“. . . when I am led all alone to be whipped and humiliated . . . at every police station. . .” (‘Abd Al-Latif ‘Aql)

Ofer Prison, Occupied Territories. Ofer Prison is run by the Israel Prison Service and used to be operated by the Israel Defense Forces’ Military Police Corps. It holds about 1,100 Palestinian prisoners both those under administrative detention and those who have been tried and sentenced. Among them are children. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

❶ Nearly 400 Palestinian children held in Israeli jails
❷ UN submission: Unlawful transfer of protected persons
❸ Pollard Released After 30 Years in Prison
❹ Army Kidnaps Fifteen Palestinians in Hebron
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ‘It Has Become a Prison’: The ghettoization of Hebron
❻ Poetry by ‘Abd Al-Latif ‘Aql
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Nov. 20, 2015
RAMALLAH ― A prisoners’ rights group said Friday that nearly 400 Palestinian children between the ages of 11 and 17 are currently being held in Israeli jails.
___The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said in a statement that 11 of those detained were being held without charge or trial under administration detention orders. . . .
___Some 700 children have been detained since the beginning of October — mainly in the Hebron and Jerusalem districts — many of whom were released under specific conditions including bail or house arrest, the society said.
More . . .
Nov. 12, 2015
MCW lodged a submission with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention relating to the unlawful transfer and detention of Palestinian minors from the West Bank to prisons located inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
___According to evidence provided by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) an average of 88 per cent of Palestinian detainees from the West Bank, including minors, are transferred and detained inside Israel. It is currently estimated that this affects between 7,000 to 8,000 Palestinians each year and is classified under international law as a war crime.
More . . .

The gate to Ofer Prison. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

Nov. 21, 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Friday, addressed American spy, Jonathan Pollard, who was released on parole after serving 30 years in prison, after handing over top-secret classified information to Israel.
___“The people of Israel welcome the release of Jonathan Pollard,” the PM said in a video statement. “As someone who has raised his case among successive US presidents many times, I longed for this day,” Netanyahu continued.
___The former intelligence analyst for the US government was arrested in 1985, and pleaded guilty in 1987, to charges in violation of the Espionage Act.
More . . .
Nov. 21, 2015
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday at dawn, the southern West Bank district of Hebron, searched dozens of homes and kidnapped fifteen Palestinians.
___The soldiers invaded the Joret Bahlas area, north of Hebron city, and various neighborhoods before kidnapping the Palestinians.
___Local sources said the soldiers kidnapped Ismael Taiseer Bader, 44, Luay Faisal al-Hashlamoun, 30, Adel al-Eeda al-Herbawi, 48, Othman Sharif Tamimi, 18, Nader Hamed Natsha, Mohammad Ali al-Qawasma, and Ezzat Sha’ban al-Khatib, after violently storming their homes and searching them, in Hebron city.
___ The army also invaded Deir Samet village, southwest of Hebron, searched homes and kidnapped . . .
More . . .
Megan Hanna
Nov. 11, 2015
Hebron’s Old City, located in the “H2 area” under full Israeli military control, is subject to dramatic new restrictions introduced last week. Israeli soldiers seized several homes in the Tel Rumedia area and barred the residents from going in or out, declaring the area a military zone and banning access to non-residents, in a move that parallels security restrictions imposed recently upon areas of East Jerusalem.
Since the beginning of last month 22 Palestinians have been killed in Hebron, and nine in the Old City that has been the epicentre of escalating tensions.
___Even for the 50 families who live in Tel Rumeida, who had a mere few days to register their name and ID card to the Israeli authorities, the plans will severely restrict their freedom of movement, as they will have to undergo rigorous security searches every time they wish to leave or enter their homes.
___According to a resident of Tel Rumeida, “They told me I have the number 36 [on the list with who’s allowed to go in and out], it’s just like in prison. They try to make you a number, you’re not a person”.
More . . .

(Palestinian poets frequently use the image of “lover” for Palestine.)


In times of drought you are my figs and olives,
Your barrenness is my fragrant gown.

Of the rubble that was your eyes I erect my home,
I love you alive, I love you in death.
When hungry, I feed on thyme.

I feel your hair against my face and I pine,
My weary face turns red.

I am born in the palms of your hands, and embryo,
I grow and grow, and I reach maturity.

I drink the meaning of my life from your gaze,
Then my being is awakened and is intoxicated.

I journey across frontiers, you are my suitcase,
You are my forged passport.

I boast that I can smuggle your eyes
Across borders;
I boast and boast and pride surges within me.

And when soldiers confiscate you,
Even before hashish,
And gouge the pupils of my eyes,

I feel I have been cleansed of the shame;
I have become purer
And more immaculate.

When they fear what may be under my armpits,
They confine me in small cells;
I sign your name
At the end of police reports.

And when I am led all alone
To be whipped and humiliated,
And lashed at every police station,
I feel we’re lovers, who died from ecstasy,
A dark-skinned man and his woman.

You become me and I become you―
Luscious figs and shelled almonds.
And when soldiers smash my head
And force me to sip the cold of prison
To forget you―I love you even more.

‘Abd Al-Latif ‘Aql was born in 1942 in Deir Istiya, a village near Nablus. His family was exiled in 1948, and he lived in Amman and studied in Damasus and the U.S. where earned a PhD in social psychology. He worked as a school teacher in the West Bank for many years. He has published many volumes of poetry. His two plays incurred the wrath of the Israelis, and were forced to end performance at Bir Zeit University.
___From: A  LOVER  FROM  PALESTINE  AND  OTHER  POEMS:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  PALESTINIAN  POETRY. Ed. Abdul Wahab Al-Messiri. Washington, DC: Free Palestine Press, 1970.
Available from Abe Books. 

Employee parking, Ofer Prison. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)


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