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'It's my right to see you:' Daughter of Palestinian prisoner reads letter to father

April 21, 2017 4:44 P.M. (Updated: April 22, 2017 9:14 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The 14-year-old daughter of Palestinian prisoner Abdullah Barghouthi, sentenced to Israeli prison for 67 life sentences, read a letter to her father on Wednesday as part of an event at her school in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, as Barghouthi entered the third day of a hunger strike, along with hundreds of other Palestinian prisoners.

“It is my right to see you and live with you,” Safaa said, who has been separated from her father since she was a month old. “The laughs of the prisoners’ children are mixed with tears, but they are still stronger than the rumors told by the occupation, stronger than the settlers’ attempts to break the will of prisoners by throwing barbecues, and stronger than all solitary confinement cells.”

“Father, you are a source of pride to us,” Safaa continued. “I love you very much father and you remain in our minds and thoughts every day and every moment. Stay determined and God willing you will be with us next year, father.”

“It is my right to see you and live with you,” she repeated in the letter. “I keep repeating the word ‘father’ because I don’t get to say it very often.”

The letter was part of an event organized by Qassim al-Rami high school for girls in Ramallah.

Barghouthi is serving 67 life terms, the highest sentence ever handed down by an Israeli military court. He has been detained since March 2003. A Hamas leader, Barghouthi was convicted in Israeli courts for involvement in multiple attacks in Israel.

Barghouthi has launched a hunger strike with hundreds of other Palestinians held in Israeli prisons that entered its fifth day on Friday.

Initially called for by Fatah-affiliated prisoners, Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum have since pledged their commitment to undertake the strike, with the media committee of the “Freedom and Dignity” strike estimating on Tuesday that some 1,500 prisoners were forgoing food.

The hunger strikers have denounced the torture, ill treatment, and medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners at the hands of Israeli authorities, as well as Israel’s widespread use of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges -- which is only permitted under international law in extremely limited circumstances.

Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, according to a joint statement released on Saturday by Palestinian organizations.

According to prisoners' rights organization Addameer, some 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israeli custody as of March.
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