These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons

These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons

These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons

These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons


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Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have experienced life in Israel's prisons since 1967, as did many more in previous decades during the course of the ongoing Israeli military occupation. Yet rarely has the story of their experiences in Israeli jails been told by the prisoners themselves. Typically the Western media portrays them as 'terrorists' while well-meaning third-party human rights advocates paint them as hapless victims. They are neither. This book permits the reader to access the reality of Palestinian imprisonment as told by Palestinian prisoners themselves — stories of appalling suffering and determination to reclaim their freedom.

The stories in this book are not meant to serve as an account of Israeli torture methods. Instead, each story highlights a distinct experience — each so personal, so profound — in order to underline the humanity of those who are constantly dehumanized by Israeli hasbara and the mainstream corporate media's biased accounts.. While highlighting Israel's brutality, readers come to grips with the resilience and grit of Palestinians and their ability to rise above Israel's cruelty and be emblems of power for their people.

Palestinian prisoners are an essential element in the collective resistance against Israeli colonialism, apartheid and military occupation. Rather than being viewed as unfortunate victims, their steadfastness exemplifies the ongoing fight of the Palestinian people as a whole. Despite Palestinian factionalism and lack of a unified political movement, Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons serve as one of the remaining platforms for unity. Regardless of affiliation, they are treated by their captors in the same debasing manner, often in total disregard for human rights conventions. These heroes of resistance, as viewed by Palestinians, often transcend factional divides. Despite numerous obstacles, they resist their jailers as a collective, enduring their pain and fostering their will together.

In reality, all Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and siege are also prisoners. The Gaza Strip is often referred to as the “world's largest open-air prison.” It is in this context that this book becomes an essential read.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781949762099
Publisher: Clarity Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/20/2019
Pages: 204
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a US-Palestinian journalist, media consultant, an author, a columnist and Editor of Palestine Chronicle. He is a former Managing Editor of Middle East Eye and former Deputy Managing Editor of Al Jazeera online. He is author of four books and a contributor to many others. His books include “The Last Earth” and “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter”. His books were translated to several languages. Baroud has a Doctorate of Philosophy in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter (2015) and was Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies (UCSB).

Foreword by Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. She is also the Palestinian representative on the Council of Europe and is currently head of the Prisoners Committee of the PLC.

Afterword by Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories" and Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

Read an Excerpt

From the Foreword:
The stories in this book are not written to shock you, but, rather, to illustrate even a small part of the daily reality endured by thousands of men and women, who are still confined within high walls, barbed wire and metal doors. When you read this book, you will have a frame of reference that will enable you to imagine, now and always, what life in an Israeli prison is like.

And every story, whether included in this book or not, is not a fleeting experience that only concerns the person who has lived it, but an event that shakes to the very core the prisoner, her comrades, her family and her entire community. Each story represents a creative interpretation of a life lived, despite all the hardship, by a person whose heart beats with the love of her homeland and the longing for her precious freedom. Each individual narrative is also a defining moment, a conflict between the will of the prison guard and all that he represents, and the will of the prisoners and what they represent as a collective, capable, when united, of overcoming incredible odds.

In actuality, these are not just prison stories. For Palestinians, the prison is a microcosm of the much larger struggle of a people who refuse to be enslaved on their own land, and who are determined to regain their freedom, with the same will and vigor carried by all triumphant, once-colonized nations.

The suffering and the human rights violations experienced by Palestinian prisoners, which run contrary to international and humanitarian law, are only one side of the prison story. The other side can only be truly understood and conveyed by those who have lived these harrowing experiences. This book will allow you to live part of that experience by briefly touching the inspiring human trajectory of Palestinian men and women who have subsisted through defining moments, with all of their painful details and challenges.

Here, you can imagine what it feels like to lose a loving mother while being confined to a small cell, how to deal with a broken leg, to be left without family visitation for years at a time, to be denied your right to education and to cope with the death of a comrade. While you will learn of the numerous acts of physical torture, psychological torment and prolonged isolation, you will also discover the power of the human will, when men and women decide to fight back, to reclaim their natural rights and to embrace their humanity.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Table of Illustrations xiii

Foreword Khalida Jarrar, Member, Palestinian Legislative Council xvii

Introduction: Palestine's Organic Intellectuals Ramzy Baroud 1

Hanan is "Tenderness" Wafa Ibrahim Samir al-Bis 11

Ghadeer Mohammad al-Deirawi 19

My Broken Leg: My Soaring Spirit Dareen Tatour 27

For My Little Brother Jalal Lutfi Saqr 37

Avenging Sabra and Shatila Kifah Sobhi 'Afifi 45

Me and Islam Mohammad Mohammad Abu Hasira 55

The Girl Who Did Nothing Dima Ismail al-Wawi 63

Decoding the World Outside Hilal Mohammad Jaradat 71

Love Behind Bars Nael al-Barghouti Iman Nafi' 79

Humanitarian Hero Mohammed Khalil al-Halabi 87

The Cohort of Defiance Khalida Jarrar 95

"I Cannot Lose My Husband" Mohammad Adeeb al-Qiq 105

"They Held a Funeral for Me" Azmi Ahmad Mansour 115

The Boy from Haris Ali Yasin Shamlawi 121

The "Bosta" Is An Iron Cage Khadija Ahmad Ibrahim Khweis 127

Last Words Fouad Qasim al-Razim 133

Miraculous Birth Rafat Salah Mi 'rif 139

Mohammad's Watch Bilal Khaled al-Tammam 145

"No Pain Like Mine" Israa 'Riyad Ja 'abis 155

"I See You in My Heart" Faris Baroud 163

Afterword: Why International Law Matters to Palestinian Prisoners, but Not to Israel Richard Folk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories 169

Appendix: Israeli Prisons 177

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