In a press conference held on Sunday in Ramallah, 14 year old Iman, the daughter of a Palestinian held in an Israeli prison, revealed the contents of a letter which she had sent to the mother of Gilad Shalit, the captured Israeli soldier.
Her letter is a plea for peace, a peace that comes from the recognition of the others’ suffering. While recognizing the agony that Shalit’s mother is feeling, Iman asks her if she can bring herself to think about the real issue involved, which is the demanded release of the 1000 women and 300 children held in terrible conditions in Israeli prisons, often for throwing stones and in the case of the women, under various pretexts having to do with Israeli ‘security’.
She asks too that the mother of Shalit consider the terrible, thousand-fold sufferings that families must endure as they await the release of their loved ones, many of whom have been imprisoned for years, without charges filed or trials conducted, often abducted from their homes in the middle of the night by Israeli occupation forces.
There are now 10,000 adult Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons and three hundred children under the age of 18. Human Rights organizations in ,
Iman’s father was in exile in the Maraj a-Zohar camp in
"I am one among thousands of children doomed never to enjoy a smile, a kiss on the cheek in the morning, a comforting hand to soothe our pain and encourage us to advance in life. I am a girl whose foundation stone was taken from her home, her father".
Iman also asks the mother of Shalit to recognize that her son was captured as he was taking part in actions condemned under the Geneva Conventions, without regard as to whether they were right or wrong. She contrasts this with the fact that almost all Palestinian prisoners were imprisoned for exercising their human right to self-defense, that many were imprisoned for performing non-violent acts of resistance.
She continues: "Madam, tens of thousands of prisoners are locked in cells of suffering (your prisons), under fire of murder and cruelty, in rotten cells that burned their youth, their hope and their ambitions. Our prisoners, Madam, do not receive humane treatment, but rather treatment that cannot be described in words; the sole purpose of the treatment is to bring them slow death, and this is after most of them did not even receive permission for us to visit them. Compare your suffering, which has only gone on for a few short days, to our suffering, which has lasted more than 20 or 30 years. I’m sure that your son is receiving treatment due to a prisoner of war, decent treatment as is demanded by our faith and our principles."
Iman ends her letter by addressing not only the Shalit family but all Israelis: " We are at a point where you can take one step and we can take a matching step in order to return our loved ones and hold them close to us. Stop our suffering and yours.
Iman, daughter of a Palestinian prisoner