Living in the Northern Mountain, overlooking the center of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and most of its neighborhoods, the family of detainee Sa’id Al Ataba, are still waiting his release, as they did for so many years, without giving up the hope that one day their dream will come true, and he will be able to welcome him back home.Nearly thirty years ago, in July 29, Al Ataba was taken prisoner by the Israeli soldiers.
As prisoner swap talks and many media outlets are reporting on a possible prisoner swap deal between Palestinian factions holding and Israel soldier captive, and Israel, the family of Al Ataba is hoping that he would be freed in this deal.
The family is living endless suffering as their son was kidnapped by the soldiers nearly 30 years ago and was imprisoned since then.
Um Radi, the 73-year old mother of Al Ataba, spoke to reporters who gather at her house each time there are talks about prisoner swap, to interview her and her family.
“Nothing changed, our situation is still the same”, she said, “my son is still behind bars”.
Despite her bad health conditions, she still receives the reporters and residents with a smile and shows them his pictures hanged on every corner of the house.
She managed to visit her son in January and described the visit as one of the “most beautiful moments in her life” but these moments ended when the soldiers said that “visiting hours are over”.
After she came home, she became sick and never left home again.
When asked about her feelings as the press talks about a possible prisoner swap deal, she raised her hands in the sky and said “I hope that God will fulfill my wish, and enable me to see him before I die.
“He was taken prisoner in 1977, he was only 26 years old and about to get married”, she stated, “But the soldiers kidnapped him”.
Um Radi also stated that her husband suffered a heart attack while visiting their son in Nafha Israeli prison and died.
Two years later, two of his uncles died, and also his grandparents and aunts died.
He couldn’t attend any funeral, his imprisonment kept him isolated and suffering as he was unable to see any of his relatives before they died”.
His story was told by several media outlets, after meeting his family, relatives and friends, but the most recent letter he sent from prison was foretelling of his steadfastness in spite his extended imprisonment.
“My name is Sa’id Wajeeh Al Ataba, born in Nablus in 1951, I greet you, and great every Palestinian, Arab and Muslim, from my cell in Asqalan prison, I remind you that am still here, still imprisoned… struggling and fighting my bars and jailors, transforming the thorns into a new dawn for you, to tell you that we are born free, and will die free”.
“I was taken prisoner 29 years ago, since 1977; I want to remind you that my comrades and I are still here, still suffering and subjected to illegal practices. Will there be a new dawn for freedom? Is it the time to place the issue of the detainees back to its position as a top priority?”
“I lived 29 years of torture in Israeli prisons, am a Palestinian who is searching for the remains of an old wound inflicted by the Israeli occupation, am still living in a world filled with injustice and oppression, I wite my name with determination to remain among the loyal fighters for their land and people”.
“Our struggle is long, and left its marks on the body of every Palestinian, our struggle is the struggle of every Palestinian, and is continuous… endless”.