Palestinians in Palestine and all over the world are marking the annual Prisoners’ Day in solidarity with their fellow countrymen incarcerated by Israel.
Prisoner’s Day has been commemorated since 1974 after a Palestinian detainee, Mahmoud Hijazi, was released in a swap deal with Israel.
There are currently more than 6,500 Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails under inhumane conditions. One in every four Palestinians has at some point been detained since Israel’s occupation started in 1948.
Helmi al-A’araj, of the Hurriyyat Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights, said: “As long as Israel occupies the Palestinian territories people will continue resisting this occupation and this is why there’s ongoing arrests and this huge number of prisoners in Israeli jails. Israel seeks to terrify the people and break their will and send a message to everyone that resisting Israel will lead to them to jail.
“Today we are speaking about 6,500 prisoners, including 62 female detainees, 350 children and 500 administrative detainees who are held without charge or trial. Also 48 detainees have spent sentences between 30 and 20 years”.
Israeli authorities detain minors but treat them as adults, according to numerous reports by human rights organisations, which also accuse Israeli forces of abusing Palestinian children and using force during detention and interrogation.
This is what allegedly happened to Ahed Tamimi, the imprisoned Palestinian teenager who has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance. A video has emerged showing the teen being sexually harassed by two Israeli interrogators, who remarked on her appearance and attractiveness.
Ahed Tamimi’s father says the harassment is a way of pressuring her to break her will and tarnish her image as a resistance icon for Palestinians.
Bassem Tamimi said: “Ahed’s experience with detention and interrogation is similar to what happens to all Palestinian prisoners. At the end of the day it’s part of an attempt to break her will. Ahed was exposed to psychological and physical pressure to force her to speak and break her will and tarnish her image, but she remained silent because she feels responsible towards the just cause of Palestine, and this reflects the ability of the children of Palestine to remain steadfast in the face of oppression.”