Diaries of My Happiness and The Pain of Prisoners!

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In my heart, in the depths of my heart, with all my heart, I love Palestine and the Palestinians. In the depths of my heart I feel close to all Palestinians, even to the persons who hate me. I have never hated a Palestinian or anybody; I ONLY hate injustice and the occupation. I hate the prisons and the jailers as much as I love peace and freedom.
I do not hate Mahmoud Abbas, Mohammed Dahlan, Salam Fayyad, … and others from Fatah and Hamas in person, but I hate the Israeli occupation as much as my longing for my homeland, just peace and a Palestinian state.

Thus my anger at Palestinian National Authority and Fatah increases as far as my sense of injustice of the Israeli occupation increases in my soul. The Israeli injustice lives with me, 24-hour, and 1440 minutes daily and has never left me live in peace with myself, my thoughts, dreams and hopes.

Last Friday, two days before my birthday which was buried in the cemetery of Al-Shuhada Street in the heart of Hebron on July 31, 2002, when I was forced to leave my homeland Palestine, and three days before the conference “The Urgency of Addressing the Plight of Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israeli Prisons and Detention Facilities” at the UN in Vienna, I received an E-mail titled “happiness – happiness”.

The E-mail carried a special kind of “happiness, happiness”, a message from Israel, landed in my mailbox. The “happiness, happiness” which I received was the same as the “happiness” which my family, I and all Palestinian live since decades. Almost 63 years of catastrophe (Nakba), from the so-called zionist “state” of Israel, and now “happiness, happiness” in the form of filthy words, the only kind of words I have ever known to come from jews.

Received: from ([])
by omail126.walla.co.il ([]) with HTTP;
Fri, 04 Mar 2011 10:54:22 +0300
From: happyness happyness <happyness2006 [at] walla [dot] com>
To: kawther_salam [at] yahoo [dot] com
Sent: Friday, March 4, 2011 9:54:22

you bitch
we’re after your fat  ass

On Monday Morning, March 7 2011, I attended the opening of the meeting “On the Question of Palestine” at the UN office, where the representatives of both Palestine and Israel sat not far away of each other. The images, together with the “sweet” taste of the “happiness, happiness” message sent to me by the zionist Israel is still in my mouth.

I did not shake hands with the Palestinian Authority delegation from Ramallah, I am not happy about the USELESS “peace process” which has brought me more Israeli threats and deported me to the exile. The Israeli zionist occupation does not understand the language of peace. Israel ONLY understands theft, murder, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, not only in Palestine but in the Middle East and around the world. The opening session of the meeting started while I was not yet awake of the horrible images in my mind.

I was forced to wake up, to listen to the bitter words about the Palestinian prisoners and to take some pictures of this international gathering. In my opinion there is no real justice on earth and in the heaven. If there was a sense of justice, then we as Palestinians would not live decades, 63 years under the terrorist Israeli occupation.

The minister of the prisoner affairs, Issa Qaraqe, delivered his speech about Palestinian prisoners at the Israeli jails while I was completely absent minded. His words mixed with my thoughts and feeling and added more bitterness to my morning and my day. His speech left me between the severity of the alienation in the exile and the suffering of prisoners in the cells of torture, the harassment at the Israeli prisons and detention centers.

Qaraqe said: “The question of prisoners is a central one. It is a practical and effective benchmark in the construction of a just peace in the region, a pivotal question for the resolution of the conflict. In the twenty-first century – the age of justice, globalization, democracy, human rights and the rule of law – oppressed peoples rising against dictatorships and repressive police States in order to gain dignity, freedom, respect for their humanity and freedom from fear, oppression, imprisonment, persecution or terrorism” said Minister Qaraqe at the beginning of his speech.

He added: “Yet, a wave of religious and racist extremism is gathering pace in Israel, a wave of hatred and incitement to murder. Senior Israeli rabbis recently issued rulings calling for the creation of extermination camps for Palestinians. The rulings, which are considered binding, were reported in the newspaper Yediot Aharonot on 16 January 2011. They came in the wake of other expressions of racism and incitement.

In 1999, the former Israeli Prime Minister and current Minister of Defence Ehud Barak said, “Let them rot in jail”. In 2004, Tzahi Hanegbi said, “Let them die”. In this climate of intellectual and cultural extremism, male and female soldiers openly dare to put live feeds and pictures on websites and other media, showing them in prisons or detention centers, dancing and enjoying themselves next to handcuffed and blindfolded men and women in cruel and degrading positions. Examples include the pictures posted by the Israeli conscript Eden Abergil on her Facebook page late last year. Other pictures were to follow, showing soldiers treating prisoners as sub-humans, as hunting trophies and objects of torture, distraction or enjoyment.

Qaraqe said: “This meeting is taking place at a time when Israeli society is moving deeper into a climate of racism and extremism, and shedding any ethical or humanitarian dimension. The State of Israel is becoming the State of Sparta, a military and Intelligence State. This meeting is therefore faced with tasks that go beyond the working papers under consideration. From a cultural and pedagogical point of view, it is imperative to face up to ideas of enmity and extermination that are gaining ground in Israeli society, puncturing the Israeli myth of so-called purity of arms and that of the most moral army in the world.
The difficult and deteriorating conditions of detainees in occupation prisons are largely a result of the militarism and extreme nationalist education of Israeli society, both of which affect the treatment of prisoners.

Peace and human rights education are completely absent from Israeli curricula. That is why one encounters painful scenes in which Israelis treat prisoners as though they were not human. You must read the accounts of assault, abuse and torture at the hands of prisoners and interrogators. Prisoners are beaten with helmets and rifle butts, and exposed to angry dogs and electric shocks. They can be tightly bound or forced to strip, crouch, imitate the voices of animals, sing the Israeli national anthem Hatikva, or drink urine or boiling water. Child detainees in particular can be threatened with sexual abuse. Such methods reflect the moral, professional and cultural decline of those in power in Israel.

The text of Minister Qaraqe speech is below:

In this humanitarian and cultural battle, you should read the testimonies of occupation soldiers in the book “Breaking the Silence” by the Israeli author Yehuda Shaul. The book describes the treatment of Palestinians and prisoners by Israeli Army soldiers, a treatment which Shaul describes as barbaric.

In the context of this meeting, it is also important to confront the pronouncements made during the war on Gaza by Israeli Army rabbis, who called on the Army to be more barbaric and authorized the slaughter of civilians in war. Such statements were reported in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on 27 January 2009. In the same way, you should confront the book “The King’s Torah” by the Israeli rabbi Yosef Elitzur, which calls for the killing of non-Jews.

At this meeting, you should not omit to ask the State and Army of Israel why they executed prisoners who had been imprisoned and shackled; why they opened fire on prisoners bearing white flags during the war on the Gaza Strip; and why they used civilians as human shields during military operations, all events that were documented in the Goldstone report.

Not content with punishing the living, Israel has also punished the dead. The bodies of martyrs have been secretly kept in military graveyards. Some have been kept there for 30 years, including that of the martyr prisoner Anis Dawla who died in `Asqalan prison in 1980. The bodies of over 320 martyrs remain in military graveyards inside Israel.

The leader of the Nachshon Battalion, Dudi Oberman, must be asked why he allowed soldiers to beat detainees. The Israeli judicial adviser Shai Nissan must be asked why he stated that it was not a criminal act to beat Palestinian detainees. The Israeli Minister of Public Security, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, must be asked why he jails children from Jerusalem and denies that they have immunity.

We hope that this meeting will ensure that the plight of the prisoners is on record, and that their legal and humanitarian status as prisoners of war is recognized. They must not remain at the mercy of illegitimate military orders and laws. The issue of prisoners does not concern Palestinians alone. Humanity as a whole must shoulder its responsibility and offer legal and humanitarian protection.

I am alarmed that the Government of Israel continues to eschew its commitment to all United Nations treaties, conventions and resolutions concerning Palestinian prisoners.
Israel is in contempt of the values and principles that are recognized all around the world.
It defies the international community by acting as a State above the law. I am alarmed at the silence of the international institutions. There has been no effective intervention to counter the continuing policy of torture, the use of internationally prohibited techniques on young and old alike, and the extraction of confessions under pressure and threats. Some 90 per cent of prisoners are denied access to a lawyer, in violation of the Convention against Torture. Israel continues to use torture, which it authorizes through legislative and judicial decisions.

An official Israeli document prepared by Israel Security Agency on 24 November
2008 authorizes Israeli interrogators to use physical and psychological torture on detainees and to imprison their relatives in order to intimidate them, a practice to which the head of the Interrogation Division has admitted. I am alarmed at how the medical plight of ill, disabled and paralysed detainees continues to deteriorate. There is a policy of deliberate medical neglect. Necessary treatment is denied and operations are delayed. Health care is often replaced by pain killers. Access to medicine, doctors and medical facilities is refused in violation of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, which guarantee the right to treatment, health care, adequate medication and periodic examinations.

Some prisoners, such as Ahmad Al-Najjar, have cancer. Some, such as Mansur
Mawqada, Ashraf Abu Dhuray`, Khalid Al-Shawish and Nahid al-Aqra`, suffer from horrific disabilities. Others, such as Akram Mansur, suffer from malicious tumours.
Others, such as Jihad Abu Hina and Ziyad Saylawi, are affected by memory loss. Yet others have psychological disorders and are denied adequate treatment. I should like to ask why there has been such an increase in medical problems in prison. A member of the
Israeli Knesset and former Chairperson of the Science and Technology Committee of the
Knesset, Dalia Itzik, has admitted that 1,000 medical experiments were conducted secretly in prison. There are strong grounds to believe that they have continued.

I should like to use the opportunity provided by this conference to call for pressure to be brought to bear to ensure implementation of the World Health Organization resolution that was adopted in May 2010, in which it was decided that a fact-finding mission, that would include the International Committee of the Red Cross, should be sent to investigate the deteriorating health conditions of prisoners held in jail. Here, I should like to note that 26 per cent of the prisoner’s movement martyrs, a total of 202 persons, have died as the result of medical neglect.

I wish to express my concern over the continuing imprisonment by Israel of young children, who are tortured and terrorized. Confessions are extracted from them under duress and they are treated in an unethical manner. There are currently 225 children in the prisons of the occupation, of whom 187 are aged between 16 and 18 years, while the remaining 38 are under 16 years old.

Israel is in violation of international human rights mechanisms and, in particular, the Convention of the Rights of the Child, when its laws consider that Palestinian children under 16 years old are minors and those aged between 16 and 18 years are adults, who are to be judged on that basis. Moreover, the age of a detainee is considered to be as of the date on which he is brought before the court, not the age he was when actually detained. Normally, there is a long period between detention and trial.

Furthermore, there is no commitment to provide judicial guarantees appropriate to the imprisonment and trial of children. The Israeli Government has imprisoned children as young as seven years old. Here, I should like to mention the report issued by an organization of human rights volunteers in Israel, which found that the time taken by
Israeli military courts to extend the detention of Palestinian prisoners and, in particular, children, is precisely 3 minutes and 4 seconds. In recent years, we have begun to see the phenomenon of children being imprisoned in Israeli settlements, where they are interrogated and tortured well out of sight of lawyers and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The situation with regard to children is escalating: they are placed under house arrest and, when detained, they are incarcerated well away from their homes, particularly in the regions of Jerusalem, Hebron and Ramallah. In Jerusalem, 65 children have been placed under house arrest, and one in Hebron, while 20 children from Jerusalem have been taken away from their homes.

I should also like to express my concern over the continuing policy of employing arbitrary administrative arrest. Such arrests may be extended for a number of years, without any charge being brought or any fair trial. At total of 250 administrative detainees, including three Palestinian women, continue to languish in the prisons of the occupation. Since 2000, a total of 20,000 orders for administrative arrest have been issued.

I am further concerned that, for no legal or humanitarian reason, hundreds of prisoner families are denied the right to visit them, which constitutes a flagrant violation of article 116 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, that provides that every prisoner may receive regular visits, including in emergency circumstances.

In the West Bank and Jerusalem, 1,200 prisoners are denied visitors, while in the Gaza Strip. 700 prisoners have for years been forbidden visitors. That prohibition extends to first-degree family members. The problem is exacerbated and the Fourth Geneva Convention persistently violated because prisoners are incarcerated inside Israel rather than in the Occupied Territories. I am deeply concerned by the fact that 12 Palestinian prisoners are kept in solitary confinement, deprived of the most basic humanitarian needs. That harsh punishment has been imposed on some of them for as long as eight years. Such punishment has a severe health and psychological impact on the prisoners. Those prisoners include, inter alia, Ahmad Al-Maghrabi, Ahmad Saadat, Abdulla Al-Barghouthi and Mahmoud Issa, who have been in solitary confinement for eight years, three years, nine years and nine years respectively.

Here I must mention Ra’id Abu Hammad from Jerusalem, who was killed on 16 April 2010 in a solitary confinement cell in Bir Al-Saba’a prison, where he had been kept in solitary confinement for 18 months.

There are currently some 6,000 men and women Palestinian prisoners: the number is continually changing. They are held in 22 prisons, camps and detention centres inside Israel, in contravention of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that the occupying Power must detain prisoners in prisons inside the territory that it occupies. A total of 130 Palestinian prisoners have spent more than 20 years in prison.

Those who have been incarcerated longest are Na’il Al-Barghouthi, Fakhri Al-Barghouthi and Akram Mansour. Inhumane violations and harsh treatment of prisoners continue in the prisons of the occupation. Prisoners are assaulted, their rooms are broken into by special forces and particularly harsh penalties are imposed on them, including financial penalties and deprivation of education and visitors. Those fines are spent on the army and military courts, not in order to improve prisoners’ conditions.

Prisoners languishing in Israeli jails include members of the Legislative Council who were arbitrarily and illegally arrested. They include, inter alia, Marwan Al- Barghouthi, Hassan Youssef, Ahmad Saadat and Jamal Al-Tayrawi. I can say that a silent war is being waged on the bodies of the prisoners in the shadows of the prisons and detention centres, under a cloak provided by the Israeli judicial apparatus, which is unjust and passes arbitrary and racist judgment on Palestinian prisoners. That war is ongoing, and has acquired dangerous dimensions by virtue of a series of laws that deprive prisoners of all their human rights and strip them of their dignity. Those laws include the Shalit Law, which provides that prisoners may be denied visitors and detained for an indefinite term; a draft law that denies a prisoner access to a lawyer for six months; the law on unlawful combatants, which provides that a prisoner may be detained indefinitely without trial and used as a hostage for exchange; and the 2004 Shabak law, which provides that prisoners may be tortured and considered as time bombs, and protects interrogators from being held accountable or prosecuted.

Needless to say, those laws and orders are illegitimate and contravene the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying Power from changing the legislation that was in place before its occupation. The contempt and scorn demonstrated by Israel for the situation of the prisoners and the unwillingness of the Israeli occupier to honour the rights of detainees or implement international humanitarian law and international mechanisms relating to prisoners undoubtedly make the situation daily more serious, which makes it essential that a legal strategy should be devised to provide the prisoners with protection and prevent them from being treated as numbers, ghosts, a means of extortion or items for barter, at the mercy of internal Israeli legislation.

It must be stressed that under article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the aforementioned Israeli practices are serious violations of international humanitarian law and in many cases amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity which, pursuant to article 146 of the same Convention, should be subject to international criminal prosecution, in accordance with universal jurisdiction. That is a general international responsibility while, at the same time, being a particular responsibility of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, pursuant to the first common article of the four Conventions of 1949.

I therefore hope that this conference will support the decision of the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Authority and civil and human rights institutions to request the United Nations General Assembly to adopt a resolution in which it asks the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion to determine the legal status of Palestinian prisoners and detainees held by the occupying Power and the nature of the legal responsibility imposed in that regard on the occupying Power and third parties by virtue of the rules of international law.

The League of Arab States sanctioned that approach at the extraordinary meeting that was held in Cairo on 14 November 2009, as did the First International Conference on Palestinian and Arab prisoners that was held in the Palestinian city of Jericho on 24 November 2009, attended by Palestinian, Arab and international human rights institutions.

We view your support as essential in seeking a judgment from the International Court of Justice on the legal status of prisoners held by the occupying Power and resolving the legal tangles over many issues relating to Palestinian prisoners. It is vital that the Government of the Israeli occupation should no longer maintain its refusal to comply with the hundreds of General Assembly resolutions that have been adopted on prisoners or to observe the Fourth Geneva Convention, or the Third Convention, concerning prisoners and detainees. That Government treats the prisoners as if they were criminals and terrorists, in accordance with its internal military laws and its security and political dictates.

It is essential that the isolation of the Palestinian prisoners should be ended and their legal status determined. Their rights under international and humanitarian law must be identified; they must not be left prey to the dictates of the Israeli forces and their refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the prisoners’ struggle against occupation. United Nations resolutions, whether they concern the right to self-determination of people in general or the Palestinian people in particular, legitimize the Palestinian people’s resistance to occupation. Anyone who participates in that resistance should therefore be described as a lawful combatant and, when seized by the occupying Power, is considered a prisoner of war.

It is of the utmost importance that the International Court of Justice should issue an advisory opinion. The resistance of the Palestinian people has been prolonged and continues in the face of the obduracy and determination of the Israelis to refuse to acknowledge its legitimate right to self-determination and Israel’s determination to Judaize, annex and settle the Occupied Territories, which it desecrates in the presence of their inhabitants. We consider it vital to approach the Court through the General Assembly and address to it the question of the legal status of the prisoners, which of them should be considered prisoners of war, and what laws should be applied in order to protect their rights.

I believe that an advisory opinion would prove an excellent opportunity for bringing pressure to bear on the Parties to the Geneva Conventions to hold a conference in order to discuss, inter alia, the issue of Palestinian prisoners and their rights and the nature of the legal obligations of the Israeli occupier, as well as the role and obligations of the States Parties in confronting Israeli violations of prisoner rights.

Such an opinion would be an opportunity to bring the issue of the prisoners to the attention of the General Assembly and for legal cases to be brought before the courts of States that have accepted jurisdiction in that regard. The Palestinian people has chosen the path of peace based on justice, equality and mutual coexistence, as provided for in international terms of reference and resolutions.

The Government of Israel, however, rejects that peace and is determined, through its actions on the ground, to entrench the occupation ever more deeply and make the lives of Palestinians an intolerable hell, just as it is transforming the land of Palestine into pockets that are cut off from each other by the racist separation barrier, settlements and military checkpoints and persisting in its violations of Palestinian human rights, including those of the Palestinian men and women prisoners languishing in Israeli jails. A determined international stand must be taken in order to protect the rights of our people and rescue them from the claws of this occupation, which is not an enemy of just the Palestinian people, but an enemy of all humanity, that constitutes a dangerous threat to lofty humanitarian values, concepts and principles, all of which are based on the right of the person to live in dignity, independence and freedom, on his own land and in his own country, rather than as a slave, persecuted and abject, at a time when the age of slavery is over.

Israel understands the failure of the international community to undertake its moral and legal responsibilities as encouragement to continue its crimes and violations.

Finally, I appeal to you, in the name of humanity, on behalf of all those who are suffering, and on the basis of the international humanitarian law that is respected in your societies, to undertake your role, not for our sake, not so that we will no longer receive the corpses of our prisoners in coffins, but for the sake of preserving your own humanity, your resolutions and your positions, and take action to end the violations by Israel of the rights of our people and, in particular, our men and women prisoners, and pave the way for a just peace that will ensure that our people has the right, as other peoples do, to self-determination and to establish an independent, sovereign State with Jerusalem as its capital.

2 comments to Diaries of My Happiness and The Pain of Prisoners!

  • Jeff

    Dairies of My Happiness

    should be

    Diaries of My Happiness

  • Dear Ms. Salam,
    The whole of this history is one of the most appalling failures of people to be Human. The threats-insults to you I have recieved also. I am an anti-zionist Jew because I was taught that the well being of any other was a Jewish responsibility and to take even a penny from the floor, without permission was theft and a sin.
    Your strength is very evident but so is your Humanity and thus I write to support you while under assault. You are the opposite of any sick/vicious thing zionists might call you. You are as full the wonder of Human being as any who face real evil to over-come it and thereby better this world.
    Most telling of all re; your assailants, the nazis called many, not least Jews, the same sort of things in order to support the same filthy goals.
    All honour to your striving.
    DARRELL canada

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