Translatd by Saed Bannoura-IMEMC

Saturday, October 30, 2004, was supposed to be the most beautiful day of Shima’s life. On this day she refused to go to kindergarten in order to wait for her father who was scheduled to be released from prison. She had spent too many years deprived of his love.

Shima’is 5 years old. She woke up very early with a wide smile on her face. “She never stopped talking about him. She spent all night long talking about her father being in administrative detention, and how he will return, and the way her sister and brother in addition to herself will receive him at home at tell him “Happy Eid” after the end of Ramadan,” her mother said.

“I want to play with my father, they took him away from us, I want to live as the children in this world do, I want to feel the love of my father,” Shima’said.

The mother, who could do nothing but wait, was unable to find the words to explain to her daughter why her father had not come home yet. Every time the doorbell would ring Shima’ would jump to open it, hoping it was her father.

She would discover that the person knocking on the door of their home was not her father, she would cry and scream, “I want my father back!’

“She keeps crying and asking to see her father, she refuses to eat without him, and always thinks that he is on his way back home,’ the mother said.

Each time Shima’s father is to be released the Israeli Prison Authorities renew his administrative detention for three or six months. Her mother is unalbe to tell Shima’ when her father will return.

Sheikh Khaled has been in “Ofer military detention” for three years. His children are still waiting for him to come home.

Ahlam, Sheikh Khaled’s attorney, said that Israeli prison authorities have repeatedly denied his release.

“He has not been charged with any thing, his children do not even know what he looks like except when their mother shows them his pictures. The Israeli authorities are keeping him there, without a reason or any charges,’ his lawyer said.

“He was arrested on May 28, 2002, after Israeli soldiers conducted wide scale arrests in Jenin. They arrested Sheikh Khaled and transferred him to Ofer detention without trial or interrogation, and just kept him there. They have renewed his administrative detention period five times.’ The mother said.

Sheikh Khaled Al-Hajj works as a teacher in Jenin. He was the political spokesperson of Hamas in Jenin before he was arrested, and did not have any relation with the armed wing of Hamas. The Israeli authorities did not press charges against him. But they keep him there and apparently intend to keep him there for an indefinite period.

The Israeli authorities claim that the security services have what they described as “secret evidence” about his activities that cannot be revealed for “security reasons.’

He was offered a “deal” to be released and deported out of Palestine or stay in Ramallah, but he rejected it since he was not charged and therefore not convicted.

“The suffering in prison is nothing compared to deportation, or ‘imprisonment’ in one part of the country, without being able to live with my wife and children,’ Sheikh Khaled said.

Sheikh Khaled told the military judge that it is illegal to bargain and force him to choose between leaving his county and leaving his family. “Leaving my country is part of the Israeli policy which aims to force us [The Palestinians] out of our homeland, and empty it from its rightful residents.’

He remains in detention without trial or charges.

In Israeli detention camps there are more than 800 administrative detainees, among them 200 who have been in detention for more than two years.

Sheikh Khaled, along with the other Palestinian detainees, live a life of suffering. It is also a life of steadfastness and hope; hope for a day of freedom, not personal freedom, but the freedom of an “imprisoned nation”