Mohammed Khalaf released after 12 years, urges attention to veteran prisoners’ struggle for freedom

Photo: Abnaa el-Balad

Mohammed Khalaf (Abu Tahrir), from the village of Jatt in the northern Triangle area in occupied Palestine ’48, was released after 12 years in Israeli prisons on Sunday, 24 September. Upon his release, he brought a message from the veteran prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons urging that their issue be taken up as a priority as part of the process of reconciliation and national unity.

“I spent 12 years in captivity. At the time of my release, my brothers sent me with a message to the entire Palestinian people that the issue of the veteran prisoners must be brought forward strongly and clearly and not left to the ‘good will’ of the occupation,” he said. Seized in 2005, Khalaf was accused of communicating with “the enemy” and supporting Palestinian resistance. He is a member of the Central Committee of the Abna’a el-Balad movement, a progressive Palestinian movement in occupied Palestine ’48.

Photo: Abnaa el-Balad

Hundreds welcomed him to his home village in a festival organized by the Abnaa el-Balad Movement with the Higher Follow-Up Committee, the Freedoms Committee and the Committee on Prisoners on Tuesday, 26 September. The event included cultural presentations and political speeches; Raja Ighbarieh of Abnaa el-Balad delivered the main speech at the event.

During the celebration, he presented an appeal from the long-time prisoner Walid Daqqa made on behalf of the veteran prisoners and those from occupied Palestine 48, urging that the Palestinian resistance and the Hamas Movement include these prisoners in an exchange deal and demanding that PA president Mahmoud Abbas reject negotiations without the release of prisoners, including the pre-Oslo prisoners who have served over 24 years in Israeli jails.

Photo: Abnaa el-Balad

Daqqa’s statement emphasized that the Israeli state has repeatedly refused to release Palestinian prisoners from occupied Palestine ’48 in exchanges with Palestinian and Lebanese resistance factions, especially since 1985, deeming them to be an “internal issue.” There are currently 153 Palestinian prisoners from occupied Palestine ’48 in Israeli jails.

In 2014, the Israeli occupation had pledged to release a fourth batch of pre-Oslo prisoners on 29 March 2014 as part of “negotiations” with the PA under U.S. auspices. However, the Israeli occupation refused to complete the release and those 30 prisoners remain in Israeli jails today.

The list of pre-Oslo prisoners held in Israeli jails today is:

1. Karim Younes, held since 6 January 1983
2. Maher Younes, held since 18 January 1983
3. Walid Daqqa, held since 25 February 1986
4. Ibrahim Abu Mokh, held since 24 March 1986
5. Rushdi Abu Mokh, held since 24 March 1986
6. Ibrahim Bayadseh, held since 26 March 1986
7. Ahmed Ali Abu Jaber, held since 8 July 1986
8. Ibrahim Mahmoud Abu Na’emah, since 20 October 1986
9. Mohammed Adel Daoud, since 8 December 1987
10. Bashir Abdallah al-Khatib, since 1 January 1988
11. Mahmoud Othman Jabarin, since 8 October 1988
12. Juma’ Ibrahim ‘Adam, since 31 October 1988
13. Mahmoud Salim Abu Kharabish, since 31 October 1988
14. Samer Saleh Sarsawi, since 24 November 1988
15. Raed Mohammed al-Saadi, since 28 August 1989
16. Fares Ahmad Baroud, since 23 March 1991
17. Ibrahim Hassan Ighbarieh, since 26 February 1992
18. Mohammed Said Ighbarieh, since 26 February 1992
19. Yahya Mustafa Ighbarieh, since 4 March 1992
20. Mohammed Tawfiq Jabarin, since 1 April 1992
21. Diaa Zakaria al-Falouji, since 12 October 1992
22. Mohammed Fawzi Fallah, since 29 November 1992
23. Hassan Hassan Abu Srour, since 4 January 1993
24. Mahmoud Jamil Abu Srour, since 5 January 1993
25. Mohammed Yousef Shamasneh, since 12 November 1993
26. Abdel-Jawad Yousef Shamasneh, since 12 November 1993
27. Alaa el-Din Fahmi al-Karaki, since 17 December 1993
28. Mahmoud Musa Issa, since 3 June 1993
29. Nayel Rafiq Salhab, since 27 September 1993
30. Mohammed Ahmed al-Tuss, since 6 October 1985