Grief of Palestinian mothers

Palestinian mothers grieve for children held by Israel

Grief of Palestinian mothers

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Since the creation of Israel in 1967, the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has become one of the most sensitive aspects of the ongoing Palestinian national struggle.

Kahder Dabbana, 31, who hails from the northern West Bank city of Jenin, was arrested in 2002 after being shot nine times by Israeli forces. He was later sentenced to 16 years behind bars.

“Israeli prison wardens in Beersheba jail locked my son in a cage for seven years and tortured him with wild dogs,” Dabbana’s mother, Basheera, told. “Because of these brutal acts, Khader today suffers from severe depression and schizophrenia.”

Since 1967, 206 Palestinians have died after being detained by Israeli authorities, according to the PLO’s Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs. These include 71 who died from torture, 54 from medical negligence, 74 as a result of premeditated murder, and seven killed by Israeli troops, according to the same figures.

“Israel allows me to visit my son once a month for 45 minutes. I leave my house at 6 am and come back at 11 pm,” the distressed mother said. “I can no longer bear to see my son in this situation. He can’t talk, he doesn’t recognize me, and he has lost more than half his weight.”

At least 1,600 Palestinians languishing in Israeli detention facilities have complained of poor conditions and rampant disease.

“The issue of the prisoners is a humanitarian and emotional subject for Palestinians, and Israel exploits this,” Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s committee on detainees, told Anadolu Agency. "The international community must act quickly to end the suffering of Palestinians in Israeli jails."

Hundreds of kilometers away, meanwhile, Yossri al-Masri, 34, from the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, has languished in an Israeli prison since his arrest in 2003.

Serving out a 20-year jail term, al-Masri’s body is now ridden with cancer.

“The cancer has spread to his prostate, small intestine, stomach and liver. My dear son is now between life and death,” al-Masri’s mother, Sbeta Darwish, told Anadolu Agency.

“The last time I saw him was in March; he was in a wheelchair and had lost about 30 kg,” she recalled. “I cried until I fainted because he was like a ghost of his former self.”

She asked angrily: “Where are the Arab and Muslim countries? Where is the international community?”

On May 17, the Israeli Prison Service transferred al-Masri from the Nafha Prison to the Soroka Hospital following the rapid deterioration of his health.

Jawad Boulos, director of the legal department at the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, told Anadolu Agency that the organization hoped to send a specialist to Soroka Hospital to evaluate al-Masri’s health condition.

Boulos added that on September 14 an Israeli court would consider a request for al-Masri’s early release.

Since his arrest some 12 years ago, al-Masri has only been visited by his father – who passed away in 2007 – and mother.

“I spend 18 hours on the road in order to see him for half an hour,” his mother said. “My heart weeps for my son; I’m afraid to hear news of his death at any moment.”

A similar case is that of Mutasem Raddad, 33, from Saida village near the West Bank city of Tulkarm. Arrested in 2006 after sustaining serious shrapnel injuries, he is currently serving a 20-year jail sentence.

“My son, who I haven’t seen for months, suffers from stomach cancer,” the prisoner’s mother, Amenah Raddad, told Anadolu Agency. “The Israeli authorities refuse to release him. They said he would only leave the prison when he is dead.”

“They want to kill him slowly, in cold blood,” she added.

Raddad said she had been prevented from visiting her son after he was taken to the hospital.

“No mother should see her son suffer and die; I’m so scared to lose him,” the grieving mother said tearfully.

According to official Palestinian figures, over 6,200 Palestinians – including some 200 children and 25 women – are currently languishing in prisons located throughout the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Haziran 2015, 17:07