You go abroad to study or to work, you are disconnected from your family and loved ones and you count the days, day for day, hour for hour, minute for minute till the time when you return home and are reunited with your loved ones, when you see them again, hug them again. And while you are away, you fear something happening to them before your return, you fear that the time when they hugged you and kissed you goodbye might have been the last time you’d see them alive, you relive that moment over and over again and pray that they are safe every minute of the day. So, imagine spending 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 30 years in a prison cell. Imagine being locked up in a dungeon for a life time, for eternity, with little chance of ever leaving that dungeon. Imagine life passing by while you are still. Imagine not being allowed to see, talk to or hug the people you love; your family, friends and comrades, for long periods of time. Imagine your children growing up, your parents getting terminally ill or dying, your sibling getting married and you aren’t there for them, you aren’t there to share their joy or their pain, you aren’t there to hold their hands, you aren’t there to comfort them, you aren’t there to say your final farewells. Imagine being born, growing up, going to school, to the university, starting a new job, getting married, having children, watching them grow up and start a life of their own and in the mean time, while you live your life to the fullest, there is a person who is locked up in jail because he/she refused to accept the occupation and fought against the oppression of their people. No matter how hard we try to imagine such a situation, it is beyond our comprehension. This is why Palestinian prisoners and detainees locked up in Israeli dungeons are heroes. They are heroes kidnapped from the midst of their families and loved ones and locked up for refusing the humiliation and the oppression of the occupier, for daring to dream of a better day for their children and for fighting for their freedom and their legitimate rights. They are true heroes for enduring the torture that is systematic in Israeli jails, for surviving the inhumane conditions in which they are kept captive.
And among the over 7000 Palestinian heroes locked up by the most criminal, most immoral army in the world, there are little children, young women, mothers, fathers, grandfathers and patients whose only “crime” is an unending love for Palestine and a thirst for freedom. Among these thousands of Palestinian prisoners/detainees there is a small group, which grows with every month, of very courageous and patient prisoners. These prisoners have been locked up inside Zionist dungeons for over 25 years! They are truly the “Generals of Patience” and they endure this long and harsh captivity because the love of Palestine is strong in their heart and because the belief in the justice of their cause is as strong as the first day of imprisonment. The Zionist torture couldn’t break them and the Zionist dungeons couldn’t break them. According to “Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum” signed on 04.09.1999, all Palestinian prisoners/detainees arrested by Israel prior to 04.05.1994 shall be released, nevertheless, again confirming the futility of negotiations with the Zionist entity, Israel refuses to release these detainees and they are excluded from prisoner exchange deals. These dungeons are graves for the living, prisons spent more inside them than outside them. Some spent their youth in Zionist dungeons; Palestinian children tortured by Zionist terrorists and tried as adults, and held captives indefinitely. They were robbed of their childhood by Zionists who had destroyed their homes, killed their friends and threatened their families. Some left their children as babies behind to hug them later in jail cell or talk to them behind bars as grown up men and women. They were deprived of seeing their children grow up, deprived of holding them, playing with them, taking them to school, talking with them, quarrelling with them, celebrating with them, crying with them. Some left their parents and siblings behind, their parents punished and their homes demolished. They were deprived of the morning talk with their mother, deprived of working the land with their father, they were deprived of Palestine. They weren’t allowed to attend their children’s wedding, nor their parent’s funerals. They were neither allowed to share the joy nor give comfort and words of consolation. Some aren’t allowed to see their families, others aren’t allowed to see anyone. And some left the darkness of these Zionist dungeons to lie in the darkness of the graves. Imprisonment couldn’t break their free spirits, so the Zionists broke their captive bodies.
And while the Zionist entity remembers Shalit, an occupation soldier, every day, and whines about him every minute, him being a soldier who was on a mission to kill Palestinian civilians, our heroes who sacrificed their freedoms for our freedom, for our dignity and for our Palestine are often forgotten. We know that there are thousands of them in Israeli jails, but do you know their names? Do we even know the names of 10 of them? Do we know the names of the prisoners from our towns, villages or refugee camps? Have we ever wondered what they are doing while we eat, drink, work, celebrate? We only remember them on occasions and during campaigns, when we should remember them every single day. In the mornings, when we wake up in our homes amongst our families and loved one, we should remember that Palestinian prisoners wake up away from their families and loved ones, wake up on dirty ground in cold cells. During the day, when we go to work, go to university, go shopping, we should remember that Palestinian prisoners are locked up in cells, in dungeons, many are isolated and have only contact to their executioners. When we sit with the family or with loved ones, laugh with them, cry with them, hug them or fight with them, remember that Palestinian prisoners are deprived of their loved ones, they are deprived of their parents and their siblings, of their partners and their children, and of their friends and comrades. They are only allowed to see those whom the executioners approve of, one parent or one of their children, for less than an hour and without guarantees that a second visit would ever be approved. And yes, we have our share of the suffering, and we are under occupation and we are held captives in our own homes, towns and land, and every aspect of our lives in controlled by our occupiers, we are an occupied nation, but that doesn’t mean we forget Palestinian prisoners/detainees who are deprived of their families, of their lives and of Palestine. They are not just figures in a list, they are not just statistics to be added to reports. We will never do them justice, will never be able to thank them enough for their sacrifice, but the least we could do is remember their names, know a little bit about their lives, where they come from, what their hopes were and what their wishes for the future are, we should remember their suffering and tell them every day that there will never be freedom for Palestine without the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners/detainees.
And to their parents I say: your children are not forgotten. They are in our hearts and minds for they are our fathers, brothers, and comrades.
Following is a list of the “Generals of Patience”; 26 Palestinian and one Syrian prisoners who have spent over 25 years inside Israeli dungeons and are still captives of the Zionist entity (the last three will be finishing 25 years in a couple of weeks). I collected as much information as I could find on every prisoner. It is disappointing that there is very little information on some of the prisoners except their date of birth, place of birth, date of detention and sentence.
Note: According to Palestinian prisoner sites, and unless otherwise indicated, a life sentence = 99 years.
“Generals of Patience”
1 Na’il Saleh Abdallah Al Barghouthi
53 years old, from Kobar, Ramallah, is in prison since 04.04.1978 (32 years, 7 months, 8 days – total days: 11910). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country. Na’il is the Dean of all Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli dungeons.
Nai’l Al Barghouthi, born in 1957, was 21 years old when imprisoned. He spent more time inside Israeli dungeons than outside them. He is considered the longest-standing political prisoner in the world. He continues calling for unity among Palestinian political factions because disagreement is weakening the Palestinian people and their cause and the cause of Palestinian prisoners. He lost both his parents while in jail, and wasn’t given the chance to say farewell to them. For every day Na’il spends behind Israeli bars, his brother plants an olive tree and prays that his brother would be free one day to care for them himself. Despite over 30 years of imprisonment, Na’il never lost hope of being free one day. Lawyer Butheina Duqmaq from Mandela Institute for Human Rights recalls several memorable encounters with Na’il. During one visit to Na’il, he gave his mother a lemon seed which she planted it in front of their home in Kobar. Every time his mother was allowed to visit him, he would give her a water bottle to water that seed for him. The seed grew into a tree and gives fruit every year. One time Na’il asked his lawyer to get him a lemon from that tree. When she did, he was very happy to hold the lemon from his lemon tree in Kobar in his hand. Another encounter Duqmaq recalls is one time during a visit when he was looking at something thoroughly. Upon asking him what was wrong, he asked her if she could give him her water bottle. “Why?” “Because it had “Made in Palestine” on it”. She also recalls one time when Na’il’s brother Omar was also in jail and their mother was in hospital. She went to visit them and tell them that their mother was fine. She had to wait for some time before Na’il suddenly appeared alone in the visiting room. He looked scared and confused, so she hurried to tell him that his mother was fine. Upon hearing this, he suddenly called to Omar, who was standing hidden behind the wall. Omar came out and both brothers had tears in their eyes. They had feared this visit and that she would inform them of their mother’s death. They were hesitant who among them to meet Duqmaq first and hear the sad news. During one other visit, Duqmaq was waiting for him in the visiting room. When he was allowed in the room by the Israeli soldiers, he stopped and looked at her for some time. She asked him what he was looking at. He told her that 25 years ago his mother sat on that very same chair she was sitting on. During the lighting of a torch in his house for a ceremony honouring him on the occasion of entering his thirty third year in imprisonment, Na’il commented from prison saying: “We are the fuel for this flame. Some lit it before us and some will come to light it after us.” In a recent talk with his lawyer Duqmaq, he said: “I am like the rest of my brothers the prisoners. We are here in prison for a just cause worthy more sacrifice from us than this. This is a long struggle with the occupation, and so far we have not achieved our goals, aspirations and ambitions, but we are continuing on this path until we achieve a complete victory, God willing.”
2 Fakhri (Asfour) Abdallah Al Bargouthi
56 years old, from Kobar, Ramallah, in prison since 23.06.1978 (32 years, 4 months, 18 days – total days: 11830). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Fakhri was born in 1954 and is Na’il’s cousin. He is married and had a 1 and half year old child and his wife was pregnant with his second child when he was detained. His children, Shadi and Hadi, despite growing up away from their father, followed in his footsteps, the footsteps of a Palestinian hero. They were both imprisoned and destiny wills it that Fakhri meets his children in prison to hug Shadi for first time in 27 years and Hadi for first time in his life. Like his cousin Na’il, Fakhri spent more time inside Israel jails than outside them, was deprived of seeing his children grow up and was deprived of his wife, parents and siblings. He lost his parents and older brother while in jail and he wasn’t allowed to see them for the last time.
3 Akram Abdel Aziz Sa’id Mansour
48 years old, from Qalqilya, in prison since 02.08.1979 (31 years, 3 months, 10 days – total days: 11425). Received life sentence (that was later confirmed to 35 years) for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Akram was born in 1962 and was 17 years upon arrest. He spent more years in Israeli jails than outside them. He is a refugee, son of a refugee family from At-Tirah. His family was expelled from their home in 1948 by the Zionists, but they still hold the key to their home. As children, he and his 15 siblings, used to listen to their parents talk about their home in At-Tirah and how beautiful it is and how beautiful At-Tirah is. Till today, they keep holding on to the key because it means their return to their home one day. Because the family was very poor, Akram left school early to work and help his father support the family. He sacrificed his education to help educate his siblings. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon 1978 was a turning point for Akram. He was determined to resist the Israeli occupation that expelled his family from their home and that is killing and terrorising Palestinians and Arabs everywhere. After his arrest, Akram spent 8 months in interrogation cells, being tortured by Israeli interrogators. He was isolated during interrogation and several times during his long imprisonment. During his imprisonment, Akram was attacked several times by Israeli prison soldiers. On one occasion, he was beaten savagely by the Israeli soldiers on the ear which caused him permanent hearing difficulties. Also, he can’t move one of his fingers and lost most of his teeth due to torture. Currently, Akram suffers from various ailments such as continuous severe headache. One time, as a punishment and as harassment, Israeli soldiers threw Akram’s food portion, a plate of macaroni, on the ground and forced him to eat it from the dirty ground while they kicked him and insulted him. Then they poured a bucket full of urine on his head. When he later complained to the prison authority, the Israeli jailors forced him to undress and poured water on him as a punishment. Akram lost his parents and one of his sisters while in jail and wasn’t allowed to say goodbye.
4 Fouad Qasem Arafat Al-Razem
53 years old, from Silwan, Jerusalem, in prison since 30.01.1981 (29 years, 9 months, 11 days – total days: 10878). Received 3 life sentences and 11 years for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Fouad was born on 09.12.1957 and was detained when he was 23. Upon his arrest he was tortured to confess but he didn’t, so his parents were detained to force Fouad to confess, which he didn’t. His parents weren’t released except after his mother’s health condition deteriorated. Upon her release she was transported to hospital. Then they detained his mother a second time and his sister and both were taken to the interrogation room where Fouad was held. The interrogators told him: “if you don’t confess, you know what will happen to your sister and mother”. His sister Nabila immediately told him: “don’t worry Fouad, you’re not the first to be detained and won’t be the last they will detain, be patient.” Upon which the soldiers took Nabila and her mother and locked them up in a room for 12 hours. Also his brothers and sisters were continuously detained to force him into confessing. For 7 years, Fouad wasn’t allowed to see his mother, and all his requests for a visit were rejected. Finally, after human rights organizations intervened, while on her deathbed, his mother was given a special permit to visit him. She was brought on ambulance bed to the prison visiting room to see her son for the last time and say goodbye. She was frail and connected to tubes. She hadn’t been able to talk for some time, but when Fouad hugged her, she said: “May God be pleased with you.” He had only 40 minutes with him mother. A few days later she died. He wrote a story describing his mother’s last visit to him called “The visit of a farewelling mother”, in which he says: “The heart of a mother knows only pain, the days and years in the heart of the prison steal the ages without supervision or control and without the prisoner’s realization, and only remains locked in the chest is yearning and nostalgia for the parents …the mother, father, brothers and sisters, to all their sons and daughters. But the mother remains the address, despite what’s going through her from pain and grief, despite the severity of chronic disease that took over her body until it became thin and made her prisoner at home moving only from home to hospitals. The heart of a mother remains a mother’s heart, a compassionate, merciful, kind heart”. At the end of his novel he says “the tape of the meeting came back to my memory and mind, I remembered my mother whisper: “May God be pleased with you … May God relieve you” and the situation, forgive me mother, and my eyes shed tears again and all I want and wish for is for her to go to the other world pleased with me.” His mother’s wish before her death was to see him free and see him married and see his children. In a recent talk to lawyer Duqmaq from Mandela Institute, Fouad said: “I hope that like we entered the prison with dignity and honour, to come out of prison also with self-esteem, dignity and honour and raising our heads high, sticking to our Palestinian constants and the land of Palestine and the soil of Palestine, especially Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque. The imprisonment, no matter how long it lasts will not weaken our resolve and our will because we are the defenders of a just cause who first believe in God Almighty and secondly in the justice of our cause and our historical and religious rights in Palestine. And despite the constraints that rip us and the oppression that is practiced against us to undermine our resolve and our will, despite these long years in captivity, away from family and loved ones, we believe that Palestine is asking us for more than this honest loyalty and affiliation to this dear country that is not divisible by two. Despite all, we say that it is the duty of every free Palestinian to make every possible effort for the release of the prisoners, all prisoners of all political and regional stripes, whether through the political level or through the exchange of prisoners. The Prisoners of Jerusalem and Palestinian areas occupied in 1948 are part of the Palestinian people and those prisoners who remained in jail after the Oslo-Agreement are the victims of the Oslo Agreement.” He added: “if the prisoners are not released in a political process or in a political deal, when will they be released? do we wait for them to be released the way martyred captives Mohammed Abu Hadwan and Jum’a Ismail were released, ie wait until the release of prisoners after martyrdom within the prison? When will the prisoner Sami Younis be released? Now he is in his eighties and has spent 28 years in detention.” He also talked about how many prisoners lost family members while in jail without being able to say goodbye, about how conditions in jails are worsening and he called for Palestinian unity and that all parties end the division because Palestinian unity is the only guarantee for the Palestinian cause and to preserve its achievements. Fouad suffers from weak eyesight, headache and stomach ache and chest pain and is denied medical treatment.
5 Ibrahim Fadel Naji Jaber
56 years old, from Hebron, in prison since 08.01.1982 (28 years, 10 months, 4 days – total days: 10535). Received 3 life sentences for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Ibrahim was born in 1954. He is married and has 4 children, the eldest was 6 years upon his arrest and the youngest was born after his arrest. His children were not allowed to visit him in jail except rarely, so his wife visited him all the time and would spend up to 15 hours on the road, checkpoints until she reached the prison.
Ibrahim met his eldest son in jail, when both were imprisoned in same cell. His son recalls how his father used to hug him several times every day, place his son’s head on his lap and talk to him and treat him as if he were a child, as if he wanted to compensate for the lost time. His son recalls: “I felt how much pain he was in for being far away from us. When I was released he cried, cried out of happiness and cried because we will separate.”
6 Hasan Nimir Ali Salma
52 years old, from Beitunya, Ramallah, in prison since 08.08.1982 (28 years, 3 months, 4 days – total days: 10323). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Hasan was born on 08.02.1958 in Yalo, Latroun. He spent his childhood in that village, played in its street and loved it. In 1967, his village and the other 2 villages of the Latroun were ethnically cleansed of their people and destroyed by the Zionist entity. After being expelled from their home, his family lived in Beitunya, Ramallah. But he neither forgot his village nor what the Israeli soldiers did to it and to his people. He studied physics at Birzeit university, was an excellent student and was detained with one semester left before his graduation. He was 24 years old at the time and was tortured during interrogation and later isolated several times. His first children, a twin boy and girl, Ali and Sana’, were born 19 days before his arrest. Both children attended university, Sana’ wed while her father in jail, but Ali refuses to wed until his father is released. On the occasion of his daughter’s wedding, he sent her a letter that reached her years later. She works now at the ministry of detainees to help Palestinian detainees. Before their marriage, his wife lived in Jordan and had to apply for visit permits to able to reside in the West Bank because she had no ID. She worked hard to provide for her children after her husband’s detention and used to make embroidery and sell it. Every now and then, she used to leave her kids in Palestine with their grandparents, go back to Jordan to renew her visit permit and then come back to Palestine. This went on for 15 years until the “PA” was established and she got an ID. She hasn’t been allowed to visit Hasan since 11 years and other family members aren’t allowed to visit him either. He is a leader of the prisoner movement, joined many hunger strikes, very active in jail and continuously calls for Palestinian unity. Hasan is known to love reading and writing and he wrote a book with another detainee. He is also known for his patience and wisdom and in many incidents was able to stop disagreements between prisoners. He suffers from various ailments such as severe headache, toothache, a shiver in his hand and can’t hold anything with it. During a recent visit of Mandela Institute to him he stressed the importance of uniting all efforts towards achieving national reconciliation and to heal the rift and end the division between all parties. He underlined that our people have national unity as the only option. He always stresses activating the street to stand in solidarity with the prisoners, and called for the formation of a committee of lawyers in coordination with the ministry of the prisoners to follow up the legal aspects of the achievements of prisoners after each strike in order to preserve these achievements. He also stressed breaking the Israeli standards and conditions for the prisoner exchange process to be agreed upon, and the need to include all veteran prisoners, prisoners of Jerusalem, prisoners of the Palestinian areas occupied in 1948, prisoners of the occupied Syrian Golan, the sick and the female prisoners, stressing that no exchange process has any value that does not meet these goals.
7 Othman Ali Hamdan Misleh
58 years old, from Az-Zawyeh, Nablus, in prison since 15.10.1982 (28 years, 25 days – total days: 10255). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Othman was born on 13.06.1952. He is married and has 7 children, the youngest of whom was few months old upon their father’s arrest. Not only did the Israeli occupation forces deprive the children of their father, they also demolished their family home after Othman’s arrest. He was tortured during interrogation, which is a common practice of the Zionist entity. Later, his children followed in his footsteps and 4 of them were imprisoned but didn’t have the chance to meet their father in jail. He lost his father while in jail and didn’t have the chance to say goodbye. He is one of the leaders of the prisoner movement and joined numerous hunger strikes demanding better condition for Palestinian prisoners. His family is only allowed to visit him once a year.
8 Sami Khaled Salameh Younis
81 years old, from ‘Ara, in prison since 05.01.1983 (27 years, 10 months, 7 days – total days: 10173). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Sami was born on 05.01.1929 and is the oldest detainee from Palestinian lands occupied in 1948. He is married and has 3 children. He was detained on his 54th birthday. His interrogation lasted months, during which he was tortured. Sami had a heart attack while in jail and underwent an operation to remove a tumour from his intestine. He suffers from various ailments such as arthritis, inflammation of the eyes and ears and has to take over 20 pills every day. He lost 4 of his brothers while in jail. During a Mandela Institute visit, Sami stressed that he belonged to a just and sacred cause worthy of all the sacrifice and redemption. He called on all Palestinian factions to unite immediately and put aside their differences to enable them to continue the struggle and focus on the issues of the homeland, the citizens and the prisoners and to provide security, safety and dignity for every Palestinian. Sami doesn’t hesitate to urge his sons/brethren prisoners, his sons and his family and all whom he meets to uphold the Palestinian national rights and not relinquish them, but defend them and distance themselves from despair and frustration until achieving the Palestinian dream of establishing a Palestinian state. He wishes Palestinian prisoners of Jerusalem and Palestinian areas occupied in 1948 not to be ignored because they are part of the Palestinian people. He prays that he lives long enough to be free and see his home again and pray in Al-Aqsa. In case he doesn’t leave the jail alive, Sami left a will saying: my people should hang on to their rights to the last day of their lives. He further writes that in the event of his death in jail, and after Israel releases his body to his family, not to bury him immediately, but he wishes his family to take him to his hometown and leave him for a while in his home, in the house where he grew up, to indulge in memory and say farewell to the home he loved.
9 Karim Yousif Fadil Younis
53 years old, from ‘Ara, in prison since 06.01.1983 (27 years, 10 months, 6 days – total days: 10172). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Karim was born in 1958. In an interview, his mother said that the worst thing for parents is seeing their children behind glass and not being able to touch them. She remembers how during visits when her eyes would tear, he would ask her if he was annoying her and would ask her to be proud of him. She recalls how much he loves maqloubeh and mlukhiyyeh dishes and that whenever the family is gathered, they are always sad because he is missing. She adds that the conditions of Palestinian prisoners get worse by the day, for example, family members aren’t allowed anymore to bring their children certain food items during visits such as olive oil, olives, rice, clothes of all types, tea, coffee and stuffed vine leaves. So the prisoners are forced to buy their own food and water and other necessities such as soap and cigarettes for extremely high prices from the prison canteen (a sort of prison shop) which means a canteen allowance for every prisoner of at least 1300 Shekels every month. His mother never stops hoping that he will return home: I imagine that he will be released, and I am sitting in this very chair, and the door opens without anyone knocking, Karim enters opening the door widely to hurry and hug me, I scream out of happiness until I almost faint.
10 Maher Abdel Latif Abdel Qader Younis
53 years old, from ‘Ara, in prison since 20.01.1983 (27 years, 9 months, 21 days – total days: 10158). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Maher was born in 1957. He wasn’t allowed to see his father for 6 months and when his father was on his deathbed, he applied to the Israeli prison authority for a special permit to visit him, but it was refused and his father died early this year without Maher having the chance to say goodbye. This had great effect on Maher and during the following Ramadan he asked his mother for money so he can make dinner for the prisoners in his father’s memory.
11 Salim Ali Ibrahim Al-Kayyal
57 years old, from Gaza, in prison since 30.05.1983 (27 years, 5 months, 10 days – total days: 10028). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Salim was born in 1953, was detained a few months after his marriage and has a daughter called Du’a’ whom he only saw through the glass of the visitation room. His daughter grew up without the love and guidance of her father. She postponed her wedding several times in the hope he might be released, but then had to wed without her father’s presence. Salim suffers from several diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and like all Palestinian prisoners his health is deteriorating due to medical negligence inside Israeli prisons. His family isn’t allowed to visit him any more after Israel prohibited visits for Gaza detainees. His elderly mother hopes to see him even if for a few minutes before her death.
12 Hafith Nimir Mohammad Qundus
52 years old, from Yafa, in prison since 15.05.1984 (26 years, 5 months, 25 days – total days: 9677). Received 28 years imprisonment for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Hafith was born in 1958, he was 26 years old when detained. He worked as electrician to support his family and was active in his community in Yafa. He lost both his father and brother while in jail and his second brother is not allowed to visit him. When his younger brother died, his mother was the one who told him to have faith and be patient. In addition to visiting him, his mother adopted a Syrian prisoner whom she visits. She always visits her son, except one time she couldn’t because she had fallen and hurt her knew and was unable to walk. On the next visit, Hafith insisted that she walk in front of him to see that she is alright, which she did despite the pain just so Hafith might stop worrying. When his mother’s health condition deteriorated, he applied for a visit that was rejected. His mother’s wish is to see him free before her death.
13 Issa Nimir Jibril Abed Rabbo
47 years old, from Dheisheh refugee camp, Bethlehem, in prison since 20.10.1984 (26 years, 20 days – total days: 9519). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Issa was born in 1963 and is the son of a refugee family that was expelled from its home Al-Walaje in 1948. After his arrest, he was tortured by Israeli interrogators and later isolated several times. He lost his father while in jail and his 80 year old mother visits him continuously in jail, joins all demos and sit-ins in support of Palestinian prisoners, even after she couldn’t move anymore and became confined to a wheelchair. His mother keeps his letters and drawings together with the key of their home in Al-Walaje.
14 Ahmad Farid Mohammad Shehadeh
48 Years old, from Qalandia refugee camp, Ramallah, in prison since 16.02.1985 (25 years, 8 months, 25 days – total days: 9400). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Ahmad was born on 08.08.1962 in Qalandia refugee camp to a refugee family that was expelled from its home in Ma’een in 1948. He worked as a taxi driver and as an ironmonger to help support his family. After he was detained, Ahmad was interrogated for 90 days, during which he was tortured. For over 8 years his mother and sister weren’t allowed to visit him, and one of his brothers isn’t allowed to visit him because he is a former prisoner. Since recently, the rest of the family aren’t allowed to visit him. He loves reading and has a talent for drawing. Although Ahmad suffers from diabetes, he joins all prisoner hunger strikes.
15 Mohammad Ibrahim Mohammad Nasr
55 years old, from Saffa, Ramallah, in prison since 11.05.1985 (25 years, 6 months, 1 day – total days: 9316). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Mohammad was born in 1955 and is married.
16 Rafi’ Farhoud Mohammad Karaja
49 years old, from Saffa, Ramallah, in prison since 20.05.1985 (25 years, 5 months, 20 days – total days: 9307). Received several life sentences for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Rafi’ was born in 1961 and played a leading role in the Palestinian prisoner movement. He always says that unity of Palestinian prisoner movement and unity of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails and preserving the achievements of the prisoner movement are a red line that should never be crossed. Rafi’ took part in prisoner hunger strikes and was isolated several times.
17 Talal Yousif Ahmad Abu Al-Kabbash
55 years old, from As-Samou’, Hebron, in prison since 23.06.1985 (25 years, 4 months, 18 days – total days: 9273). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Talal was born in 1955 and is married and has 5 children. He wasn’t allowed family visits, except in 2007 when his wife was the only one allowed to visit him.
18 Mustafa ‘Amer Mohammad Ighnemat
45 years old, from Sourif, Hebron, in prison since 27.06.1985 (25 years, 4 months, 14 days – total days: 9269). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Mustafa was born in 1965 and was 20 upon detention. He was member of a Palestinian resistance group that worked in occupied Palestine. In 1985, Israeli warplanes bombed several group members while on their way to Syria. Only one member, Mohammad At-Tous, survived and another two members, Ziad and Mustafa Ighnemat, who stayed behind in Sourif, were detained. The three received life sentences and have been since then locked up inside Israeli dungeons. Mustafa spent more years inside Israeli dungeons than outside them.
19 Ziad Mahmoud Mohammad Ighnemat
45 years old, from Sourif, Hebron, in prison since 27.06.1985 (25 years, 4 months, 14 days – total days: 9269). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Ziad was born in 1965 and was 20 upon detention. He was member of a Palestinian resistance group that worked in occupied Palestine. In 1985, Israeli warplanes bombed several group members while on their way to Syria. Only one member, Mohammad At-Tous, survived and another two members, Ziad and Mustafa Ighnemat, who stayed behind in Sourif, were detained. The three received life sentences and have been since then locked up inside Israeli dungeons. Ziad’s mother lost her memory after his arrest due to shock and sadness. He was prevented from family visits for 7 years. His father’s only wish is to see him before he dies.
Haza’ As-Sa’di and Othman Bani Hassan were friends and comrades since childhood, grew up together, played together and went to school together. At the age of 17 years they witnessed the incident of poisoning the water tanks of the girls’ school in Jenin by a number of collaborators. Many girls were poisoned. Both boys rushed to help transport the girls to hospital and the suffering they witnessed affected them deeply. A short while later a friend of theirs was killed by the Israeli occupation forces. Both incidents caused them to join the resistance. Upon arrest, both boys were less than 17 years old, nevertheless they were tortured. The Israeli military court postponed their court sessions one time after the other until they were 17 and tried as adults. Othman received 2 life sentences while Haza’ received 1 life sentence and 20 years. They were often isolated. Once, during transport from Jneid prison to Nafha prison, the Israeli soldiers started provoking and mocking Haza’ and Othman. Both, despite being handcuffed, were able to beat one soldier. The other soldiers attacked them and they were placed in isolation and their family visits were cancelled for a while as punishment.
20 Haza’ Mohammad Haza’ As-Sa’di
43 years old, from Jenin refugee camp, in prison since 27.07.1985 (25 years, 3 months, 13 days – total days: 9239). Received life sentence and 20 years for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Haza’ was born in 1967 and was less than 17 years old upon arrest, so his court session was postponed one time after the other until he was 17 and was tried as an adult. He loved attending school and was one of the best in his classes. He used to sell watermelons as a child to help his parents and provide his school allowance. He has 3 sisters. His youngest sister Nariman who was 9 years old when she last saw him, is forbidden from visiting him because on her last visit she brought her brother a bottle of olive oil. Today, only one sister is allowed to visit him. His sister relates an incident during a visit when Haza’ eyes were suddenly teary. She was scarred and asked what was wrong with him. He told her that he had caught a bird and took care of it as a father cares for his child, used to give it water to drink from his own mouth. When the soldiers enter the cell, he would hide the bird under his blanket to protect it. He told her the bird died a few days earlier and he was very sad. Haza’ lost his father while in jail, his only wish had been to hug his father. His mother is too old to move and to visit him. He wishes to hug her before she dies.
21 Othman Abdallah Mahmoud Bani Hasan
43 years old, from ‘Arbouna, Jenin, in prison since 27.07.1985 (25 years, 3 months, 13 days – total days: 9239). Received 2 life sentences for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Othman was born in 1967 and was less than 17 years old upon arrest, so his court session was postponed one time after the other until he was 17 and was tried as an adult. He is an athlete and loves jogging. Before his detention, Othman used to join races and won first place in a marathon. He met one of his brothers in jail. He lost his parents and 2 of his brothers while in jail and he wasn’t able to say farewell. Only his eldest sister is allowed to visit him.
22 Sidqi Sleiman Ahmad Al-Maqt
43 years old, from Majdal Shams, occupied Syrian Golan, in prison since 23.08.1985 (25 years, 2 months, 18 days – total days: 9212). Received a sentence of 27 years for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Sidqi was born on 17.04.1967 and was only 52 days old when Israel occupied the Syrian Golan. He comes from a family known for its history of resisting the occupier. His father was detained several times and 2 of his brothers were also detained. His grandfather is a hero of the Syrian great revolution of 1925. When the Israeli occupation soldiers came to arrest Sidqi, his grandfather used his walking stick to hit them and he refused to issue an Israeli ID except after the arrest of his grandchildren so he can visit them. Sidqi loves reading and designing, was excellent at school and wanted to become either a lawyer or study aeronautical engineering. He was detained with a group of comrades, including his brother, and was tortured. When the Israeli military court judge read the sentence, Sidqi refused to acknowledge it and the military court and addressed the judge by saying: “I am a Syrian Arab and you occupy my land and I have the right to defend it and to resist you and I don’t acknowledge your kangaroo court.” Then he sang the Syrian national anthem with his comrades and those present in the court before they were kicked out of the court. Sidqi is very active in jail, was isolated more than 10 times and is known to be the last prisoner to break the 2004 hunger strike after 150 soldiers forced him to walk while beating him with their clubs. In 2007, he got an article about the Lebanese resistance published, for which he was punished with isolation for one year. Israeli interrogators told him he would be spared isolation if he retracted the article which he refused. From his resistance group 3 comrades, including his brother, (Bishir Al-Maqt, Sitan Al-Wali and ‘Asim Al-Wali) were released after they finished their sentences. The 4th from their group, Hayil Abu Zeid was released in 2005 after 20 years imprisonment to die at home of blood cancer a few months later. Sidqi is currently the longest detained Arab prisoner in Israeli jails. He suffers from pain in the stomach, the kidney, the spinal column and teeth. He isn’t allowed to see his brothers, only his parents are allowed to visit him. His grandfather was able to visit him once before he died but his grandma died while he is in jail. In a letter to his family he said that every day that passes and he is in captivity strengthens his conviction that homelands cannot be liberated except with the guns and the hands of its children, and that these open wounds will only heal when the usurper departs Arab lands everywhere. In a message to the captives of Shalit he said: “don’t hurry and close a deal” and asked them to break Israeli conditions and criteria and to liberate all prisoners, especially veteran prisoners, prisoners from occupied Jerusalem, prisoners from Palestinian areas occupied in 1948, prisoners from occupied Golan, sick and female prisoners and that any prisoner exchange deal that does not meet the aspirations and hopes of the prisoners is of no value.
23 Hani Badawi Mohammad Jabir
46 years old, from occupied Jerusalem, in prison since 03.09.1985 (25 years, 2 months, 9 days – total days: 9201). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Hani was born on 23.07.1964. His mother died when he was 12 and he has 15 siblings. His wife was pregnant with their only daughter Fida’ when he was arrested at the age of 21. He was tortured during interrogation and had to be transported to hospital. His family home in Hebron was demolished by the Israeli army, so his family moved to their home in occupied Jerusalem. During one Israeli raid on prison cells, Hani’s hands were handcuffed in a very tight and painful manner. Hani asked one soldier to lighten the cuffs, but instead, the soldier tightened them more and hit Hani in his face so hard that his face hit the wall of the prison cell and his front teeth were broken. One other time Hani was beaten during inspection by 8 Israeli soldiers, isolated and prevented from family visits for 2 months. Not only did his daughter grow up deprived of her father, but also he was not allowed to attend her wedding. He had applied to the Israeli prison authority through a Palestinian Knesset member to be able to attend his only daughter’s wedding on a bail of 1 Million Shekel, but his application was rejected. Fida’ grew up and got married without her father’s presence. She recalls her father telling her during one visit that when she visits him the moments are as painful as a sinking ship and that he yearns to hug her. He said to her: “if I die, you should continue talking to me as if I were there with you and hearing you, for you are in my heart and I hear you”. Hani lost his brother while in jail, his father is old and bedridden and can’t make the trip to the prison and his sister isn’t allowed to visit him since 4 years. He was told he will lose his Jerusalem ID and would thus lose his right to live in his birthplace and home Jerusalem. He Joined hunger strikes and often calls for unity because it is the safety valve for the Palestinian people and their national cause. He also stresses that veteran prisoners, prisoners from Jerusalem and Palestinian areas occupied in 1948 are a red line which no one has a right to cross in any deal. He was an athlete and loves writing poetry. Hani suffers from ulcer, weak eyesight, toothache, rheumatism and problems in the neck area. Currently, he is working on an encyclopaedia of general knowledge.
24 Mohammad Ahmad Abdel Hamid At-Tous
55 years old, from Hebron, in prison since 06.10.1985 (25 years, 1 month, 6 days – total days: 9168). Received life sentence for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Mohammad was born in 1955 and is married, was tortured and isolated several times. He was member of a Palestinian resistance group that worked in occupied Palestine. In 1985, Israeli warplanes bombed several group members while on their way to Syria. Only Mohammad survived and another two members, Ziad and Mustafa Ighnemat, who stayed behind in Sourif, were detained. The three received life sentences and have been since then locked up inside Israeli dungeons.
25 Nafith Ahmad Talib Hirz
55 years old, from Gaza, in prison since 25.11.1985 (24 years, 11 months, 16 days – total days: 9118). Received several life sentences for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Nafith was born in 1955 and was 29 upon detention. He has 6 children and 21 grandchildren. He was tortured during detention, and one time his wrist was smashed. He was isolated several times. After he received the life sentences he told his wife to apply for divorce because she is young and should not waste her life waiting for him. But his wife refused and told him she will stand by him and protect their children for ever, whether he likes it or not. He was not allowed any visits for a long period of time and when he was finally allowed to see them during visitations he didn’t recognize some of his children. His youngest daughter was born after his detention, so she knew him only through the glass of the visitation room. His wife recalls how their children used to fight who will visit their father because she wasn’t allowed to take them all to the visit. So, she prepared a programme so they all see him and know him and have a few minutes with him. She would often make the long tiresome trip to jail on visitation days to be told she won’t be allowed to see him because he makes trouble. Family members were gradually prohibited from visiting him from 1990 until the last visit in 2006. All of Nafith’s children married while he is in jail. On one occasion, his son told him of his wedding date. Nafith made a sort of wedding celebration for his son in the cell and celebrated with his comrades, but not being with his family affected him so much that he was depressed for some time. After that the family didn’t tell him anymore of exact dates of weddings to spare him extra pain. His youngest brother and his cousin were killed in an extrajudicial execution while he is in jail. Nafith loves making models of Al-Aqsa and whenever he is done with one model he would say: “I will continue fighting until Jerusalem is liberated. We are not free without the freedom of Jerusalem and Palestine is not Palestine without Jerusalem.” He suffers from problems with the thyroid.
26 Faiz Mtawi’ Hammad Al-Khour
49 years old, from Gaza, in prison since 29.11.1985 (24 years, 11 months, 12 days – total days: 9114). Received 3 life sentences and 10 years for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Faiz was born in 1961 and his mother died while he is in jail. He suffers from a severe mental illness caused by the trauma of being isolated for a whole 7 years and not being allowed to see any other human being. He doesn’t comprehend what goes around him and doesn’t recognize any one anymore. Many requests to the Israeli prison authority to remove Faiz from solitary confinement, which is a sort of slow death, were rejected. His father wishes to see him before he dies and wishes he could exchange places with Faiz and spend the remaining years of his life in jail instead of his son.
27 Ghazi Jum’a Mohammad An-Nimmis
52 years old, from Gaza, in prison since 30.11.1985 (24 years, 11 months, 11 days – total days: 9113). Received 3 life sentences for practicing his legitimate right to fight the Zionist occupation of his homeland and for defending his family, home and country.
Ghazi was born in 1958 and he lost his mother while in jail.
Freedom for ALL Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli dungeons