February 7, 2013
For long decades, Palestinians have fought in quest of their freedom and justice. Hundreds of thousands were killed, injured or imprisoned at the hands of Israeli aggressors. The Palestinian struggle against Israel represent simple battle between the good and the bad, the evil and innocence. It was always Palestinians who were oppressed, suppressed and humiliated by the state of Israel which pretends to be the finest and sole democracy across the Middle East.
Palestinian prisoners are an integral part of the struggle for freedom and justice. According to many local and international NGOs, the number of Palestinians who were arrested by Israel since 1967 is estimated of 800 thousands. The state of occupation used the method of arrest to suppress struggle of liberation yet it failed to do this. Despite these arrests, Palestinians continue their track for self-determination and salvation from occupation.
Ayman al Sharawna, a heroic Saga
Ayman al Sharawna, 36, symbolizes the plight and suffering of Palestinian prisoners. He spent 10 years in Israeli jails before he was released in Gilad Shalit prisoner swap in 2011. Shortly after he was released, Israel violated its commitment to the prisoner swap deal and arrested him again. In protest of his re-arrest Ayman started an open hunger strike in July 2012. For more than 217 days he refused any compromise but his freedom. His food was only salt and water which left his body struggling to continue his life.
According to Al Dameer Human Rights Association Ayman has already lost 80 percent of his vision in his right eye, which means that Ayman has become almost totally blind. He continues to suffer from severe kidney problems and has begun to suffer from partial memory loss.
The organisation revealed that he continues to suffer from pain in his back, which remains untreated as the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has said it will only give him pain relieving medication if he ends his strike.
Steadfastness and Anxiety
Despite all this pain, Ayman vows to continue his battle. His family is also adamant to support him in his struggle despite the many risks he is going through. The family is keen to have Ayman's hunger strike a success as it will be for the entire Palestinian prisoner movement.
UFree met with the family of Ayman who called on activists, politicians and people to make a move and break their silence before it are too late.
"I appeal to the free world to escalate their struggle to help my brother. I tell them stop being silent. It's the time we act to save Palestinian prisoners. Dozens of them are on hunger strike and at risk of death. I appeal to you to act fast to act now before it's too late. What is Ayman's fault? What's the fault of our family and his kids to continue suffer." Stated Jihad al Sharawna
The oppression of Israel is not only against Ayman but his family and children. Israel is restricting the family visits; they were allowed to visit him four times in 10 years time. This policy is flagrant violation of human rights and is considered to be collective punishment.
According to UFree Network, the family met Ayman one time after 7 years of jail. The visit was very short and did not exceed more than 40 minutes. The journey of the family (it is the case for all prisoner families) include humiliation at Israeli checkpoints plus procrastination and cancellations before a short time.
The Black night raid
Following his release in the prisoner swap Ayman was rearrested on the 11th of March 2012. Huge number of armed Israeli soldiers stormed his house in Hebron and spread panic and fear in the area.
The family still remembers the harrowing moments they went through that time.
"It was a dark and rainy night when Israeli soldiers arrived. I was sleeping when my son came to me and said that there is something going outside. Someone was stoning the house. As we were looking through the windows, we saw the soldiers. They broke into the house and obligated everyone including the children to evacuate the house. They forcefully put us against the wall. They took Ayman and his son Ismail, 18" said wife of Ayman
Israel is known of its bad records in terms of human rights. According to a poll conducted by BBC mid 2012, Israel was ranked as one of the top four countries that have negative influence the word. Geneva's Common Article 3 clearly requires "humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, specifically prohibit(ing) murder, mutilation, torture, cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment (and) unfair trial(s)." Yet, Israel is committing most of these taboos in addition to medical and health care neglect which caused the death of many prisoners.
Fourth Geneva's Article 56 states:
"To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics. Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties."
Meanwhile, Article 91 affirms that "Every place of internment shall have an adequate infirmary, under the direction of a qualified doctor, where internees may have the attention they require, as well as an appropriate diet. Isolation wards shall be set aside for cases of contagious or mental diseases."