The old and the prisoners of the fourth batch and many names .. What do you know about the suffering of giants of patience in the prisons of Israel?

Video duration 02 minutes 32 seconds

Jenin- He almost finished his ninth decade of life, and when Hajj Muhammad Sharif al-Saadi (Abu Imad) lost hope one day that he would see his captive son Raed liberated and hold him to his chest, like thousands of families of prisoners who yearn to see their children and seek their freedom in every place and time.

Raed, 57, is spending his 34th year in the Israeli occupation prisons. He is one of 25 old prisoners or those now called “the fourth prisoners” who are being arrested by Israel and refusing to release them in an exchange deal or other political settlement processes between it and the Palestinian Authority.

Raed is not the only prisoner who counts his hours and days in his cell in Raymond Prison. His father, Abu Imad, calculates them accurately. How can he not, a retired mathematics professor, but he narrates its details to everyone who visits him, as we did with him when we met him at his home in the town of Silat al-Harithiya near Jenin in the northern West Bank.

The father of the captive, Raed Al-Saadi, adheres to his last wishes to embrace his captive son and embrace him before he dies (Al-Jazeera)

In his sharp voice and in eloquent Arabic, Abu Imad started telling Al Jazeera Net about his last wishes to embrace his captive son and embrace him before he died. Gradually, he has not visited him since.

Raed’s courage and strength of character are always present on the lips of his father, and he says, “The sentence was one life for Raed, but it turned into life after Raed said to the judge: I am the one who has to sue you because you are an occupier of my land and my country.”

With these stories and others, the Raed family is patient with itself through the separation and oppression they are experiencing, and they demand that he and his ilk be on the top of the priorities of the resistance and the Palestinian political leadership in all its forms in any upcoming operation.

The long absence..there is no excuse

The same pain experienced by the families of the two captives, Juma Adam and Mahmoud Abu Kharbish, in the city of Jericho, “More than half of their lives went through prisons, this is enough, isn’t it?”

Like any mother, she is now living the signs of her hour, she says, and her hope is that she will enjoy the liberation of her son’s embrace, “and this is what the official leadership and the Palestinian resistance are required to do and as soon as possible.”

Pictures of a group of prisoners in the occupation prisons (Al-Jazeera)

The prisoners of the fourth batch are the old detainees held before the Oslo agreement in 1993, which included their release, but Israel continued to delay until 2013, when it released most of them in 3 batches within what is known as the understandings of returning to negotiations, and kept 32 prisoners (of whom there are now 25 left). Most of them are from Palestine occupied in 1948, most notably Karim Younes, who has been imprisoned for 39 years.

Perhaps those who talk about their suffering are those who lived among them, like the freed prisoner Muayyad Hajji, one of the released prisoners of the third batch, and he says to Al-Jazeera Net, “The most difficult thing for a prisoner to live is the joy of his release and then not fall, so his condition will relapse.”

Hajji returned to us for a few moments before his release, to say that it was ironic that the captive did not carry a letter or a will from his comrades, as he did with them, because they were certain of his release and that it was only a matter of days, “and after all these years there is no excuse for anyone towards you,” Hajji adds.

A failure for all… and Israel’s manipulation and intransigence

The survival of prisoners who spent 4 decades in the prisons of the occupation represents a “failure case” for all the Palestinian national movement, which was not able, through political negotiations or exchange deals, to liberate them, according to the Palestinian leader and head of the Prisoner Club, Qadura Faris.

In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Fares believes that liberating the prisoners in one of two ways is a political process based on international law and recognizing the freedom of the Palestinian people, and the prisoners are part of them, and this is a “closed door” because there is no Israeli partner for a political process – which was already undermined by Israel – that restores rights to their owners.

Kaddoura Fares: Palestinian collective solidarity from the authority, parties and the people with all its components is required to release the prisoners (Al-Jazeera)

This is why the other way remains with the Palestinians’ resistance and their ability to barter and effect prisoner exchange deals, “although the Palestinians are not blamed for liberating the prisoners for their inability to do so in the face of Israel’s intransigence and domination,” says Fares.

And Israel originally manipulated – according to Fares – by dividing the old prisoners into four batches in response to the Palestinian Authority’s requirement to release them to return to the negotiations that stumbled when the occupation refused to release the fourth batch.

And the authority alone, according to Fares, cannot pressure Israel to release the prisoners, and therefore what is required is a collective Palestinian solidarity from the authority, the parties and the people with all its components to achieve this.

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) says that the occupation intends to break the will of the resistance and the struggle of the Palestinian people by prolonging the detention period for long periods, as happens with the old prisoners.

Qassem confirms to Al Jazeera Net that the Wafaa al-Ahrar deal (the Shalit deal), and if it does not include all the old prisoners, it has liberated part of them, and that Hamas has a firm and clear strategy aimed at whitewashing Israeli prisons through “the fulfillment of the free people second and third, for the old prisoners fall into the heart of any upcoming deal.”

control of israel

The Wafaa al-Ahrar deal was not based on the criterion of time and seniority of prisoners as much as the criterion of inclusiveness of all components of the Palestinian people, as the researcher in the affairs of prisoners Fouad al-Khuffash sees, because the release would not have affected this large number of prisoners (1027) and because the occupation refused to release them and kept many names .

The prisoner Muayyad Hajji (centre) was among the third batch released by the occupation in 2013 (Al-Jazeera)

Khuffash says that the authority also had no choice in the releases that took place since Oslo and affected about 10,000 prisoners, whether “good faith” releases as Israel calls it, or within Palestinian-Israeli understandings, “the authority was not serious about releasing the prisoners, and who controls the standards? It is Israel, and that is why those whose sentences are about to end or those with light sentences were released,” Al-Khuffash added.

According to the criterion of seniority, most of the prisoners are old, the activist in the field of prisoners, Amani Farahna, tells Al Jazeera Net, adding that the old prisoners are now at levels, and this applies more to those whom Israel re-arrested from the “Wafa Al-Ahrar” deal, some of whom are over 42 years old, such as Nael Al-Barghouti.

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