Daoud Ghoul, Palestinian youth organizer, was released from the Israeli Gilboa prison on Sunday, 27 November after over 17 months of imprisonment. Ghoul, 33, the director of youth programs for the Health Work Committees and the Kanaan Network of Palestinian civil society organizations, has been subject to a series of repressive attacks since 2014.
Ghoul traveled to Brussels, Belgium in November 2014, where he presented to the European Parliament about the situation faced by Palestinians in Jerusalem, including Israeli moves toward ethnic cleansing, threats to Palestinian life in the city, as well as specific attacks on the work of Palestinian health workers. When he returned to Palestine, on 30 November 2014, he was banned from his home city, Jerusalem. One week later, he was issued an order banning him from the West Bank, and an order banning him from international travel. No reason or justification aside from a vague allusion to “security” were ever given for the multiple orders against him; Ghoul, a resident of Silwan in East Jerusalem, was forced to move to Haifa following these forced expulsion orders.
However, on 25 June 2015, he was arrested by Israeli occupation military forces, one month after the Jerusalem Health Work Committees office where he works was forcibly closed by the Israeli military. The HWC is a Palestinian non-governmental health organization that has worked since 1985 to provide health services to Palestinians under occupation.
He was accused of support for a “prohibited organization,” the Palestinian leftist political party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and sentenced to 18 months in prison. All major Palestinian parties are banned as hostile organizations by the Israeli state; furthermore, indictments for such charges frequently highlight public activities like attending events or giving political speeches.
Ghoul’s repeated orders for displacement and his arrest and imprisonment for over a year come hand in hand with attacks on other youth activists, including Samer Abu Aisha, Hasan Safadi, and Hassan Karajah. They also come as part of an ongoing attack on Palestinians in Jerusalem, including the extremely harsh sentencing of children, the stripping of Jerusalem IDs of Palestinian Legislative Council members, and the ongoing home demolitions, raids and settler attacks on Palestinian Jerusalemites.
Ghoul was welcomed by his friends and family to his home. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network congratulates Daoud Ghoul on his release and demands the freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners and an end to the ongoing attack on Palestinians in Jerusalem and throughout occupied Palestine. We join not only his friends and family in Palestine, but also thousands of friends, comrades and supporters in the Palestinian diaspora, Palestinian solidarity movement and global social justice movement in saluting him upon his release. His words from 2014, at the time of his forcible displacement from Jerusalem, continue to be relevant: “We are not afraid. We are fighting for our future and we have nothing to lose. We refuse this decision. It is our homeland. It is our basic right to live in our houses in Jerusalem. We must stop Israel and their racist policies of ethnic cleansing, collective punishment and forced displacement in Jerusalem. I call on the international community to act.”