Western media gives us statistics about the exchange of Palestinian and Israeli hostages going on currently under the temporary cease-fire negotiated by Qatar and other nations. When the hostages are the settler-colonialist Israelis who were living illegally on occupied Palestinian land just miles from Gaza, we get their life stories.

Recently released Palestinian youth from Israeli prisons waving Hamas flags.

Fortunately, Resistance News Network has posted comments from several of the imprisoned Palestinian women and youth freed during the exchange. Unlike the Israelis, most have been held for years without trials or in many cases without charges. They are the hostages Israel has held to maintain their illegal occupation.

Here are some of their stories, first reported by the Resistance News Network.

One liberated Palestinian child recounts the feelings shared by him and the others who were released: “From the moment the war began, we knew that we would leave [the prison]. When we were in prison, we weren’t worried, because we knew that behind us are men, the honorable people of Gaza. The best people are those of the resistance.”

Liberated prisoner Nufuz Hammad stated: “We were subjected to severe abuse by the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces during the release procedures. I was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder, of which I spent two years in prison. The [prisoner exchange] deal was the beginning of a new life for me, and the prison is a nightmare that has ended, and I hope that male and female prisoners will gain freedom soon.”

Ahmed Bashar Abu Alia of Ramallah, one of the youth freed in the resistance’s prisoner exchange deal, described the moments before his freedom. Ahmed was wounded at the time he was imprisoned and hugged his mother for the first time since. He received zero medical treatment in the prisons.

Ahmed stated: “The last two months were extremely difficult. In the prison, they would enter and beat us. Most of us would hope for the day of release. They told me I had an interrogation. They made us take off our clothes and gave us these clothes. After they beat us, they gave us these clothes.”

He thanked the resistance, noting: “This war is a war of liberation of prisoners, and the next will be for liberation of land. … The youth’s hope is in the resistance. If it wasn’t for the resistance, no one would have hope. Our hope is only in the resistance. Our trust in the resistance is high.”

Mohammed Nazzal, a 17-year-old from Qabatiya, Jenin, had a sling on his arm when he got off the bus after his release from Naqab prison. He reported that prison guards broke his arm and fingers a week ago, and moments before his release, they beat his back. Mohammed said, “They didn’t offer me any medical treatment. The Red Cross gave me this sling, not the prison services. I spent a week without treatment. … Naqab desert prison is very difficult. The conditions of the prisoners are like death. I am young; I can handle it. The elderly prisoners can’t. …The prisoners are steadfast, and all of them will be released. It’s easy for all our prisoners.”

Like Bashar Abu Alia, other prisoners were subject to interrogation before they were released. Yazan Bani Jaber was told he was headed to an interrogation moments before he was released as part of the prisoner exchange deal. He stated: “The conditions in the prisons are difficult. There is no food or drink, and they are being beaten daily.”

All of the quotes come from Resistance News Network at t.me/PalestineResist 

Betsey Piette

Betsey.Piette@workers.org

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