At dawn on Friday, January 8th, armed Israeli soldiers raided the house of Palestinian farmer and human rights defender Khaled Daraghmeh (Abu Jamal), from the village of al-Luban al-Sharqiyya, southern Nablus district. After desperate attempts by his wife to stop the soldiers, who brutally assaulted her, they arrested Abu Jamal and took him to an unknown destination.
On Sunday, January 11th, the Israeli judge at the Israeli military court of Ofar, where Palestinians are usually tried, Abu Jamal was unconditionally released, according to his lawyer.
Although Abu Jamal had to spend only a few days in Israeli colonial jails, he endured ruthless torture.
Commenting on the humiliation and torture he encountered during interrogation, Abu Jamal stated:
When they raided my home and interrupted my and my family’s sleep, heavily armed Israeli soldiers handcuffed, blindfolded and forced me to get into a military jeep full of soldiers that I could not see. Yet, I could feel their presence next to me controlling any movement made by me on the way to the interrogation center.
Once I arrived in the interrogation room; the Israeli jailers stripped me of my clothes except for my underwear. In a cold and dirty interrogation dungeon full of Israeli interrogators I was suspended on a chair with my hands handcuffed.
I do not know how long I stayed in that painful position as in jail we are denied any information about the time; and we do not see the sun to tell if it is dark or not; but I can tell that I was suspended on the chair almost naked for several hours. One of the interrogators who happily enjoyed my humiliation and dehumanization said to me “we want to make you die from the cold, Abu Jamal.”
The Israelis arrested me for a ‘crime’ I did not commit. Rather, they are the ones who endlessly keep committing crimes against me, my family and the people of my village.
For them, my guilt is that I am staying steadfast on my land; and try all the time to protect it from settlers; the other guilt is that when the Israeli settlers, with full impunity from their state, violently assault me, I defend myself and my children.
If justice is to be fulfilled one day, the settlers and the Israeli army who aggressively attack me and my people on a regular basis are the ones to be prosecuted. They are the criminals not us.
Just one more act of repression…
The arrest of Abu Jamal comes as part of the systematic violence and intimidation of Israel’s apartheid regime to ethnically cleanse Abu Jamal from his land.
Since about seventeen years, Abu Jamal has been subject to various forms of violence with repetitive detention as one of these forms.
The Israeli authorities seek to expel Abu Jamal from the old Ottoman Khan he lives in. If they succeed to do so, the Israeli occupation authorities can also seize large swathes of lands belonging not only to Abu Jamal, but also to his people, which the Khan blocks access to.
As he lives in that strategic location that would expand the surrounding illegal settlements and ghettoize al-Luban al-Sharqiyya, Abu Jamal usually bears the brunt of the assaults of the Israeli settlers and army.
Nonetheless, throughout the years, Abu Jamal has succeeded in mobilizing his people to counter the endless brutal attacks of settlers at them while trying to loot their lands. Thanks to the efforts of Abu Jamal whenever settlers raid al-Luban al-Sharqiyya, tens of people from the village peacefully confront them.
Abu Jamal also seeks to make his and his people’s struggle more visible and more heard. In Palestine, he wants other villages and towns to follow on their footsteps of steadfastness to disrupt Israel’s settlement expansion project swallowing Palestinians’ lands.
Across the world, Abu Jamal seeks to convey his voice to uncover Israel’s apartheid crimes against him and his people; and to hold them accountable for these crimes.
Abu Jamal is an example of a steadfast farmer, human rights defender, a father and a community influencer struggling against an entire system of Apartheid to exist peacefully in his land. Rights groups and organizations around the world must mount efforts to protect Abu Jamal from the endless violence of Israeli apartheid.