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Who Will Help Baby Ayesha?

Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Al-Jazeerah, November 15, 2006

While America's and the rest of the world's attention was focused on the U.S. midterm election, Israel murdered 70 and injured 200 hundred Palestinians in Gaza and Jenin. Among the dead in the town of Beit Hanoon were 19 civilians, 17 from the same family which included 7 women and 10 children (the youngest being an 18 month old girl). The question is: Why massacre Palestinians?

As I sat down to write a story about little Palestinian girl that has been been stuck in mind ever since early November, news of the bloodbath in Palestine began to hit the wire service. Those who lost their lives will no longer suffer from being jailed, expelled, denied the right to return home, or labeled terrorists for resisting a brutal military occupation. However, the plight of this girl needs to be heard, because it sums up the suffering of her people.

The heart breaking story is about a 2 year-old girl who was released from an Israeli prison near Ramallah on Nov.1st. Her name is Ayesha, which in Arabic means "life."

Ayesha was in prison with her mother practically all her life. Ayesha's mother is still being detained under "Administrative Detention," in other words, held on no charge, not eligible for trial, nothing...just a unilateral Israeli decision to detain her for 6 months at a time, already renewed 4 times!

This poor baby. She knows nothing of life but the walls of her mother's prison cell. She only knows her father from visits, when they were possible. She has never seen a road, a city, grass, trees, a real bed, her own bedroom, a park, a real meal, friends, real toys, etc, etc.

I weep for this girl tonight and pity the father as he is bound to be faced with her first question, "Where's mom?," and her mom, who sleeps tonight, alone.

Ayesha's mom is Etaf Alyan, 44 years old who headed a women's organization dedicated to providing heath services for poor Palestinians in Ramallah. During her detention, she went on a 16 day hunger strike before the Israeli authorities allowed her baby Ayesha to stay with her in jail.

Israeli veteran journalist Gideon Levy, who writes for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, on Nov. 5, 2006 equated Mrs. Alyan's plight to the one of an American woman who escaped from Iran with her daughter in early 1980s. That now-famous story was immortalized in the movie, "Not Without My Daughter" starring Sally Field.

Previously, Ayesha's mom spend 10 years in an Israeli jail and was released. Meanwile, Ayesha's father, Walid Houdaly, 46, also spent 12 years in an Israeli jail for being a political organizer. He was released in 2002 according to BBC [June 28, 2006].

Ayesha's father also has three children from his first marriage who live with their mother in Jordan. They are not allowed to enter the occupied territories. He is not allowed to visit them either-unless he promises not to return. The last time he saw them was six years ago. Ayesha has never met her three brothers.

How can such cruel and inhumane treatment take place in a country that claims to be the only decomracy in the Middle East? A basic element of democracy requires Israel to either charge or release Ayesha's mom immediately.

Israel is always eager to allow Western journalist to interview Palestinian prisoners accused of attempted suicide bombings. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Israel remains silent. It refuses to even inform Mrs. Alyan's lawyer the reason for her detention.

It is very obvious and beyond any reasonable doubt in the case, that Israel has failed to respect and totally ignored the human rights of this Palestinian family.

And who will hold Israel accountable? And who will help baby Ayesha grow up without hate in her heart? It is people like you and me, whose tax dollars provide Israel with 3 billion dollars a year-that is 15 million dollars every day the sun rises. And with the U.S. supplied weapons and silence, Israel is able to carry such war crimes.

I already expressed my concern to President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, and the Israeli embassy in our nation's capital. You could do the same in the name of humanity and for the sake of peace and justice for all in the Middle East.

Mahmoud El-Yousseph TSG-USAF[Ret.] Readers Feedback: elyousseph6@yahoo.com

Mahmoud El-Yousseph, OH.


:: Article nr. 28277 sent on 15-nov-2006 13:31 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=28277

Link: www.aljazeerah.info/Opinion%20editorials/2006%20Opinion%20Editorials/November/15
   %20o/Who%20Will%20Help%20Baby%20Ayesha%20By%20Mahmoud%20El-Yousse
   ph.htm




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