Ameer Makhoul: “Solidarity tastes different inside prison”-Ameer Makhoul writing from Gilboa prison, Live from Palestine - 30 August 2010
The following is an edited excerpt from a 7 August 2010 letter written by Ameer Makhoul from Israeli prison. A human rights defender, the director of the Arab nongovernmental organization network Ittijah, a leading voice of the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and a Palestinian citizen of Israel, Makhoul was arrested during a raid of his family home in Haifa in the early morning hours of 6 May. For the following eleven days Makhoul was held in isolation, denied access to a lawyer, and subjected to torture. Rights groups have condemned his political persecution and the criminal proceedings launched against him.
My trail is still somehow stuck. The system is structurally and politically Shabak-oriented, not justice-oriented. My human dignity, basic human rights and constitutional rights are suffering from basic violations. I still have no permit to meet my lawyers without being recorded. The ruling of the three judges is to justify the decision of the attorney general of Israel and the Shabak to ban free meeting with my lawyers in prison. The judges insist that such a meeting should be done through the glass separation wall and through a telephone in order to ensure recording of the whole conversation.
On its face the process as well as the procedures look fair, but essentially, systematic, structural and political violations of my basic right to fair procedure are practiced. The role of the attorney general is to criminalize me, not to seek truth.
In Gilboa prison there are approximately 600 Palestinian and Arab prisoners of freedom distributed into sections/branches. The distribution of prisoners is geopolitically oriented: prisoners of the West Bank, prisoners of 1948 (including occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights) are together, while in the prisons located in the Naqab [Negev], prisoners of the West Bank are separated from those from Gaza. And prisoners from Gaza are separated along affiliation to Fatah or Hamas. The borders on the ground of the occupation based on the Apartheid Wall are valid in the prison demographic policy of distribution. It is the nature of imposed fragmentation in order to undermine the struggle against one of the biggest systematic colonial crimes and to weaken the collective struggle by destructing its structure of continuity and interaction.
I am doing a lot of efforts to bring hope and steadfastness to freedom prisoners. It is one of my missions inside prison. I have to keep in contact with Ittijah and the community and all solidarity movements, groups and persons, but most of all I have to correspond intensively as much as possible with my daughters Hind and Huda, who have become mature fighters for freedom, justice and dignity and mostly bringing back the happiness of life which was highjacked on 6 May at 2:30am. My wife Janan is leading in a heroic way the whole campaign as well as facing huge tasks at home.
Your letters are needed; the taste of solidarity is different in prison than being outside. The taste reflects the great solidarity, support and empowering acts.