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Palestinians celebrate release of Issawi despite Israeli threats
Published Tuesday 24/12/2013 (updated) 25/12/2013 15:03
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(MaanImages)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Defying Israeli warnings banning celebrations, dozens of Palestinian Jerusalemites on Monday evening celebrated the release of prominent prisoner Samir Issawi in his hometown of Issawiya in East Jerusalem.

Upon Issawi's arrival to the neighborhood Monday night, young men carried him on their shoulders while dozens waved Palestinian flags chanting slogans in support of Palestinian prisoners still in Israeli custody.

The crowds described Issawi as a "legend" who had managed to return to Jerusalem thanks to his strong will and "empty bowels," referring to his 266-day hunger strike while in prison.

Prior to his arrival in Issawiya, Issawi was received in Jericho by the Palestinian minister of prisoners' affairs Issa Qaraqe and chair of the Palestinian prisoners' society Qaddura Faris, along with other officials.

The Palestinian Authority governor of Jerusalem Adnan al-Huseini and the governor of Ramallah Layla Ghannam welcomed Issawi at his home in Issawiya. They applauded Samir for the legendary 9-month hunger strike which secured his release.

Issawi thanked the Palestinian people and "all free people of the world" for supporting him during his hunger strike.

He highlighted that his hunger strike was dedicated to the people of Gaza who paid a heavy toll while Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was in captivity in the Gaza Strip, referring to the intense Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza, which killed around 1,400 people.





Prior to his release on Monday, Israeli forces raided his family home and threatened his family that they would not allow any celebration of his release to take place in the neighborhood.

The day before, Israeli forces raided his house and handed notices to his brother and father demanding they meet with Israeli intelligence forces.

Issawi was released as part of an agreement in which he ended a 266-day hunger strike in April, during which time he became an international cause célèbre who focused attention on the plight of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Issawi's hunger strike was one of the longest in history, and brought him close to death.

Issawi was originally arrested by Israeli forces during the Second Intifada, but was among hundreds of prisoners released in 2011 as part of a deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The release agreement confined him to Jerusalem, but he was re-arrested in July 2012 after traveling to a village that is mostly in Jerusalem but also partially in the West Bank.

He subsequently launched a hunger strike against the renewed detention, and only concluded the strike after Israel agreed to release him.

5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails as of Oct. 2013, according to the Palestinian Authority's ministry of prisoners' affairs. Another 1,280 are in Israeli prisons for being inside Israel without permits.

Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel, representing 20 percent of the total population and 40 percent of all males in the occupied territories.

Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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1 ) Christian / Germany
24/12/2013 12:31
In the past two months, 4 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 15 attacks conducted against security personnel and civilians, including 6 stabbings. In the course of 2013, Palestinians perpetrated a total of 150 acts of terror - an average of one every two days. Get these released criminal back behind bars. The United Nations requires seven million blankets for the Arab refugees displaced due to the Arab's civil war in Syria, please send as many as you can spare. Thank you and Merry Christmas

2 ) Wardah Abd-Al Hadi / Oman
24/12/2013 14:48
ALIF MABROOK ya Samer Issawi, HERO of Al Quds, W.Bank, Gaza, (ie: all of Palestine), the Palestinian Diaspora & citizens of the 'free world'. So glad to see you finally released, as promised by the occupation. Salem to you & your family. - It would be nice if Maan could get the video clip from Al Jazeera news, seeing the homecoming celebrations live was really heart warming.

3 ) Tina / Lebanon
24/12/2013 15:38
Christian of Germany,you are one true racist.Apparently Hitler did leave heirs in Germany.These detainees whom you call criminals are defending their homeland, families and freedoms. How are you to judge them?What have you ever accomplished to be judging people who were born and raised under brutal occupation forces?Act of terror you say?!what about all the genocides committed by Israel in Palestine and Lebanon?You speak as if you have a higher rank than others,,well sir that is called Zionism!

4 ) Rami / Palestine
24/12/2013 15:46
#1 You urinated all over the Palestinians and then wished them a merry Christmas. As a Palestinian christian, I do not accept your holiday wishes. And for the record, it's not an "Arab civil war" but two independent civil wars. One is Egyptian and one is Syrian and both have nothing to do with Palestinians.

5 ) Sean / Ireland
24/12/2013 18:15
Christian, you tell us that Palestinians committed 150 acts of terror but neglect to mention what the Israeli's have done. It's akin to a burglar who steals all your possessions, terrorizes you and your family and then takes your home but when you attack him to get it back he complains that you are abusing him. What Israel has done is wrong and the whole world knows it. Don't try to defend the indefensible.

6 ) josh / usa
24/12/2013 18:33
@ 3 and 4, this HERO, took a gun and started shooting women and children. this HERO made bombs that were used to kill people. the bombs were used in attacks on Israeli schoolchildren. explain again to me how is that defending anybody?

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/12/2013 00:55
To Christian #1: 'In the past two months, 4 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 15 attacks conducted against security personnel and civilians, including 6 stabbings. In the course of 2013, Palestinians perpetrated a total of 150 acts of terror - an average of one every two days. Get these released criminal back behind bars.' If there's any room for them after all the Israeli Jews who committed vastly more and more heinous crimes in the same period are locked up, sure.

8 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/12/2013 00:57
To josh #6: '...the bombs were used in attacks on Israeli schoolchildren. explain again to me how is that defending anybody?' That's easy. It's defending one's people the same way it was defending one's people when the resistance of fighters of World War Two used the same tactics against the Nazi conquerors of their era.

9 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/12/2013 01:25
To Sean #5: '... It's akin to a burglar who steals all your possessions, terrorizes you and your family and then takes your home but when you attack him to get it back he complains...' Assuming the burglar was still in your house when you 'attacked' him, this would be a valid analogy.

10 ) dtfj / dtj.kz
25/12/2013 04:54
@1.no problem

11 ) Rami , you arre a Christian / who either does not
25/12/2013 10:10
understand the ARAB "SPRING" or just chooses to lie Everything in the Middle east is part of the MEGA REFORMATION THAT ISLAM IS GOING THRU The Palestinians are nothing but the CANNON FODDER OF ISLAM to exterminate ISRAEL and thus are part and parcel of what is going on in the ARAB WORLD.

12 ) Lilith / The World
25/12/2013 12:22
Once again the Arabs show what they are. Fancy hailing a murderer as a hero.

13 ) Chimo / USA
25/12/2013 14:22
Considering the fact that Palestinians celebrate whenever a jewish mother or child is killed by your terrorists, it is no wonder that there will never be a so called Palestine. Palestinians do not want peace with Israelis, they want to kill them, but the Jews will not be the hapless victims that they used to be. The intellectual dishonesty of so many leftist liberals who condemn Israel (like that filth Roger Waters) guarantee that Israel is right and totally justified in what they do. Merry Xmas

14 ) Maureen / Australia
26/12/2013 06:07
#13 Chimo Guess you weren't in New York when Israelis were celebrating on the roof tops 9/11? BTW, why do you leave Christ out of Christmas?
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