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Every April 17th the National Day of the Palestinian People is celebrated, this year 4,450 people have been deprived of their liberty. Israeli prisons have become the yoke of many Palestinians.
Currently, there are 27 women and 175 minors who are under arrest; 671 are in administrative detention, according to the NGO ADDAMEER, an organization that is responsible for supporting prisoners and defending their rights. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) since the beginning of 2022, have detained more than 2,140 Palestinian people. Among these numbers, is the name of a Spanish activist. Juana Ruíz, a worker in the Palestinian Work Committees for Health and who has been living in Beit Sahour, West Bank, for 35 years, was in the opposition prisons for 10 months: “Juana's work consisted of international cooperation, she presented projects on the needs of the Palestinian population, especially in the cities of Bethlehem and East Jerusalem, promoted projects such as the early detection of cancer in women, a job that is done in normal and current Spain "says Jaldía Abubakra, founder of the Alkarama association and friend and companion of Juana. According to the State of Israel, the work that Juana has been doing and the money from her associations was destined for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the second largest movement within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Under international law, administrative detention is only permitted in exceptional circumstances. In the Palestinian territories, these circumstances ceased to be exceptional when Israeli soldiers began occupying illegal Palestinian settlements and detaining minors without reason. The Save the Children organization announces that eight out of ten suffered beatings, verbal assaults and strip searches, and almost nine out of ten did not receive adequate medical attention, even expressly requesting it. One of the laws that is still in force today is the law that the British government proclaimed after the end of WWII, which dictates that the Israeli army could detain suspects without charge or trial to go to prison, as long as it is complied with. with legal age. These arrests are carried out under Israel's civil legal legislation. In the last 20 years, 10,000 minors have been detained, subjected to long interrogations, some of them lasting more than 24 hours, under unimaginable conditions, according to Save The Children. Normally, soldiers break into houses at midnight, when everything is calm and there is no one in the street. On April 13, they entered Juana's house like animals looking for prey and forced Juana to leave her home. "In this case, she has been lucky, because she has Spanish nationality, but we have to say that the response from the EU has not been practical," admits Jaldía firmly. They are 10 months that Juana will never forget. When she entered the Israeli prison of Ofer, she was subjected to long interrogations, to live with constant uncertainty because the accusation made against her was unreal: “it is no longer just the physical abuse that is suffered, but also the psychological, being isolated from your family, without being able to see anyone, all these consequences affect a lot psychologically, Juana is going to need time to recover”. Juana was accused by the Israeli military court of financing terrorism and activism with illegal organizations and currency trafficking in the West Bank. She only dedicated herself to presenting cooperation projects to the Work Committees for Health. The work of cooperating people and human rights defenders is supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, these being fundamental actors to promote real social and political changes. The continuous attacks that the Israeli military army carries out on the Palestinian people have become the daily life of many, since 6,500 of the 2 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank have been imprisoned. Many of them imprisoned without a clear-sighted reason that proves their innocence, without the right to have a lawyer or family visits, and even children of 8 and 10 years who are treated as terrorists and arrested on charges of throwing stones. They no longer only attack the armed resistance, but also the peaceful resistance. "Any people that lives under occupation has the right to resist and has the right to armed resistance," acknowledges Jaldía, alleging the 4th Geneva Convention. "The work carried out in NGOs and therefore, the work that Juana does is not terrorism, it is humanitarian aid work for a people that has been suffering from an occupation since 1948," says Jaldía. The NGO ADDAMEER highlights that among the most prominent crimes and practices used by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian prisoners is the Isolation regime, one of the most dangerous systematic practices for prisoners. The prisoner is locked up alone, in a cell under subhuman conditions, where he is prevented from receiving visits from his relatives, and can only go out to the prison yard handcuffed and without any company, only the police. Another of them is the Administrative Detention, 671 people are imprisoned today under this type of arrest, the highest figure in the last five years. The authorities carry out this type of detention since it allows detention indefinitely, without charge or trial and without discriminating against anyone from the Palestinian sphere. “Israel carries out this type of arrest under the pretext of secret files, there is no charge against the imprisoned person, therefore they do not have the right to a lawyer or to receive visits from family members. Many times, this type of detention lasts up to 10 years, where the Palestinian prisoners have been subjected to brutal beatings and many women to sexual abuse to extract information from them,” says Jaldía. For many of these prisoners, the only way they have to claim their rights is through hunger strikes. Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdah has become the longest-resisting prisoner in this struggle. After 182 days, on September 2, he ended his hunger strike, reaching an agreement with the court for his release. His health has been deteriorating little by little. In a report presented by Physicians for Human Rights they demand a solution for Awada since she has been in serious danger due to brain and nerve damage after the strike. The Palestinian population is subject to double legislation: the Israeli military legislation and the Palestinian authorities. Once they are detained, only the military laws of the Israeli army are carried out. A clear difference in the treatment received by Israeli citizens and Palestinian citizens in detentions is observed in the laws that apply to each one: to Israelis, the laws are applied under the civil legal code of the State of Israel, and in terms of the Palestinians, the military laws of the Israeli army are directly applied to them, (sometimes even resorting to a lawyer is almost impossible, since they are too specific cases and their request is usually denied, as happens with illegal demolitions) But Awad and Juana have not been the exception, many Palestinians have had to suffer the same. "Juana's case has not been a unique case, in Palestine all families live with this uncertainty day and night, but it is clear that she has been a scapegoat for the State of Israel, it is a way of being able to control and pressure the Government of Spain. The Zionist lobby is acting in all countries." affirms Jaldía Abubakra, who thanks to her organization Women for the Palestine Movement has managed to spread the voice of her companions to the rest of the world. And yet, despite all the feeling of returning to their towns and cities, the feeling of fighting to recover Palestine is still present in all of them. “This is my land” is one of the most repeated phrases in all of them and that no matter what happens they will defend it tooth and nail, although sometimes they have to pay a very expensive price, like their life. “When the protests in Gaza began in 2018 with the return marches, Palestinians came out to the borders to claim their land with Palestinian flags, marches that were recognized as non-violent. In these marches, the Israeli army used prohibited weapons such as butterfly bullets. Some bullets that once they enter the bone, cannot get out, causing great damage to the bone tissue and sometimes even amputating the limb,” says Jaldía. The problem of colonization will end when the State of Israel stops occupying Palestinian territories, stops demolishing houses and building illegal settlements, stops cultural appropriation, theft of agricultural land, the bombing of Gaza and the detention of innocent people. . As long as this continues to happen, the rest of the world will continue to be complicit in an Interminable War.
Written by: Belén López Naranjo

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