Gaza hunger-striking women: Release the prisoners first, THEN cancel the ministry of detainees

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Palestinian women are in the vanguard of the prisoner solidarity effort. Every Monday for several years hundreds of mothers, wives, daughters and sisters have been protesting outside the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City about the detention of their fellow Palestinians, and the conditions they are subjected to in Israeli jails.

Less well-known is the fact that many of them have been on hunger-strike in solidarity with their imprisoned relatives or even just the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in general – some for longer than many of the men.

Five of these women today shared brief thoughts and histories with Gaza SCOOP.

Um Alabed Ali

Um Alabed Ali

Um Alabed Ali – Hunger-striking for 35 days.

“They should release the prisoners first, THEN they can cancel the ministry of detainees! But don’t cancel it now, when the prisoners are in a middle of a hunger strike!”

Um Alabed Hmaid

Um Alabed Hmaid

Um Alabed Hmaid – Hunger-striking for striking for 40 days.

“Why would they cancel the minister of detainees? How will we free the prisoners? My son is Nahed Abdulqader Hmaid, he has been a prisoner in Israel for 7 years. Who will help him now?”

Nisreen Abu Amra

Nisreen Abu Amra

Nisreen Abu Amra – Hunger-striking for 20 days.

“I am one of the daughters of a released prisoner, Abdulmonem Amrah. My father was in prison for 12 years. It was a hard life because I was one year old when they imprisoned my father, so I grew up without him. I have four brothers and two sisters, and there was only my mother to try to take care of us all.”

Rehab Kanaan

Rehab Kanaan

Rehab Kanaan – Hunger-striking for 42 days, before the tent was even set up.

“After the sixth day my blood-pressure dropped so I had to stop, but as soon as it was normal I continued my strike. I have been here with this campaign in front of Red Cross for eight days now. I am a poet, I used to live in Lebanon, but I lost 54 members of my family during the war in 1976. All my family: my husband, my children, my brothers, my sisters, my father and mother were lost in that war.”

Aisha Salibi

Aisha Salibi

Aisha Salibi – Hunger-striking for 40 days.

“I’m against the decision of cancelling the ministry of detainees because it is a national humanitarian issue. It should be at the top of the priorities. The prisoners need help. I am in solidarity with all the prisoners, particularly the prisoner Lina Jabouni, who has spent 13 years in Israeli jails.”

Translation by Abdallah Abulaban

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