Thursday, January 15, 2009

Imprisoned women appeal for news of families in Gaza


15.01.09 - 11:00

ImageJenin / Ali Samoudi – Palestinian political prisoners from the Gaza Strip are suffering a severe dearth of information about their families.

The Israeli prison administration has all but banned news, reports the Palestinian Prisoners Society. “The suffering is exacerbated when contacts with relatives are disallowed.”

Earlier this week a PPS lawyer discovered that dozens of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have gone to the Israeli prison administration during the past 20 days to ask for the slightest contact with family members, but every request has been denied.

Family visits and contacts for political prisoners from Gaza have been difficult for at least four years during which time the transfer of funds to prison store accounts, the Cantina, have been banned.

Fatma Azzak is a woman who is sentenced to 14 years in Israeli prison. She suffers as thousands do: her medical condition is being untreated. Azzak is awaiting an operation scheduled for two months in Kfar Saba Hospital.

The situation inside as the horrors of Gaza unfold is worse, she told her lawyer this week. “I ask that the Palestinian people unite and stand to thwart the aggression on Gaza.” Azzak continued, “Our hearts are heavy and sad for children, women and the elderly who want peace and are instead faced with aggression at home. I am saddened by the static of conscience.”

Azzak is from the Gaza Strip and does not know if she will ever see her family again. She says action is necessary, not words. “We do not expect food and drink. We want the world’s one billion Muslims to stand beside us, not kneel. We will not be broken inside the closed borders.”

Vera Habib is also from the Gaza Strip. She told her Prisoners Society lawyer that her appeal is to anyone who will listen. “We want to appeal to the conscience of humanity. Please allow us to speak to our children, to communicate with our families, to learn of their fate. The denial of this right is part of the war waged by the occupation against out people.”

There are approximately 11,000 Palestinians currently in Israeli prisons, including women and children.