Son of Palestinian prisoner dies from cancer separated from his father

Majd al-Tahhan, 19, the son of imprisoned Palestinian Rajab al-Tahhan, died on Tuesday evening, 7 November, in the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem of complications from leukemia. He had been kept from his father most of his life due to Israeli imprisonment, and even during his critical illness, was finally able to spend less than 30 minutes – closer to 10 minutes – with his father only weeks ago after numerous legal filings and his father’s threat of a hunger strike.

Rajab al-Tahhan, 49, was imprisoned in October 1998 – when Majd was only an infant – and accused of taking part in a Palestinian resistance military action in which Israeli settlers in the West Bank were killed; he was sentenced to life imprisonment. After 13 years in prison, he was released in 2011 as part of the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange.

Along with over 60 other Palestinian prisoners, al-Tahhan was seized by Israeli occupation forces in 2014 in mass arrests targeting freed prisoners in the exchange. His life sentence, along with those of dozens of other prisoners, was reimposed by a secret Israeli military committee under Article 186 of Military Order 1651. Most of these sentences were reimposed on no basis at all or a flimsy pretext such as communication with members of a prohibited organization, which includes all major Palestinian political parties. The demand to release the re-arrested prisoners has been a priority for Palestinian resistance organizations.

Al-Tahhan spent only two years and eight months with his son before being seized once more; Majd developed leukemia since his father’s most recent imprisonment.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the passing of Majd al-Tahhan. On a daily basis, Palestinian political prisoners are cut off from the lives, joys and tragedies of their families, denied visits with their dying mothers, fathers and even children. This is another form of collective punishment and collective attack on entire Palestinian families through the imprisonment of Palestinians and the denial of family connections by the Israeli occupation.