Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Ghoul calls on resistance to stick to its conditions on Shalit

GAZA, (PIC)-- The minister of prisoners and justice in the Palestinian government in Gaza Strip Dr. Mohammed Faraj Al-Ghoul has called on captors of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit not to ease their conditions for swapping him with Palestinian captives.

Ghoul's remarks came in a rally organized by his ministry in Gaza city Sunday to commemorate the Palestinian Prisoner Day (PPD), underlining that the Palestinian captives have suffered a lot for the sake of Palestine, and that they should be given the attention they deserve from all Palestinian parties.

"The ministry is closely following up the issue of the prisoners despite the circumstances surrounding it, and it strives hard to alleviate the suffering of the prisoners and their families", Ghoul pointed out as he addressed the rally, adding that Palestine was the only state that has a ministry for prisoners as there are nearly 12000 Palestinian captives in Israeli jails.

For his part, Palestinian MP Mohammed Shihab, who is also a prominent political leader of Hamas Movement, condemned the Israeli cruel practices against the Palestinian detainees, explaining that the "harmful" political division in the Palestinian arena has sent the wrong message to the Israeli occupation, prompting it to launch a barbaric campaign against the captives.

He also underscored that Palestinian political detainees (mostly from Hamas) in the PA jails in the West Bank must be immediately and unconditionally released so as to help restore the Palestinian national unity.

"We should extend all possible help to those prisoners for the great and precious sacrifices they had made for the Palestinian issue, and we should do that all the time and not only during the PPD", highlighted Shihab.

Dr. Mohammed Awad, the secretary-general of the PA council of ministers, seconded the remarks of his two colleagues, stressing that his government puts the issue of the captives on top of its priorities. 

He disclosed that the PA government of premier Ismail Haneyya has sent many letters to international parties and legal institutions, including the ICRC, exposing the Israeli violations of international laws against the captives.

Awad emphasized that the international community shouldn't remain passive towards those Israeli violations, and that it should swiftly move to bridle those practices.

Six years of agony in Israeli prisons


The following is an exclusive Press TV interview with Shrirn Sehikh Khalil, a former Palestinian prisoner who had been held in Israeli custody for six years. Shirin is a resident of the occupied West Bank but has been released in the Gaza Strip.

Press TV: Shirin tell us what it was like to spend six years in Israeli jails?

Khalil: I was in Israeli prisons for six years and they [Israelis] kept transferring me from one prison to another. I did not visit my family for six years because although my family lives in the West Bank, they hold Gazan ID cards and Gazans were not allowed to meet me. I had a hard time not being able to see my family.

Press TV: Shirin you were there for six years, tell us how the Israelis treat Palestinians prisoners?

Khalil: Their treatment was definitely terrible. They adopt a policy of solitary confinement and punishment toward us.

They moved detainees from one prison to another to destroy their morale and in the latest of such moves they transferred female prisoners from Hamas and Islamic Jihad to HaSharon prison and female detainees with Fatah and the Popular Front [for Liberation of Palestine] to Damun Prison.

Press TV: What can you tell us about the situation of the detainees -- especially women -- held in Israeli jails?

Khalil: Like other prisoners in Israeli jails who are subject to mistreatment, they ill-treated me; they were no difference between male and female detainees in this regard.

For example, Amal Joma suffered from uterine cancer and Amni Mona developed another disease, Sina Abu Qalam suffered from gastrointestinal and other chronic diseases and Israelis did not provide us with adequate medical care -- they would just give us analgesics.

Press TV: Many describe Gaza as an open air prison. How do you describe it?

Khalil: The situation in Gaza is certainly very painful. No body has been able to enter or leave the Gaza Strip for two years, while unemployment and the lack of vital supplies have made life difficult for the Gaza people.