Palestinians rally to support prisoners in Gaza, West Bank
Published Monday 16/07/2012 (updated) 18/07/2012 20:44
Thousands of Palestinians marched through Hebron chanting "the people
want the freedom of detainees" at a Monday rally. (MaanImages)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- At a rally to support prisoners in Gaza on Monday, the daughter of a detainee on hunger strike in Israeli jail for 96 days reiterated that his health is failing.
Akram al-Rekhawi, 39, is seeking an early release due to illness, and is being held in solitary confinement in Ramle prison clinic, according to prisoners group Addameer.
A diabetic, he has been held in the prison clinic since he was detained by Israeli forces in June 2004. He has served eight years of a nine-year sentence.
His daughter Rawan condemned the world's silence over his state at a solidarity demonstration outside the International Red Cross office in Gaza City.
"I don't even want to appeal or make demands, as no one cares," Rawan said of her father's case.
Dozens came out to attend the rally, organized by Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements.
Still waiting to visit relatives
Relatives of detainees from the Gaza Strip were able to visit them in Israeli jail for the first time since 2007 on Monday, but the families present at the rally said the concession did not go far enough.
Released prisoner Tawfiq Abu Naim pointed out that more than 400 prisoners are still waiting for a family visit, as just 48 people were allowed to visit 25 detainees on Monday.
Mother of prisoner Maher Al-Bassiouni told Ma'an of her distress when she discovered her name was not on the list of relatives allowed to visit.
She last saw her son six years ago, she said, noting that the only news she has of him is a letter delivered by the Red Cross every three months.
In 2007, Israel started limiting what it considers privileges for Hamas and Gaza prisoners in a bid to put pressure on Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held in Gaza until last fall.
The visitors issue was one of the key demands of the hundreds of prisoners who went on a hunger strike in the spring.
In a deal to end the strike, Israeli authorities agreed to allow limited personal visits.
Also on Monday, thousands of Palestinians gathered in the West Bank city of Hebron to support the efforts of President Mahmoud Abbas to secure the release of detainees from Israeli jail.
'The people want freedom for detainees'
Organized by Fatah, the Palestinian prisoners society and the PA ministry of prisoners, the rally marched through Hebron chanting "the people want freedom for detainees."
Prisoners society Hebron director Amjad al-Najjar addressed the rally by calling for a new strategy to protect Palestinian detainees on an international and legal levels, saying that all the prisoners and their families are support Abbas’ efforts.
There will not be peace as long as there are Palestinians in Israeli prisons, he said.