Palestinian Female Prisoners and the Struggle for Freedom

Palestinian women have always stood side by side with their fathers, brothers, husbands, comrades to resist the Zionist occupation, to fight for freedom and legitimate rights. They are the first to go to the streets to protest the brutality of the Israeli military occupation, the first to organize sit-ins and marches demanding the release of their children, brothers and fathers from Israeli prisons. They are the protectors, the supporters, but most of all they are the comrades in the fight for a free Palestine. They protect their children, fathers, brothers and husbands from the Zionist invader come to kidnap, beat or kill. They support their families when their fathers, brothers or husbands are imprisoned or killed by the Israeli terrorist troops. They embrace the land and kiss the olive tree. They pave the way for resistance and shape it with their blood. They are the olive tree steadfast in the face of usurpers in Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem and Al-Jalil. They are the poppy decorating Palestinian hilltops in Jerusalem, Hebron and Safad. They are the butterflies kissing the fields of Hebron, Jenin and Bisan. They are the fresh breeze of Haifa, Yaffa, Acca and Gaza. They are the stone, powerful, strong and only taking leave of the soil to hit the usurper in the face. They are the daughters of Palestine; fearless, steadfast, patient. They are the mother, the sister, the daughter and the comrade of the martyr, the freedom-fighter and the prisoner. They are the martyr, the freedom-fighter and the prisoner. They are the guardians of the revolution and the symbol of steadfastness. They are Palestine embracing its children, protecting them and leading them. Since 1967 more than 800,000 Palestinians, including 15,000 Palestinian women, were detained by the Zionist entity. During the First Intifada 3000 women were detained and during Al-Aqsa Intifada more than 900 women were locked up behind Israeli bars. There are daily raids and detentions. Sometimes the detained are released after a few days, after a few weeks or remain in detention indefinitely. Alone in June 2010 some 334 Palestinians were detained, including 4 women. Currently, there are 36 Palestinian female prisoners in the Israeli prisons Damon, HaSharon and Neve Tirza: 4 from Jerusalem, 3 from the Palestinian area occupied in 1948, 28 from the West Bank and 1 from the Gaza Strip. 6 of the prisoners await trial, 3 are administrative detainees, 27 are sentenced; of whom 5 are serving life sentences.

Palestinian female detainees, like their brothers in detention, suffer from the brutality of the Israeli Prison Authority. They are exposed to abuse, humiliation and are subjected to more than 20 forms of violations. They are tortured, beaten, harassed, insulted, tied up for hours under hot sun or under rain, deprived of sleep, isolated, punished with high fines for no reason, subjected to the continuous use of tear gas in their cells, continuously denied family visits and calls back home and letters are sent or distributed only once every 3 months. They are also subjected to harsh and humiliating midnight raids and body searches. On 24.06.2010 Israeli special forces (Golan) 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. Also, Israeli prison authority prevents Palestinian female prisoners from acquiring more than one book, doesn’t allow them to send out or get in any embroidery work or magazines and decides the number of clothing pieces each prisoner is allowed to posses. The cells are small, over-crowded, damp, lack hygiene, no sun or fresh air enters them and they are infested with insects and mice. They are cold in winter and hot in summer. Because Palestinian female prisoners aren’t allowed to receive any items from their families, they are forced to buy what they need from the prison canteens. 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. Not only are the prices there extremely high, the canteen also lacks many items Palestinian prisoners need. Some political prisoners are also locked up with Israeli criminals who abuse them regularly while Israeli prison forces watch. One method of punishment favoured by Israeli prison forces is reducing family visitation from 45 minutes to 15 minutes, or cancelling all visitations despite the hardships the families endure to reach the prisons. Du’a’ Al-Jayyousi from Tulkarim was detained in 2002. Her only brother isn’t allowed to visit her, and when he got married, the prison authority refused to allow her to phone him.

Main problem facing female detainees is isolation and medical negligence. They are punished for the slightest thing with isolation and some prisoners were subjected to solitary confinement more than once such as Latifa Abu Thra’, Abeer Amro, Abeer Odeh, Amnah Muna and Mariam Tarabeen. On 11.3.02003 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 “announced” in 2007by 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 “announced” as “dangerous”. She was further punished with solitary confinement for two months and ten days in Ramle prison, after which she was returned to Hasharon prison and isolated there. She didn’t get any medical treatment. On another occasion, Abu Thra’ saw the Israeli special forces for “Suppression of prisoners” beat prisoner Sanabil Breek from Nablus. When Abu Thra’ told them to stop beating Breek, the special forces started beating her. She defended herself and hit one of them back. She 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. 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.

Like all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli dungeons, Palestinian female prisoners in need of medical treatment are denied appropriate and much needed medical care. There is constant delay in providing treatment. Female detainees are only allowed to see a general doctor and no specialists, and often only when their condition deteriorates. In cases when human rights organizations send a doctor to examine a sick detainee, the Israeli prison authority delays given the needed permission by placing obstacles. The detainee 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 detainee 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 detainee. In case the doctor is allowed to examine the detainee, he/she is not allowed to issue any medical prescriptions. Palestinian female detainees are also blackmailed by the Israeli prison authority, for example they demanded that Amnah Muna, who is need of an operation, sign a document in which she refuses medical treatment in return for not being isolated. Amal Jum’a, from Askar refugee camp, 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] When she finally underwent a surgery in prison hospital to remove her uterus, a Palestinian prison association sent her a private doctor because she received little medical attention from the Israeli prison authority. Palestinian female detainees have also to endure giving birth in inhumane conditions. Alone during Al-Aqsa Intifada no less than 4 Palestinian women were forced to give birth in Israeli prison hospital while their hands and legs were cuffed such as Mirvat Taha, Manal Ghanim, Samar Sbeih and Fatima Az-Ziq. They didn’t get appropriate medical care before, during and after giving birth and weren’t allowed to have family members by their side while in prison hospital. Currently, at least 14 Palestinian female prisoners are in urgent need of medical treatment:[2]
1 Abeer Amro, from Hebron, suffers from back pain, skin allergies and severe weight loss.
2Wurud Qasim, from At-Tira, suffers from inflammation of the tonsils.
3 Sumoud Karajeh, from Ramallah, suffers from severe tooth problems and pain.
4 Su’ad Nazzal, from Qalqilia, suffers from fractures in the jaw and gum inflammations.
5Iman Ghazzawi, from Tulkarim, suffers from rheumatism, arthritis and allergies.
6 Latifa Abu Thra’, from Nablus, suffers from fibers in the uterus.
7 ‘Aisha ‘Ibayyat, from Bethlehem, needs a surgery in the jaw, suffers from inflammations in the ear nerve that threaten her hearing ability and pain in the backbone.
8 Wafa’ Al-Bis, from Gaza, suffers from burns in 50 % of her body.
9 Raja’ Al-Ghoul, from Jenin refugee camp, suffers from constraints in the heart arteries (causing heart and blood pressure problems) and difficulties in breathing
10 Amna Muna, from Jerusalem, suffers from back problems and needs an operation.
11 Abeer Odeh, from Tulkarim, suffers from pains in the chest.
12 Alia Al-Muhtasib, from Hebron, suffers from bad health conditions.
13 Amal Jum’a, from ‘Askar refugee camp, suffers from uterine cancer.
14 Kifah Jibril, from Ramallah, suffers from a rare disease which causes narrow arteries and prevents blood flow to the limbs causing breathing difficulties. She is need of constant medical care.

The Zionist entity imprisons Palestinian mothers, sisters and daughters, tortures them to force their relatives to surrender themselves to the Israeli occupation army or to force their imprisoned relatives into confessing what they didn’t do. Fathiya Swees, 57 year old mother, was detained on19.07.2010. Her sister Ikhlas, the wife of a prisoner, was also summoned for interrogation. Upon her release on 01.08.2010, Swees 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. During the First and the Al-Aqsa Intifada, houses were often raided by the Israeli army and mothers and even grandmothers were beaten and dragged to detention centers. Palestinian mothers in Israeli jails are deprived of seeing family members as punishment. At least 7 Palestinian mothers are currently jailed by the Zionist entity:
1 Iman Ghazzawi, from Tulkarim, detained since 08.03.2001, mother of 2 (13 yrs)
2 Ibtisam Issawi, from Jabal Al-Mukabbir (West Sawahreh), detained since 24.10.2001, mother of 6 (15 years)
3 Ireena Sarahna, from Dheisheh refugee camp, detained since 23.05.2002, mother of 2 (life sentence)
4 Qahira As-Sa’di, from Jenin, detained since 30.05.2002, mother of 4 (3 times life sentence and 30 years)
5 Latifa Abu Thra’, from Nablus, detained since 12.09.2003, mother of 7 (25 yrs, in isolation)
6 Muntaha At-Tawil, from Ramallah, detained since 08.02.1010, mother of 4 (administrative detention)
7 Kifah Jibril, from Ramallah, detained since 01.08.2010, mother of 2 (administrative detention)

Other Palestinian female prisoners have their husbands or their brothers in Israeli prisons as well, but are not allowed to visit them:
Ireena Sarahna (1 life sentence) and her husband Ibrahim Sarahna (6 life sentences), they have 2 children.
Ahlam At-Tamimi (16 life sentences and 20 years) and her husband Nizar At-Tamimi (1 life sentence).
Iman Ghazzawi (sentenced 13 years) and her husband Shahir ‘Asha (sentenced 20 years), they have 2 children.
Nili As-Safadi and her husband ‘Ubada Bilal (sentenced 10 years and 6 months).
Fatin As-Saadi and her brother Shafi’ As-Saadi (sentenced 4 and half years).
Abeer Odeh has 3 brothers in Israeli detention: Siddiq in Ramleh prison hospital, Jasir and Saa’di.
‘Aisheh Ghneimat has 2 brothers in Israeli detention: Mohammad (sentenced 7 months) and Anas (administrative detainee).
Shireen Al-‘Isawi has 4 brothers in Israeli prisons.

Stories of the suffering of these prisoners, the brutal method of their detention, the physical and psychological torture during interrogation and the inhumane treatment they receive at the hands of jailors and Israeli criminal prisoners rarely make the headlines or even get mentioned outside occupied Palestine. Mostly, it is sites concerned with Palestinian prisoner issues that report such abuses and illegal detentions and follow them up. One example is Palestinian female lawyer Shireen Al-’Isawi from occupied Jerusalem who was detained on 21.04.2010. Palestinian prisoner committees say that Al-‘Isawi’s arrest is a pure act of revenge and punishment because of her activity in defending Palestinian and Arab detainees in Israeli detention. She works for the DCI (Defence for Children International / Palestine Section) which is a child rights organization, and she is specialized in following up cases of child detainees. She is also responsible for the cases of some Palestinian prisoner leaders and the files of Jordanian prisoners in Israeli jails. But despite lack of evidence and the inability of the intelligence to force her into confessing what she didn’t do, the Israeli prison authority still refuses to release Al-‘Isawi. In July 2010, it was reported that Al-‘Isawi was attacked in her cell by Israeli criminal prisoners while Israeli prison forces stood watching. At the moment she is in solitary confinement.
Iman Badir Ikhlayyil, 33 years old from Beit Ummar, was kidnapped at an Israeli military checkpoint on 20.06.2010, tortured by the Israeli soldiers during interrogations and had to be transferred to hospital twice. Because of her deteriorating health, Israeli occupation forces were forced to release her on bail.
Abeer Odeh from Tulkarim was kidnapped on 22.04.2006 and detained for 28 months, followed by administrative detention for 9 months. She was released early July 2009 and on 09.07.2009, while on her way to Tulkarim, Abeer was stopped at I’nab Israeli military checkpoint, pulled out of the car, searched while a dozen rifles were directed at her and then kidnapped at gun point. She is now in isolation behind Israeli bars.
Sanabil Breek from Nablus was taken to military court and was left hand- and foot-cuffed in a hot court cell from 8 am till 4 pm without water or food.
Rawan Hasan Thawabteh from Abu Dees was kidnapped from her home at midnight on 08.08.2010 and since then her family doesn’t know where she is or to which detention center she was taken, and despite all inquires of their lawyer, Israeli prison authorities refuse to tell where she is.

Palestinian female prisoners currently in Israeli prisons:
1 Amna Jawad Ali Muna, from Jerusalem, detained since 20.01.2001 (life sentence)
2 Abeer Isa Atef Amro, from Hebron, detained since 20.01.2001 (16 years)
3 Iman Mohammad Hasan Ghazzawi, from Tulkarim, detained since 08.03.2001, mother of 2 (13 years)
4 Ahlam Aref Shihadeh At-Tamimi, from Ramallah, detained since 14.09.2001 (16 life sentence and 6 years)
5 Ibtisam Abdel-Hafith Faiz Issawi, from Jabal Al-Mukabbir (West Sawahreh), detained since 24.10.2001, mother of 6 (15 years)
6 Lina Ahmad Saleh Jarbuni, from Hebron, detained since 18.04.2002 (17 years)
7 Sana’ Mohammad Hussein Shehadeh, from Qalandia, detained since 25.05.2002 (3 life sentences & 31 years)
8 Ireena Pauli Shuk Sarahna, from Dheisheh RC, detained since 23.05.2002, mother of 2 (life sentence)
9 Qahira Said Ali As-Sa’di, from Jenin, detained since 30.05.2002, mother of 4 (3 times life sentence and 30 years)
10 Du’a’ Ziad Jamil Al-Jayyousi, from Tulkarim, detained since 06.06.2002 (3 times life sentence and 30 years, in isolation)
11 Latifa Mohammad Mahmoud Abu Thra’, from Nablus, detained since 12.09.2003, mother of 7 (25 years, in isolation)
12 Rima Riyad Hasan Daraghmeh, from Jenin, detained since 28.07.2004 (25 years)
13 Amal Fayez Mahmoud Jum’a, from ‘Askar RC, detained since 05.09.2004 (sentenced 11 years)
14 Mariam Salem Suleiman Tarabeen, from Jericho, detained since 24.01.2005 (8 years and 6 months)
15 Wafa’ Samir Al-Bis, from Gaza, detained since 20.05.2005 (11 years, is in isolation)
16 Wurud Maher Qasim, from At-Tira, detained since 10.04.2006 (6 years)
17 Futna Mustafa Khalil Abu Al-Aish, from Nablus, detained since 21.07.2006 (15 years)
18 Nada Ata Saleh Derbas, from Jerusalem, detained since 01.05.2007 (4 years)
19 Fatin Bassam Shafi’ Al-Saadi, from Jenin, detained since 08.05.2008 (4 years)
20 Sanabil Nabigh Sleiman Breek, from Nablus, detained since 22.09.2008
21 Randa Mohammad Yousif Shahateet, from Hebron, detained since 03.01.2009 (4 years and 2 months)
22 Khadija Kayed Taha Abu Ayyash, from Nazareth, detained since 22.01.2009
23 Hana’ Yahya Saber Ash-Shalabi, from Jenin, detained since 14.03.2009 (administrative detention)
24 Raja’Nathmi Qasem Al-Ghoul, from Jenin RC, detained since 31.03.2009 (administrative detention)
25 Abeer Mahmoud Hassan Odeh, from Tulkarim, detained since 09.07.2009 (in isolation)
26 ‘Aisha Mohammad I‘bayyat, from Bethlehem, detained since 13.08.2009
27 Nisreen Atef Hassan Abu Zeinah, from Tulkarim, detained since 18.08.2009
28 Suad Ahmad Abdel-Ra’ouf Nazzal, from Qalqilya, detained since 22.08.2009
29 ‘Aisha Ghneimat, from Surif, detained since 02.09.2009
30 Sumoud Yaser Hasan Karajeh, from Ramallah, detained since 25.10.2009
31 Nili Zahi As’ad As-Safadi, from Nablus, detained since 11.11.2009
32 Muntaha Khlaid Rashid Al-Tawil, from Ramallah, detained since 08.02.1010, mother of 4 (administrative detention)
33 Shireen Tariq Al-‘Isawi, from Jerusalem, detained since 21.04.10, 2010 (in isolation)
34 Rawan Hasan Abdallah Thawabteh, from Abu Dees, detained since 08.08.2010
35 Alia Abdel Majid Al-Muhtasib, from Hebron, 12.03.2010, suffers from bad health conditions.
36 Kifah ‘Awni Jibril, from Ramallah, detained since 01.08.2010, mother of 2 (administrative detention)

Linan Yousif Abu Ghalmeh and her sister Taghreed, from Beit Fourik, were detained on 15.07.2010. It is not clear if they are still in detention or were released. Also today, 17.08.2010, Israeli occupation forces detained Ayat Nasir Abu Markhiyyeh from Hebron.

In addition to Palestinian female prisoner in Israeli jails, the Zionist entity imprisons the bodies of 7 Palestinian female martyrs:
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 Lutif Al-Akhras, from Dheisheh refugee camp, Bethlehem, killed on 29.03.2002
7 Hiba Azim Daraghmeh, from Toubas, killed on 19.05.2003

Ahlam Tamimi

Ahlam Tamimi

Amna Muna

Amna Muna

Amal Jum'a

Amal Jum'a

Du'a' Jayyousi

Du'a' Jayyousi

Ireena Sarahna

Ireena Sarahna

Sana' Shehadeh

Sana' Shehadeh

Raja' Al-Ghoul

Raja' Al-Ghoul

Qahira As-Saadi

Qahira As-Saadi

Shireen Issawi

Shireen Issawi

Abeer Odeh

Abeer Odeh

Nili As-Safadi

Nili As-Safadi

Wurud Qasim

Wurud Qasim

Wafa' Al-Bis

Wafa' Al-Bis

Sumoud Karajeh

Sumoud Karajeh

Ibtisam Issawi

Ibtisam Issawi

Kifah Jibril

Kifah Jibril


Footnotes:
[1] http://www.waed.ps/en/#
[2] Among other sources: http://www.alasra.ps/news.php?maa=View&id=11826

Sources:
http://www.ppsmo.ps
http://www.alasra.ps
http://www.sabiroon.org
http://www.wofpp.org
http://www.waed.ps

© https://avoicefrompalestine.wordpress.com

This entry was posted in Palestine, Palestinian Prisoners, Resistance and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Palestinian Female Prisoners and the Struggle for Freedom

  1. Dear Reham,

    Thanks a lot for this article and for the huge work you have done in researching, etc.

    It’s very important for us, pro-palestinian activists, to have such a file and to let people know what happens in the Zionist jails.

    I’m sure that one day, all these beautiful and brave women will be free, and Palestine will be free from the occupiers.

    I have translated your article in French, and i will post it tomorrow on the French ISM-website.

    Thanks a lot again,

    All the best to you,

    Mireille, Bordeaux
    ISM-France

    • Dear Mireille,
      Thank you for the support. It is important to keep reminding the world of the over 7000 Palestinian prisoners. There is no freedom without the freedom of every single Palestinian prisoner.

      Freedom for Palestine.

  2. Edurne says:

    The enemy of my enemy has a gun.
    When once called upon called timid she is now called a terrorist.
    When once she was quiet bullets speak….
    and if you want to know the truth about her, she who has the gun,
    the only thing she really knows about terrorism
    is related to the bullets and the overhead bombs directed at her people.

    (Poem by Salavdoran women)

    For all female Palestinian prisoners, and for my Basque people too.

  3. maram atallah says:

    Sanaa Shehadeh jayeenlekk!!!

  4. Pingback: On International Women’s Day, Palestinian Political Prisoners Remain the Spearhead of Resistance | My Palestine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s