deteriorating.
“The detainees said they are punished any time they complain of mistreatment
and that soldiers have confined several detainees to solitary confinement without
apparent reasons,” he said, noting that, “The detainees also complained
that there is a shortage of food and that the food provided is often not very
good quality … The detainees added that soldiers repeatedly broke into
their rooms and attacked them without explanation.” (International Middle
East Media Center, June 14)
Mishkat Al Aseer is an organization that represents Palestinian prisoners and
exposes human rights violations. A lawyer from the organization, Dirar Moneer
Al Saady, was arrested in January and sent to Salem. He is still in prison.
According to his lawyer, Fareed Hawwash, “he was tortured during interrogation
and subjected to different sorts of humiliation and psychological pressures.”
(IMEMC, June 15)
Hawwash appealed to humanitarian, governmental and non-governmental organizations
to help get his client released. Hamas and Hezbollah responded to his call with
their recent actions and demands that Israel free its political prisoners.
Widespread prison abuse
Al Naqab prison is located in the southern Palestinian desert. According to
PPS, conditions at the prison contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention which
is concerned with the treatment of civilians in occupied lands and prohibits
Detainees there, “complain of screams, beatings, insults and verbal abuse.
Many prisoners are denied cigarettes and access to special diet foods, such
as low-sodium foods for prisoners with health problems. Prisoners also face
refusal to use the toilet.”(Palestine News Network, June 22)
The notorious Al Moskobiyya interrogation facility in Jerusalem is well known
to Palestinians. Jamil Hasan Mizhir, a 20-year-old from Ramallah, stated to
PPS in June that he was kicked and punched during interrogation and laser lights
were pointed at his eyes.
Another detainee, Ra’ed Ayid Al Aroury, was tied to a chair from morning
to night for 10 straight days.
News of the successful Hamas and Hezbollah military operations, which captured
prisoners of war, reached jubilant prisoners in the Zionist dungeons. Punitive
measures quickly followed.
At the Damoun and Shatta prisons, captors fired tear gas into the cells. In
response, 2,320 prisoners at Al Naqab held a one-day hunger strike on July 14.
(www.palestine-info.co.uk, July 14)
The prisoners at Shatta continued their hunger strike for four days.
Since 1948, tens of thousands of Palestinians have passed through Zionist prisons.
The struggle to liberate them is a just struggle. Their incarceration has been
a nightmare for their families and friends. Healthy young men and women have
been permanently scarred and disabled—physically and psychologically.
And many others—too many others for the Zionists—have become even
more committed to the struggle to liberate all of Palestine.
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