Bihlam Samhan is a woman recently released from Israeli prison. She spoke to the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of political prisoners during a nonviolent demonstration at the Bethlehem branch of the Red Cross on sunday.

Highlighting the experience of all women held captive in Israel's prisons since the 1967 occupation began, the struggle against which women have been at the forefront, she said, “Hundreds of women have been killed, injured and imprisoned. During it all they set one of the most beautiful examples of steadfastness and sacrifice.”

A delegation of demonstrators, who are among those who protest on a weekly basis, gave Red Cross representatives a letter of demands to improve the humanitarian conditions of the prisoners. The list included the provision of medical care and adequate food, and an end to the policies of solitary confinement, physical inspections and attacks.

Head of the Commission of Political Prisoners in the Legislative Council, Issa Qaraqa', was among the signatories of the letter. Walid Al Houash was another of the speakers at the afternoon event. He honored all political prisoners for their heroism which “proves that the Palestinian people will move forward under the banner of struggle until all objectives have been achieved, including the Right of Return, self-determination and a sovereign state.”

Joining the women were several sons, husbands, brothers and fathers holding photographs of their loved ones at the event sponsored by the Palestinian Prisoner Society. Its director, Abdullah Alzagari, spoke to the crowd in which he addressed the Israeli violation of international law in imprisoning Palestinians.

He called to escalate the campaign of resistance against imprisonment and paid tribute to the families who demonstrate and support the political prisoners “in the face of the Israeli aggression that threatens the existence of our people.”