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

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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
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
NEARLY  400  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN  HELD  IN  ISRAELI  JAILS
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 . . .
MILITARY COURT WATCH
UN  SUBMISSION:  UNLAWFUL  TRANSFER  OF  PROTECTED  PERSONS
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 . . .

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

IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
POLLARD  RELEASED  AFTER  30  YEARS  IN  PRISON
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 . . .
IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
ARMY  KIDNAPS  FIFTEEN  PALESTINIANS  IN  HEBRON
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 . . .
Opinion/Analysis
MONDOWEISS
‘IT  HAS  BECOME  A  PRISON’:  THE  GHETTOIZATION  OF  HEBRON
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.)

“LOVE  PALESTINIAN-STYLE,”  BY  ‘ABD AL-LATIF ‘AQL

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. 

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

 

“. . . what of my comrades in this cell? You ask. . .” (Fouzi El Asmar)

Some 250 Palestinians being held in Israel’s Negev prison have begun an open-ended hunger strike in protest to their administrative detention. Shiite News Photo.
Some 250 Palestinians being held in Israel’s Negev prison have begun an open-ended hunger strike in protest to their administrative detention. Shiite News Photo.

MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
5  PALESTINIANS  JAILED  WITHOUT  TRIAL  CONTINUE  HUNGER  STRIKES
August 29, 2015
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Five Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Negev jail on Saturday continued a hunger strike they began on August 18 to protest their internment without trial or charge, the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said.
____Fadi Obeidat, a lawyer for the PA committee, met with some of the hunger strikers Saturday and said that they were demanding an end to Israel’s policy of administrative detention.
____The Negev jail — also known as the Ktz’iot prison — is one of Israel’s largest detention centers and has been site to frequent tensions between administrative detainees and prison personnel in recent months.
More. . .

INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
INCLUDING  A  CHILD,  THREE  PALESTINIANS  KIDNAPPED  IN  RAMALLAH  AND  JERUSALEM
August 30, 2015
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, the town of Silwad, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, kidnapped a child, and held his 10-year-old brother in the bathroom while interrogating and threatening him. The army also kidnapped two young men in occupied East Jerusalem.
____The child, Hamza Shokri Hammad, 15 years of age, was kidnapped after a large number of soldiers smashed the family’s main door, and detained him in one of the rooms after forcing him brother Bilal, 10 years of age, into the bathroom, where he was threatened and interrogated.
____Hammad was taken prisoner before the soldiers left the property; the family said the army confiscated mobile phones, Game CD’s, in addition to destroying a computer.
More. . .

INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
PCHR  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OPT  (20- 26 AUGUST 2015)
August 28, 2015
Israeli forces have continued with systematic attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) for the reporting period of 20- 26 August 2015.
____During the reporting period, Israeli forces used excessive force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces continued to open fire at border areas along the Gaza Strip border. . . .
____In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to use excessive and systematic use of force against peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights activists. . . .
____Moreover, Israeli forces arrested 3 protestors, including 2 photojournalists and a human rights activist, participating in al-Nabi Saleh protest, northwest of Ramallah, under the pretext that they were present in a closed military zone. Two of whom were taken to Benjamin police station, east of occupied Jerusalem, while the third one was taken to Oferdetention facility, southwest of Ramallah.
More. . .

Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network Photo
Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network Photo

ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
VIDEO!  LINA:  STUDENT  ACTIVIST,  FORMER  PRISONER
Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
August 23, 2015
The new short film, “Lina | لينا”, by Palestinian filmmaker Osama Abed, tells the story of Palestinian student activist and former political prisoner Lina Khattab. The 11-minute film, in Arabic with English subtitles, covers Lina’s arrest, abuse by occupation soldiers, Israeli military trial, struggle and her freedom, and her ongoing involvement in the struggle for the freedom of Palestine, its land and people.
____Abed is a filmmaker whose work has been accepted at multiple film festivals in the region and has received awards for his filmmaking from several Palestinian municipalities; he is currently directing “Let Me Live.”
More. . .

Opinion
+972 BLOG
‘WHAT’S  THE  NUMBER  OF  YOUR  ROOM,  CHILD?’
Sawsan Khalife
August 29, 2015
(Sawsan Khalife is an independent journalist.)
[. . . .]
According to Defense for Children International, each year approximately 500 to 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. The most common charge is stone throwing.
____. . . I wondered whether there is a room for children in the West Bank similar to “Room Number 4,” which Palestinian children in East Jerusalem know all too well.
____It would be surprising to find a child, or even an adult, in East Jerusalem who is not familiar with “Room Number 4.” This is the name of the interrogation room in Jerusalem’s police station in the Russian compound neighborhood, where Palestinian residents, including children, are interrogated.
____While hundreds of children are arrested annually, it is the conditions they undergo during their arrest and interrogation that represents possibly the most severe violation, under both Israeli and international law.
More. . .

(Blogger’s note: This poem was written 45 years ago. Its timeliness today cannot be disputed.)

“TWENTY  COMRADES,”  BY  FOUZI  EL ASMAR
Beloved, you ask me
Of life in this prison, this cell
what of the chains
chafing my wrists
what of my food and drink
and the comrades of my cell?

Beloved, let me tell you:
Our clouds are indeed heavy
But our being here
is a smile of spring,
The shock of thunder
in autumn, after draught.
We are not defeated
Like our jailers.

Life in this prison, this cell
is a palm tree impregnated
at the dawn.
My chains are the round
echo of a muezzin,
Their clank is the ringing
of my people’s bells.

Beloved, you as me
of the meaning of my food
Here beloved
we grow like the wild flowers.

And what of
my comrades in this cell? You ask
They are the twenty candles
lighting the darkness of this cell
The twenty songs
shaking the walls of this cell
The twenty revolutions
that will eternalize this cell
And we, beloved
we shall not be stopped.  (June, 1970)

El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.
Available from Amazon.
About Fouzi El Asmar.

Israeli soldiers arresting a Palestinian boy for allegedly throwing stones at an Israeli police station on Salahaddin Street, East Jerusalem. [Middle East Monitor file photo]
Israeli soldiers arresting a Palestinian boy for allegedly throwing stones at an Israeli police station on Salahaddin Street, East Jerusalem. [Middle East Monitor file photo]