They meet behind Zionist bars; fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and students, friends, neighbours, townspeople, relatives, comrades. They unite in their defiance of injustice; men, women, children, elderly…. none of them a stranger to the other, none of them a stranger to us, none of them a stranger to Palestine. They are held captive in dungeons, denied the air of Palestine, denied the sunrise and the sunset, denied the laughter of a family member, denied the tear over a martyred comrade. They sacrificed their freedom willingly, so the children of Palestine may enjoy a life free of occupation and oppression. They are buried alive in grave-like cells, so the future generations of Palestine may enjoy the sunrise over the mountains of Jerusalem and Safad, the fresh breeze over the meadows of Jenin and Bisan, the wind playing with the waters of Gaza and Acca. But, it is not they who are captive, for they have chosen to fight for freedom… it is us, who walk this land shackled by a brutal occupation. It is not they who are the living dead, for they live in dignity that defies the jailor… it is us, who walk in life content with less than full liberation and justice. It is not they who lost years in vain behind bars, for they teach generation to come the meaning of sacrifice and steadfastness… it is us, who waste our lives in pursuit of a false freedom and a false statehood. It is not they who are deprived of Palestine, for they have chosen to be one with Palestine… it is us, who betray Palestine when we go on with our lives while 6500 Palestinians are held captive. It is not they who are unknown, for Palestine knows her devoted children, every town, village and refugee camp in Palestine knows them, every house in Palestine knows them, every child in Palestine knows them…. It is us, who have yet to earn the honour to have our names recorded with those of the heroes of Palestine. They are the lovers of freedom, the defeaters of oppression, the heroes of Palestine. They struggle every minute, every hour, every day. They are steadfast in the face of Zionist inhumanity and world betrayal. They fight for our freedom every day, and in return we remember them only on the 17th of April. Palestinians Prisoners’ Day should be every day. They should be remembered every minute of the day, for they fight for us every minute of the day… their families suffer every minute of the day… they suffer for us every minute of the day. We will only be free when ALL Palestinian political prisoners are free… for they have chosen Palestine and they have chosen to sacrifice their freedom for the freedom of all of us. Continue reading
“The most beautiful of all mothers is she, who waited for her son, and he returned a martyr… she cried two tears and flower and did not sit alone in a corner in the mourning clothes.”
Mariam, Aisha, Dam Il-Izz, Fatma, Sabha, Ahlam, Taghreed, Nawal, Dalal, Leila, Asma’, and thousands others… These are the sacred names that embody the land, the resistance and the promise of return. They are as scared as the olive tree that stands tall in the face of occupiers, faces them all and survives while they decay, steadfast and ancient, deeply rooted in the land. They are as sacred as the freedom fighter’s gun that is directed towards the occupying colonizer, teaching us that rights are not given but are taken, that justice will prevail. They are as sacred as the poppy that flourishes every spring, watered by the blood of the martyrs, reminding us that a promise is a promise, that the path of the martyrs is the path of us all towards liberation and return. They are as sacred as the land herself, as sacred as the mother of us all; as sacred as Palestine; holding us to her, giving us life, and telling us not to surrender, not to waiver, not to relinquish what is ours! These sacred names connect us to Jrash, Bisan, Haifa, Naqab, Deir Aban, Safad and all the villages and towns that were Palestinian and will rise up again Palestinian from under the rubble, from under the fake parks and from under the cancerous colonies. These sacred names preserve our heritage, our history and our culture; they sing to ‘Ataba and dance to dal’ona… they create the Milis, the Malaka, the Majdalawi, the Ikhdari… they draw paintings of the spring in Al-Jaleel, the plains of Marj Ibin Amer, the sunrise over the hills of Jerusalem, the sunset over the waves of Haifa and Gaza. These sacred names plant in us the spirit of resistance, keep it burning, shining in our hearts, leading our way, telling us that only through resistance will we be liberated, only through our sacrifice will Palestine be free and future generations will enjoy justice and true peace. These sacred names connect Jrash with Dheisheh, connect Haifa with Al-Yarmouk, connect Bisan with Ein Il-Hilweh, connect Al-Quds with Gaza, connect Palestine with Palestine. Continue reading
Palestinian women have always been part of the national struggle to liberate Palestine; they are the freedom fighters, the martyrs, the prisoners, the injured, the mothers, the sisters, the daughters and the comrades. They are the revolutionaries, the guardians of the land, the protectors of the revolution, the custodians of the sacred heritage. They stand in the face of oppression, occupation and injustice. They hold the gun, the sling, the hammer and the sickle, the pen and the brush, and fight, plant, write, sing and dance for Palestine. They are the symbol of resilience, steadfastness and patience, the symbol of resistance, dignity and heroism. They are the women of Al-Quds Jerusalem; standing up to Zionist colonialism, fighting for their birthright…. They are the women of Beit Sira, Al-Jalameh, Beita and Husan; steadfast in their land, resisting the Zionist occupation and the colonization….. They are the women of Ramle, Yaffa and Um Il-Fahim; refusing to be a “minority” in their ancestral homeland, refusing to be replaced by strangers to the land…. They are the women of Susya, Al-Araqeeb, Wad Fuqin and Al-Jahhalen; protecting the land, defeating ethnic cleansing…. They are the women of Dheisheh, Askar, Al-Maghazi, Ein Il-Hilweh, Yarmouk; holding on to the keys of return, planting the homeland in the minds and hearts of the generations to come, until liberation…. They are the women of Gaza; rising again and again, refusing to surrender, giving the world stories of heroism and steadfastness…. They are the women of Palestine; safeguarding the olive tree and the poppy, keeping Palestine alive in our heart, paving the road towards Palestine, all of Palestine, from the River to the Sea. Continue reading
Tears fell down her cheeks when the judge read the sentence, she shivered, cuffed and in a cage, surrounded by armed occupation soldiers. Her parents, sitting but a few meters away from her, shocked, unable to touch their daughter, hug her, comfort her, or wipe away her tears. “They treated her as an adult…. She is but a child.” Said Ali Al-Khateeb, in his sixties, his face tired, wrinkled with years under occupation, and great sadness in his tired eyes… “When the judge read the sentence”, Abu Yousif recalls:” I saw Malak wiping away her tears and shivering, I felt that a fire was burning inside my heart”. Her 50 year-old mother Khawla says: “In court, I cried with my daughter who is separated from me by a few meters, we could not touch her or talk to her, I wished I could embrace her, even for a minute, to make her feel warm.”
Malak Al-Khateeb, 14 years old, left her home in Beitin, near Ramallah, on the morning of 31.12.2014. The 8th grader had with her a copybook and a pen, and was heading to school to sit for her English exam, the last exam before the semester vacation. Afterwards, and while walking in the village lands, she was stopped by Israeli occupation forces, before being kidnapped to an interrogation centre. Four court sessions and three weeks later, 14 year-old Malak was charged on 21.01.2015 by Ofer occupation military court and sentenced to 2 months in jail, a 6000 NIS fine and 3 years under probation. Currently, the Zionist entity holds 6500 Palestinian political prisoners captive, including 214 children below the age of 18 years. Among the 214 children, 4 girls between 14 and 16 years old are detained, Malak being the youngest registered detainee till now. According to various statistics, Israeli occupation forces arrest around a 1000 Palestinian child annually, with 500 to 700 children brought in front of Israeli military courts. Alone in 2014, the IOF kidnapped 1800 children, mostly from occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli military law allows the prosecution of Palestinian children from the age of 12 years in military courts. Malak’s sentence was based on the testimony of five Israeli occupation officers in the patrol that arrested her. The indictment document claims that Malak was “in possession of a knife to stab the soldiers in case they come to arrest.”
Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif carried their small lunch bags with a few bread loaves, a tomato and a sardine can, and said goodbye to their families in the early hours of Sunday 20.05.1990. It was very early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet, and the refugee camps were engulfed in total darkness. The usually busy and noisy narrow roads and alleys were empty and quiet. The children were still asleep and dreaming of the toy and the colouring book their fathers will bring them back from work. The young women were still asleep and dreaming of the ring and the necklace their fiancés would buy so they could finally marry. The wives sat near their sleeping children and dreamt of the meat their husbands might bring back from work so they could cook a decent meal for the family. The mothers sat in the darkness, watching their children leave to work, and prayed that they reach their working place safe, find a job for the day and get paid so they can repair the leaking roof before the next winter. As they watched them disappear in the darkness, they prayed that their children come back safe to their homes and to their families. The roads and alleys of the refugee camps were quiet and empty, except for the sounds of the marching Israeli occupation soldiers, patrolling the open-air prisons, and holding the entire Palestinian population hostage to occupation and oppression. The roads and alleys of the refugee camps were quiet and empty except for the footsteps of the workers, heading to work in the early hours of the morning, hoping to find work that day, and thinking of their children, their mothers, their wives, their fiancés and hoping to be able to bring back toys, colouring books, food, a necklace and ring and enough money to fix the roof before the next winter. Continue reading
My name is Falasteen,
I am the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. I am the home and only home to my children the Palestinians. Poets celebrate my beauty, my culture and the courage of my children. Painters sing to me their love, devotion and yearning. Al-Quds is my beating heart. Haifa is my pearl on the Mediterranean. Yafa is my heaven of oranges and Jasmines. Acca is my haven of white domes. Beer Is-Sabe’ is my princess of A-Naqab. Nablus is my mountain of revolution. Gaza is my dignity, my courage and my steadfastness. Jenin is my resistance, my home of legends. Safad is my daughter reaching out and embracing the sun. Al-Khalil is my guardian of glory. Beesan is my home of history, my roots reaching deep in time. Beit Lahim is my oasis of tranquillity. Ar-Ramlah is my endless love of the olive tree. Tabaria is my home of revolution against oppression. Tulkarim is my sea of green and golden meadows. I am the mother of thousands of villages and towns and Bedouin localities. I am the mother of 531 villages and towns that were erased off the world map, but not erased from my heart. I am the mother of 531 villages and towns forgotten by the world, but engraved in the collective memory of my children. I am the mother of 531 villages and towns demolished and turned into ruins, but every stone is waiting to be rebuilt, every home waiting to be brought back to life. I am the mother of tens of thousands, of millions of Palestinians. I am the mother of the martyrs, the prisoners and the revolutionaries. I am the mother of the farmers, the fishermen and the workers. I am the mother of the writers, the poets and the painters. I am the mother of heroes, the mother of legends, the mother of a mighty people. I am the mother of those steadfast in my land, caring for the land, protecting the land. I am the mother of those holding on to the gun, to the stone, to the slingshot. I am the mother of those raising my four colours high in the sky, celebrating my red, my green, my white and my black. I am the mother of a people who refuse to surrender, refuse to forget and refuse to forgive the injustices done to me and to them. I am Palestine. Continue reading
I saw her during a protest in support of Hana’ Ash-Shalabi. She was sitting, surrounded by protesters, too weak to stand, and holding a poster of Hana’. People around her tried to convince her to go home and eat or at least drink something. She looked at us and shook her head: ‘This is the least I can do. Hana’ is on hunger strike in an Israeli dungeon. She is on hunger strike for justice and for her dignity, for the dignity of all of us. Hunger striking in solidarity with Hana’ is the least I can do.’ She sat there, surrounded by mothers, grandmothers, daughters, comrades, and held tighter to Hana’s poster, as if protecting her, saving her from the jailors, taking away her pain. I watched her, held tighter to my poster of Hana’ and thought of Hana’ in her dungeon; Hana’ the refugee who never saw her hometown Haifa (the only time she was allowed into Haifa, she was on hospital bed to be treated after her health deteriorated due to her hunger strike), and I looked at this woman, this elderly woman who was kicked out of her village 64 years ago, and who is hunger striking in solidarity with a fellow Palestinian. They never met, but like every Palestinian mother, Hana’ was her daughter, and like every Palestinian, Hana’ was her sister, comrade and friend. On another day, in another protest tent, I looked at the mothers, every one of them hugging the framed picture of her detained child. Some held two pictures, others three. One of the mothers hadn’t seen her son in over 27 years. She sat in a wheel chair, her body weak, but her spirits high and she hopes to see her son before she dies. When I asked her about her health, she smiled and said: ‘Alhamdullilah ya binty’. Continue reading
As Palestinian political prisoners held captive in Israeli dungeons start a general open hunger strike, stand in solidarity with them, support their just struggle and demand their freedom.
The indigenous people of occupied Palestine have been held hostage by a brutal military occupation, and confined to ghettos build in their own land. The Palestinians are held captives in their own homes, towns and villages, with military checkpoints locking them up, controlling and limiting their movement, and surrounded by Zionist colonies built on the ruins of Palestinian villages and on the bones of the Palestinians. They are held captives in their in their own homeland, in their homes and in Israeli dungeons. Every week, tens of Palestinians are kidnapped from their homes, workplace, schools and at checkpoints. Sometimes the detained are released after a few days, after a few weeks or remain in captivity indefinitely. Currently, over 4700 Palestinians are locked up behind Israeli bars, and the Zionist entity violates their rights on a daily basis. In addition to torture, physical and verbal abuse, repeated attacks and humiliation, Palestinian political prisoners suffer from medical negligence and are denied proper nourishment. Cells are daily raided and searched, often at night, and the private property of prisoners is destroyed or confiscated. They are tied up for hours under the hot sun or under the rain, are deprived of sleep, isolated. They are forced to buy their own food and water for extremely high prices from the prison canteen and to pay for the water and electricity they consume. Israeli raids are carried out on a daily bases in occupied Palestine. Since 1967, Israeli occupation forces kidnapped and detained more than 800,000 Palestinians, including 15,000 women and thousands of children. During the First Intifada, at least 116,000 Palestinians were kidnapped and detained, including at least 3000 women. During Al-Aqsa Intifada more than 70,000 Palestinians were detained, including 900 women and 8000 children. On average, 9000 Palestinians are detained yearly, including 700 children. Currently, the Zionist entity holds 4700 Palestinians captive in Israeli dungeons, including:
8 Palestinian women.
190 Palestinian children.
320 Palestinian administrative detainees.
19 Palestinian held in isolation cells.
27 members of the Palestinian Parliament
1000 Palestinian prisoners in need of medical care.
120 Palestinian “Veteran Prisoners” who have been locked up in Israelis jails since before 1994, including:
59 Palestinian “Deans of Prisoners” who have spent 20+ years inside Israeli jails.
23 Palestinian “Generals of Patience” who have spent 25+ years inside Israeli jails. Continue reading
Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike: The Struggle for Freedom, for Justice, for Palestine Continues
In messages to the Palestinian people and the free people of the world, Palestinian administrative detainee Ja’far Izz Iddin called for more support and solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, particularly with administrative detainees, until they are all free. Determined to continue his open-ended hunger strike, Izz Iddin said that he will not be broken or defeated and that it is either victory and freedom or martyrdom: “Our detention is unjust and illegal just like the occupation is illegal, thus I will not retract from the battle for freedom until administrative detention is abolished … Because our demands are legitimate and just… Because administrative detention is void and prohibited by international humanitarian law, we are determined to resist it and to reject it… it is either victory and freedom or martyrdom”. Today, Ja’far Izz Iddin is on his 23rd day of open-ended hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge or trial. When on 21.03.2012 his house was raided and he was kidnapped blindfolded and handcuffed, the Israeli occupation army officer who dragged him from the midst of his family told Izz Iddin:”you organize solidarity activities with Khader Adnan, and today we will send you to jail to join him in solidarity”. Izz Iddin is only one of at least 13 Palestinian prisoners and detainees currently on an open-ended hunger strike in Israeli dungeons. The latest to join the struggle for freedom is isolated prisoner Abdallah Barghouthi who started his hunger strike today to protest the policy of isolation. According to Palestinian prisoners’ sites, the following prisoners/detainees are on hunger strike: Continue reading
On 04.08.2011, Haj Ibrahim Atallah closed his eyes for the last time. He was over a 100 years old, and from what I’ve heard, he closed his eyes unwillingly, for he had yet so much to fight for, so much to give to the land that has given him and his family so much. Haj Atallah was from a small village in the Bethlehem area called Khirbet Ish-Sheikh Zakariya, locally known as Beit Iskarya, probably to differentiate it from the not-far-away Zakariya that was ethnically cleansed in 1948. Beit Iskarya lies in the middle of the illegal Gush Etzion Zionist colony bloc which consists of 22 illegal Zionist colonies and outposts built on 70,000 dunums of stolen Palestinian land. The Palestinian village itself is totally besieged by at least 5 of the Gush Etzion colonies: Bat Ayin from the west, Rosh Tzurim from the north, Neve Daniel from the north east, Elazar from the east and Alon Shvut from the south east. These colonies are strangling the village, stealing its land and that of other Palestinian villages and slowly devouring them. They divide Beit Iskarya’s land into two and the only road connecting the village to the outside world passes through this Zionist colony bloc, where often, Beit Iskarya residents, especially students on the way to school, get attacked and beaten by the Zionist colonists. But despite all settler attacks and the continuous threats, Haj Atallah remained steadfast in his land: he planted the land, cared for it and kept it green against all odds. He taught his children that nothing is more valuable than the land itself, and he refused all the enticements offered by the Zionist entity to sell his land or give up even one iota of its earth. He refused to allow them to create another Palestinian-free zone in the heart of Palestine. Continue reading