[Ppnews] Israel stopped mother visiting prisoner son for 11 years

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 26 14:05:19 EDT 2011

Israel stopped mother visiting prisoner son for 11 years

<http://electronicintifada.net/people/rami-almeghari>Rami Almeghari
25 October 2011

"Eid was born on the night of Eid al-Fitr 47 years ago," Eid Abdallah 
Misleh's mother, Umm Eid, explained, referring to the feast marking 
the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, "So we named him Eid to be a 
good omen for our family. This day is also Eid for me, as my son has 
been released from the Israeli occupation's jails."

Indeed, it was a celebration for Misleh, back with his mother, his 
wife Umm Ubaida, his daughters, Shaima, 23, Israa, 21, and his son 
Ubaida, 19, and many extended family and friends in Maghazi refugee 
camp in the central Gaza Strip. Six days after his release, friends 
and family continued to flow to Misleh's home to welcome him back.

He had just served almost two decades in the Israeli desert prison in 
the <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/naqab>Negev (Naqab) and was 
among the 477 
prisoners released as part of the recent prisoner exchange deal 
between <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/hamas>Hamas and Israel 
that also saw a captured Israeli occupation soldier returned from 
Gaza to his home.

Returning home to Maghazi

"While I was riding the bus on the way to Maghazi, I bet with my 
fellow passengers who were released prisoners like myself that I 
would recognize Maghazi. But as we got closer to the camp, 
I  discovered that many things have changed since I left twenty years 
ago," Misleh told the Electronic Intifada," as he, seated next to his 
mother, received people coming to congratulate him and his extended family.

"I hope that all other Palestinian prisoners will be released from 
the Israeli occupation jails," said Misleh, whose family comes 
originally from the village of al-Batani, now in Israel, before they 
were expelled to Gaza in 1948.

"Inside the prison, we followed all the developments in the occupied 
Palestinian territories, including the so-called peace process. In 
1999, I recall that the 
Authority announced that Israel would release hundreds of prisoners 
and I imagined myself to be one of those released, yet I was 
disappointed later to hear that only prisoners belonging to 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/fatah>Fatah and some other 
factions would be released. I kept up my hope every time we heard 
about a prisoner release."

Sentenced to 100 years, denied family visits for 11 years

Misleh, a member of the military wing of Hamas, was arrested from his 
family home by Israel's 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/shin-bet>Shin Bet secret police 
in 1992, two years before the creation of the Palestinian Authority 
under the <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/oslo-accords>Oslo 
accords. He was sentenced by Israel to 100 years in prison for 
involvement in armed resistance against the Israeli occupation in Gaza.

"The hardest moment I recall was right after Eid's arrest by the 
Israeli occupation on the first day of Ramadan," recalled Umm Eid, 
"Shaima, who was only three years old at the time asked me, 'Grandma, 
what is my father going to eat to break his fast today?'"

"I cried a lot and felt a great deal of sadness for this little girl, 
adding to my own agony," Umm Eid said, "Can you imagine? I was denied 
permission to visit him by the Israelis from 2000 to 2011, for 
unclear reasons."

Israel has routinely denied visitation rights to prisoners, a 
violation of international law that has been regularly condemned by 
the <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/icrc>International Committee 
of the Red Cross.

Hard to believe Eid is home

Down the street from Umm Eid's small house is another, nicely 
decorated with paintings, while on a table lay candies and sweets for 
those coming to offer congratulations. There, Eid's wife Umm Ubaida, 
along with Israa, Shaima, and Ubaida looked cheerful, though with 
reddened eyes from tears that have accompanied the high emotions of 
their father's return.

Drawing a long breath, Umm Ubaida exclaimed, "I cannot describe my 
feelings, I cannot believe my eyes that Eid, my dear husband is now 
among us, is now speaking to us, touching us and showering us with 
his emotions, which we have missed for about twenty years now. Thank 
God, first and foremost, and then thanks to the men of resistance who 
managed to bring him and many others back to their families. May God 
bless them for such a great victory."

Missing family milestones

Eid's absence from the family home "left a great vacuum in our 
lives," Umm Ubaida reflected, "I have endured a lot, acting as a 
father and mother at the same time."

"Two close members of my family, including my eldest brother Salem 
and my nephew, died while I was in prison," Eid Misleh recounted, 
"Actually, there were many moments of my family's lives that I was 
told about by phone, I missed them all."

"When Ubaida became an adult, I felt I could not give him the 
attention and care that a father can give, and I felt very 
depressed," Umm Ubaida said of her son, "and during the weddings of 
my two daughters I couldn't stop myself bursting into tears. It had 
been as if their father was dead, because we never imagined he could 
be released one day."

Now, Eid Misleh says of his son Ubaida, who has lived with a speaking 
disability since early childhood, "I hope that I will compensate him 
for the years of deprivation of having a father. I recall when I was 
told that Eid was first enrolled at school when he was a child, I got 
very sad, being deprived of the moment a father takes his son or 
daughter to school on the first day."

"While growing up, I used to dream of uttering the word 'dad'," said 
Misleh's daughter,  Israa, "a word that many children around me used 
to say, and I can only say these days that my father is among us."

"When I was a child, if I used to go to the grocer to buy something, 
I would get sad just seeing a man with his young child buying 
something," she added, "But for me the saddest movement was the day I 
got married." Instead of sharing that day of joy with her father, 
Israa recalls crying at his absence. All that seemed to be wiped 
away, however, as Israa affirmed that her father's return is the most 
joyous occasion of her life.

A brother comes home

In the street next to Eid Misleh's home, his brother Misleh gave a 
cheerful welcome to The Electronic Intifada. A year young than Eid, 
the two brothers had a special relationship.

"I feel that my soul has been returned back to my body," Misleh 
Misleh said. "I belonged to the Fatah party of Palestinian president 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/mahmoud-abbas>Mahmoud Abbas and 
he belonged to the Hamas party but we chose the same path, resisting 
the Israeli occupation." Eid's brother too says he spent several 
years in Israeli prisons.

Education despite imprisonment and deprivation

Despite the harsh conditions of imprisonment and deprivation of 
family visits, Eid Misleh was able to gain some education, enrolling 
in a correspondence course from an Israeli university. He had made 
his way half way toward a degree in international relations.

"As you see these books on the shelf, they are all books that I 
studied inside the prison and I managed to have them sent to my 
family throughout the past years," Misleh explained, "The Israeli 
prison authorities denied me the right to pursue my education for 
five years and afterwards I was able to resume my study through 

Misleh says he has two semesters of courses to complete and intends 
to complete his education now that he is home in Maghazi refugee camp 
among his family.

A message to Israelis

Eid Misleh, student of international relations, freed resistance 
fighter and resident of Maghazi refugee camp had a message to send to 
Israel, which he preferred to state in Hebrew, not Arabic:

"I want to send a message to the Israeli community that we are a 
people who love peace and seek a Palestinian state with sovereignty. 
But the battle we have with the occupation has been imposed on us by 
the occupation itself. As long as the Israeli occupation persists, we 
are determined to continue on our path until we restore our legitimate rights."

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip

Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110

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