Thursday, 20 September 2012

“They shot my father in the head”: interview with survivor of Sabra and Shatila massacre

On Sunday, the 30th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre was commemorated by people of different nationalities around the world. In Lebanon the commemoration was only observed by Palestinians living in refugee camps; Lebanese people were not concerned.

The massacre carried out by the Phalange, a Christian Maronite militia acting in full cooperation with Israel, was among the most atrocious episodes of recent history. But it is still absent from our collective Lebanese memory.

The Sabra and Shatila massacre is another taboo in Lebanon that needs to be addressed publicly and soberly; maybe admitting the wrongdoing could prevent us from further subjugating the Palestinian refugees who are residing here temporarily until they return to their occupied homeland.

The perpetrators of the massacre are still alive and could be found inside and outside Lebanon; so too are some of the witnesses who survived the massacre, and lost their loved ones. They are still awaiting justice.

On 16 September 1982, Jameela Khalifeh was a teenage girl. The three long days of slaughter still haunts her memories.

This week, Khalifeh welcomed us with a smile to her dim apartment on the busy Sabra strip. Outside, there was bustling life: people stopping and shopping at vegetable stalls and bootleg DVD stores.

“I was 16 and had just got engaged,” Kahlifeh said. “I was living at my parents’ home with three sisters and my brother.” more

Freedom Theatre’s Zakaria Zubeidi on 'death fast' in Palestinian Authority detention

Zakaria Zubeidi leaned against the wooden railing in the courtroom for extra support, listening intently to the Palestinian Authority judge’s ruling: Zubeidi would be detained for a further 19 days.

“This court has made an unfair decision against me,” Zubeidi said in an extremely weak voice to a Jericho courtroom full of friends, colleagues and supporters from approximately ten different countries on Monday.

Zubeidi is currently refusing to consume food and water in protest of his detention without charge or trial.

“I’ve been in prison for a long time without evidence. I started a food strike a week ago, and this morning I had a meeting with the doctor in the prison. He told me I have three days to live if I don’t take water. So the court has decided to kill me,” he said.

Zubeidi, formerly the head of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in Jenin during the second intifada, co-founded the Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp in 2006 along with Juliano Mer-Khamis, who was gunned down on 4 April 2011 by an unknown assailant.

Zubeidi had been one of the child actors who was active in the forerunner to the Freedom Theatre. The Stone Theatre, as that project was called, was started by Mer-Khamis and his mother, a Jewish-Israeli anti-occupation activist named Arna. In fact, the theater was built on the top floor of Zubeidi’s home, and Zubeidi’s mother (who was killed during the second intifada, just hours before his brother was also killed) worked closely with Arna. more

Ailing detainee Samer Al-Barq to be moved to Egypt

Palestinian Minster of Detainee, Issa Qaraqe’, reported Thursday that arrangements are being conducted to transfer ailing hunger striking detainee, Samer Al-Barq, to Egypt after a sharp decline in his health condition at the Al-Ramla Israeli Prison Clinic.

Al-Barq is from the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia; he started his hunger strike 122 days ago demanding his release as he is being held by Israel without charges.

Qaraqe’ said that Al-Barq asked to be moved to Egypt to receive the needed treatment especially since Israel is refusing to release him to receive treatment at a Palestinian hospital.

Israel will be moving him to the border with Egypt where an Egyptian Ambulance will be waiting for him; arrangements are underway through the Red Cross to allow his family to see him before he is exiled to Egypt.

In related news, Qaraqe’ said that an Israeli Military Court decided, Wednesday, not to renew the Administrative Detention order against detainee Hassan As-Safady, who started his hunger strike 92 days ago, demanding to be released. more