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Reports from the Tubas Group - One Day the chains must be Broken

Brett Cohen and Tom Hayes | 28.10.2008 18:31 | Campaign against Carmel-Agrexco | Anti-militarism | Palestine | South Coast | World

This is part of a series of blogs from delegation of eight people from Brighton who arrived in the Tubas region of occupied Palestine last week. The delegation is part of the project by the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group. The group's aims are to highlight Israeli war crimes against Palestinians in the region, raise awareness about life under occupation and create practical solidarity links between grassroots organisations in Brighton and Tubas region.

This is an excerpt from Sarah's blog

Arriving in Tubas it feels like any other middle eastern town, nestling in the valley with a mass of olive groves on the surrounding hills and the bustle of people going about their lives. Today there are no Israeli army jeeps on the street and you could almost imagine that life is ordinary and normal. But scratch beneath the surface and you start to discover the reality.

Every home has experienced the heartache of having a son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father in prison, and more often of having several family members in prison at one time. On this years delegation we are being hosted by Tubas Prisoners Society so we very quickly learnt about the thousands of Palestinians in prisons: men women and children.

We met the families of many prisoners, but Jameel’s grandparents stand out in my mind, as they invited us into their living room having spent the day harvesting olives. In 1991, when Jameel was still an 18 year old school student, 12 army jeeps rolled into the town, destroyed the family home and took Jameel away. During his 18 years imprisoned he has spent 3 years in solitary confinement, and has been moved around so much that he has been in every on of Israel's 28 prisons. He is now 35 years old and has lost so much of his life. His health is now very poor but the Israeli's will not allow him to see a doctor. We have heard this so many times from the families of prisoners, that they are denied basic medical care. 186 palestinian prisoners have died due to lack of medical care since 1967.

Prisoner's families are also often punished by being refused permission to visit their loved ones. In Jameel's case, one of his brother's can visit him but the other one cannot: the Israeli's give no reason for this. His grandfather, is not allowed to visit. This time the Israeli's have given a reason: they say he is dangerous – which seems beyond belief as we see him sitting there old and frail. He said to us: "One day the chains must be broken" and Jameels' cousin added: "We, like all humans, want freedom. 1000's have been killed, 1000's imprisoned, but we still want our freedom".

There are 10,000 Palestinians in prison, including 73 women and 340 children, the youngest being 7 months old. More than a 1000 are being held in administrative detention without ever having been charged. Just from Tubas there are 300 prisoners, including 50 who are held without charge, and 30 of whom are students.

Brett Cohen and Tom Hayes
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