A young Palestinian girl, Hiba Allah Mohammad Ishaq Yaghmour, from Hebron City in the southern West Bank is in Israeli prison. Monday, 17 April, marks the annual “Day of the Palestinian Prisoner.” More than 9,400 Palestinian political prisoners join Yaghmour in the 30-some odd Israeli prison system.
Throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, prisoner support societies are hosting marches, demonstrations and sit-ins to protest the continued illegal detention of Palestinian political prisoners.
The issue of the Israelis holding Palestinian political prisoners has become extremely sensitive as the numbers grow and securing their release continues to top the list of societal and governmental priorities.
Israel is known, not only through personal accounts, but by internationally acclaimed human rights organizations as well, for violating the simplest human rights of Palestinians in its prison system, from taking them out of the occupied areas and into its own, to disallowing proper medical care, to extended sentences without charge or trial.
Cases of physical and psychological torture are also well-documented and family visits are routinely denied. The life of a Palestinian inside an Israeli prison is, according to prisoners and their support societies alike, to be one of the ugliest aspects of Israeli occupation.
Women are subject to gender-based abuse, from strip searches to beatings and torture. They are also often denied access to visits with their children, as are male prisoners. However some children born in Israeli prisons are allowed to stay with their mothers, which often is the best option the newborn has.
The issue of prisoners is one of hundreds of egregious acts, including choking the West Bank with settlements and checkpoints, invasions, killing, more arrests, land confiscation, Wall construction and Judaizing Jerusalem and Hebron.
The southern West Bank Hebron District proportionally bears much of the brunt, with 1,900 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including 26 children.
The girl, Hiba Allah Mohammad Ishaq Yaghmour, from Hebron, is just 15 years old. Her family begs the question whether there is any law whatsoever. She has been imprisoned for more than a year.
She was born into a small and poor Hebron family on 23 September 1990. She has three brothers and was a student. Her family spoke via telephone Monday. PNN later came to realize that this was easier on the mother, as she holds her daughters notebooks, photos, and cries amongst her things.
Her mother told PNN that on Saturday 26 February 2005 her ninth grade daughter headed to school when Israeli soldiers occupying the area incurred quickly into the center of the town. Israeli forces opened fire on the area of the Ibrahimi Mosque, leaving five bullet holes. They also hit the child in the stomach with an explosive bullet, those that come apart inside the body doing maximum damage. They are illegal under international law.
The Israeli authorities put the girl in Hasharon Prison after a month in West Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital before she recovered from her injuries. And despite being promised proper medical care from inside the prison, the girl has received none. The Israeli prison doctor now insists she needs none. Both local and international human rights groups have had no luck in trying to intervene.
Lawyer Wael Hegazi affirms that the girl committed no crime. She was heading to morning prayers before school. This, he says, could not happen anywhere in the world without someone taking note, particularly not by a government that considers itself “the only democracy in the Middle East.”