Ali al-Jamal, historic prisoners’ movement leader, passes away in Jenin

Photo: Hadf News

On Monday, 16 April, Ali Awad Saleh al-Jamal, the Palestinian prisoner held longest at one time in administrative detention, passed away in Jenin after a long life in struggle. Born in Jenin on 30 January 1947, his father’s life was taken as he resisted the Zionist armed forces’ invasion of Jenin in 1948.

From an early age, he joined the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM) of George Habash and Wadie Haddad as a high school student. From its founding, he became a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a leading Palestinian organizer in Jenin.

After an Israeli occupation military officer was killed in the city market in Jenin in 1974, al-Jamal was targeted for arrest by the Israeli occupation forces. He was held under interrogation for 100 days and subject to severe torture throughout that time. Despite the intense torture and lengthy interrogation, he remained silent; at the end of this period, he was transferred to administrative detention and held without charge or trial.

Within the prisons, he became a leader of the prisoners’ movement. His administrative detention order was renewed over and over again and he spent 7 years in Israeli prison consecutively, without charge and without trial. He worked to build unity among the Palestinian political forces inside Israeli prisons in order to strengthen the prisoners’ movement and took part in a year-long struggle for the rights of the prisoners.

After his release on 3 March 1982, he was then subject to house arrest for over two years in an attempt to prevent him from resuming his role as a leader of the movement in Jenin. After the outbreak of the Intifada in December 1987, he was re-arrested on multiple occasions; he spent over 10 years in total in detention in Israeli prisons.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins with the Palestinian national liberation movement and the prisoners’ movement in remembering Ali al-Jamal, a significant contributor to the development and leadership of that movement inside Israeli jails.