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PHOTOS: Street exhibition confronts Israelis on Palestinian Prisoners' Day

Members of Activestills posted a public street exhibition on the streets of West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv of photos that bring attention to Palestinian Prisoners Day.

Photos by: Ahmad Al-Bazz, Shiraz Grinbaum, Keren Manor, Anne Paq, Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Yotam Ronen, and Oren Ziv

A relative hangs a photo of Haled Muheisen prior to his release from an Israeli jail on October 17, 2011, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya.

The following text, in Hebrew, accompanied street exhibitions of the photos from this essay which were posted in public places in West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv the night before Palestinian Prisoners Day, April 17, 2013. Images of the street exhibitions, some of them later defaced, follow below:

April 17 commemorates Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. As of February 2013, there are 4,713 Palestinian men and women held in Israeli prisons. Of these, 169 are administrative detainees, held without an indictment; 235 are minors. Since the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, more than 700,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel. To this day, dozens of Palestinians are taken away from their homes, workplaces, schools, and from different checkpoints on a weekly basis. Some are detained for days, some for weeks, and some imprisoned for unlimited periods of time.

The hunger strike is a protest tactic that started as an unorganized form of resistance to Israel’s use of administrative detention, torture, humiliation, and other forms of abuse that Palestinian prisoners experience in Israeli prisons.

In 2012 and 2013, nearly 2,000 Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike, some of whom reached the military medical center after dozens of days without food. Thousands of Palestinians have joined protests outside the prisons’ walls. Protest tents, strikes, and other solidarity demonstrations with the hunger strikers in the West Bank and Israel have been brutally suppressed by Israeli forces, resulting in scores of casualties.

Samer Issawi has been on hunger strike for more than eight months, and other prisoners are joining him. They only ask for a fair trial. Their medical condition is deteriorating by the minute.

Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi is taken to his court hearing in the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem, February 19, 2013. Some 800 Palestinian political prisoners imprisoned in Israeli prisons were refusing food in solidarity with four fellow inmates, Ayman Sharawneh, Samer Issawi, Tareq Qa’dan, and Ja’far Aiz Din.

 

Tariq Issawi holds a photo of his wife visiting their son Samer Issawi, who has been on a hunger strike in Israeli prison, October 10, 2012. Samer Issawi was one of more than 1000 Palestinians released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in October 2011. He was re-arrested for allegedly violating the terms of his release which stated that he remain in Jerusalem, but has been held under administrative detention since his re-arrest. He began his hunger strike on August 1, 2012.

 

Palestinians waiting outside Ofer military prison for the prisoner exchange to take place. October 18, 2011.

 

Demonstrators dressed as Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who had been on hunger strike, march during a protest to mark seven years of struggle against the wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in, February 17, 2012.

 

Activists demonstrate solidarity with Samer Issawi and other Palestinian political prisoners, in Damascus gate, outside the Old City, Jerusalem, March 12, 2013.

 

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian activist during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, Ofer Military Prison, February 28, 2013.

 

Palestinians celebrate the arrival of released Palestinian prisoners at the Presidential Compound in Ramallah, December 18, 2011. Israel released 550 Palestinian prisoners in the second and final phase of the Gilad Shalit swap with Hamas.

 

Demonstration in front of Ramle prison in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi, February 2, 2013.

 

A relative of the deceased Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat holds his photograph as she and other family members wait for the autopsy results in their home, Sa’ir, West Bank, February 24, 2013. Arafat Jaradat, 30, from the Palestinian village of Sa’ir died on February 23, 2013 in Israel’s Megiddo prison. According to human right reports, Jaradat died either during or shortly after he was interrogated.

 

Poster showing Palestinian prisoners at a demonstration in support of Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners in front of Ramle Prison, Israel, May 3, 2012.

 

 

Hana Shalabi inside the solidarity tent in Gaza city, Gaza Strip, May 7, 2012. Hana Shalabi, from the West bank village of Burqin near Jenin was exiled to the Gaza Strip for three years by the Israeli authorities as part of a deal which ended her 43-day of hunger strike protesting her administrative detention without charge.

 

Khader Adnan plays with his daughter on his first day out of Israeli jail in the West Bank village of Araba, near Jenin, April 18, 2012. Israeli authorities released Khader Adnan on April 17, 2012, from administrative detention after he was held in an Israeli jail for four months without trial. Adnan protested his imprisonment and was on hunger strike for 67 days.

 

Graffiti painted to welcome Khader Adnan is seen in the West Bank village of Araba, near Jenin, April 18, 2012.

 

A Palestinian doctor checks Thaer Halahleh, a former Palestinian administrative detention prisoner, in a hospital in the West Bank city of Hebron, June 6, 2012. Israeli authorities released Halahleh from administrative detention after he spent 78 days on hunger strike.

 

Solidarity tent with Palestinian prisoners, Gaza, May 14, 2012.

 

Activists put up a street photo exhibition in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, West Jerusalem, April 17, 2013. April 17 marks the annual ‘Palestinian Prisoners Day’. It was initially established to remind the public of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners that are imprisoned in Israeli jails, where they are routinely exposed to torture and other inhumane treatment. The exhibition was put up in various locations in West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

 

Tel Aviv residents pass a street photo exhibition in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, April 17, 2013.

 

A woman passes a Tel Aviv street exhibition on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, April 17, 2013.

 

Another street photo exhibition in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, Tel Aviv, April 17, 2013.

 

Racist comments are written on a street photo exhibition posted in Tel Aviv the night before in solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners Day, April 17, 2013.

 

Text explaining a Tel Aviv street exhibition in solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners Day is defaced and torn, April 17, 2013.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn9

      You know of course that when most Israelis see pictures of prisoners they think each one of them is guilty of organizing a suicide bombing or a similar violent act and feel zero empathy. But hey, you’ve done something so pat yourself on the back and forward and onward and all that.

      Reply to Comment
      • A presumption of guilt on the charge of suicide bombing (or abating) is not identical to guilt. You actually want State declared guilt ever adequate for Palestinian imprisonment? These emotions you evoke can turn elsewhere, looking for new victims.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          See the comment below mine. I didn’t have time to go through the photos and find the child murderers, but somebody else has apparently done that already.

          Until the Palestinians can differentiate between monsters and heroes I have zero empathy for their struggle, cause or prisoners.

          Reply to Comment
          • There is no single “Palestinian.” But, then, total war makes one, doesn’t it? Not all Administrative Detainees are in the category of Kuntar–but I think you know this.

            Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          And just for emphasis, let me relate to you the actions of the man in the first photo – Samir Kuntar – “eyewitnesses said he smashed the head of 4 year-old Einat on beach rocks and crushed her skull with the butt of his rifle”

          This is a man who was declared a national hero in Lebanon, was presented a medal in Syria and who apparently the Palestinians look up to. Note that he isn’t even a Palestinian. He is a Lebanese Druze. So… why is his face on that wall? Is it because he became a hero to Palestinians for brutally killing a 4-year old Israeli child?

          You can read more about him on Wikipedia:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Kuntar

          So.. What do these kind of exhibitions confront Israelis with? Is it really the suffering of the prisoners or is it the seeming approval of Palestinian society of any and all brutal acts of violence against Israeli civilians?

          Reply to Comment
          • I agree with you–and would include Sharon in that camp. But, then, that was war, wasn’t it?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Sharon’s claim to fame was bashing in the skull of a 4 year old with a rifle butt?

            Reply to Comment
          • Oriol2

            Well, perhaps we should remember the al-Burej and Qibya massacres, where Sharon was directly involved, and other “incidents” of that period, and also the killings of Sabra and Shatila, even if I admit that the ultimate responsibility for the latter is still open to discussion. (Not that I doubt that Sharon is guilty for them, but certainly someone could not agree. In the case of the deliberate massacres of civilian population at al-Burej and Qibya there is no room for doubt.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Sharon was also a brilliant military commander that crossed the Suez in 1973 and trapped an Egyptian army which forced the Egyptians to end the war. Sharon was also a brilliant politician who managed to pull Israeli settlers out of Gaza. One can remember him for those even if he has some dark spots on his resume.

            What is it that Lebanese Druze Kuntar did other than bashing in the skull of a 4 year old that put him on that wall in the house of a Palestinian next to a picture of an imprisoned and beloved family member?

            Reply to Comment
    2. dan

      the first photo includes a picture of Lebanese terrorist and child killer Samir Kuntar next to the family photo. this should be mentioned in the caption.

      Reply to Comment
      • BOOZ

        Good remark.

        The slight sympathy I could have felt for political prisoners is lost precisely because of this picture of-let’s say it again-this terrorist and chikd killer who has been traded for 2 dead men.

        Reply to Comment
    3. I have no doubt that many of these prisoners have done things or abetted crimes I would abhor. But the issue of prolonged hunger striking is distinct from this; in fact, it can transform the hatred of the past. These strikes are not tactic but redefinitions of existence–for the prisoner who walks near to death, and the State which looks on. The moment of redefinition can be an escape for the trap both sides endure. The question is really what do those released after prolonged strike do. What is Adnan now? He may be an Atlas, trying to lift a new world.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        If the goal of the hunger strike is to pursue the same genocidal struggle as the one that put the prisoners where they are there is nothing transformational about it. It is just another tactic in a war. The Americans have recently have had less issues with prisoners. Maybe they have found a better way to conduct wars?

        Reply to Comment
        • The question before us is whether Adnan is now in “the same genocidal struggle.” I think not; but only Adnan can tell us.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            You think Adnan who was a leader of the Islamic Jihad and encouraged suicide bombings has turned into Gandhi just because he went on a hunger strike?

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            To be fair, Patrick Magee, although he didn’t go on hunger strike, has conducted IRA attacks and bombings on innocent civilians and politicians alike. He went to prison, gotten several life sentences, yet he was realised during the Good Friday agreements. He has reconciled with the victims of his attacks and led seminars around the world about reconciliation (with those who were affected by his actions). This is a person that the British public viewed as a cold-blooded terrorist, but fast forward 20 years later it’s a different time.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Since there is NO Arab terrorist who would express any kind of remorse, your analogy is rather irrelevant.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Magee never expressed remorse over the bombing, he has defended the bombing actually, he just expressed remorse over the loss of innocent bystanders.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Some quotes from Magee
            ‘ “I regret that people were killed, I don’t regret the fact that I was involved in a struggle.

            “I believe if you look back objectively at the root causes of this conflict you will see that all avenues were closed to us, that our only recourse was to engage in a violent conflict.”

            “I’ve sat down with victims it wasn’t for them to be convinced of my arguments, it wasn’t for them at the end of the day to receive an apology from me. I think the bottom line was for them to understand a bit better what motivated me and people like me.

            “It does cause a re-appraisal of the past but my bottom line still is that my involvement in the Irish Republican Army and the whole armed struggle was necessary simply because we had no other course. But I have to regret the fact that people were hurt.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Regardless, go back 30 years, and you would hear the exact words attributed to the IRA. The British public viewed them as cold-blooded terrorists that are not capable of remorse. But evidently when they started listening, it became a whole different picture.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Started listening…

            Well, we are listening to Palestinian Arabs for some 150 years now.

            You know better than me what we are hearing.

            Sorry, but it is not our fault.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            You aren’t very consistent with your arguments Trespasser.
            You’ve denied there was an occupation several times, then you denied there were Palestinians, and now you claim to have been listening to them for the last 150 years?

            Seriously, pick one argument and stick with it. Evidently in the last few weeks you were going on and on about how there is no occupation (obviously you were not listening to Palestinians) and you only stopped because I pointed out that the Supreme Court of Israel recognizes the Palestinian territory as occupied and as such is legally binding to all courts in Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Since there is/was no “Palestinians” (or, rather, too many diverse ethnic groups were carrying this name, which was later hijacked by Arabs), we could not listen to them.

            However we were listening to what Palestinian Arabs are saying – which is somewhat limited to “almut lyahud”, as you surely know.

            As of occupation – I’ve repeated numerous times that opinion of Israeli court (or ICJ for that matter) is nothing but interpretation of law, and us such have rather questionable powers.

            Reply to Comment
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