A year of steadfastness in Israeli prison

A year of imprisonment has passed. To spend one year in prison is a high price to pay for Israel’s unjust rule. My share has been more modest compared to other prisoners who are about to enter their fourth decade in Israeli prisons.

It’s true, one should not differentiate between the sentences the same way we should not differentiate between the fighters for freedom — the sentence of the judges of oppression is always one of cruelty, terror and abuse. What is most important, however, is that it is always temporary.

Things in Palestine occur according to the following rule: the harsher the escalation of state-sponsored terrorism, oppression, political persecution and deportation policies, the stronger is our steadfastness, challenge, will to remain, preservation of our identity and commitment to our cause and dispossessed rights.

They wish to fragment our cause according to geography and the color of identity cards, but our senses are never suppressed and our struggle for liberation is one in all of its components. While they continue to reproduce oppression, we reproduce freedom and break out of their vicious circle, transforming their actions into reactions to ours.

Our rights in Palestine, whether we are in our homeland or in exile, are one: return; self-determination; ending the occupation; prisoners’ release; recovery of confiscated land; dismantling settlements and the apartheid wall; protection of Jerusalem, the Naqab, the Galilee and the coast from Judaization and eviction projects; and breaking the Israeli blockade on Gaza — all these causes form part of our single cause.

But the struggle for our cause is not waged only by us Palestinians. It is complemented by the rebellions in the Arab world and the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, isolating Israel on both the Arab and international levels. These actions are nothing but an extension of the Palestinian anti-normalization movement inside Israel and of our struggle to strip the racist colonizing regime of its legitimacy.

Speaking on behalf of the prisoners’ movement, I wish to allude to the dangers of the so-called security coordination between Israel and any Palestinian or Arab party. The victims of such coordination are, first and foremost, the fighters and prisoners for the freedom of Palestine and the Arab peoples. We call on the Arab peoples to stop the complicity of some Arab regimes with Israel on the so-called security coordination level by launching an Arab and Palestinian campaign for this cause.

To spend one year in prison is a high price to pay for Israel’s unjust rule. However, a free will has made this year an act of steadfastness, challenge and struggle for our people.

I hereby send a message of appreciation and love to all the people who call for my release, as well as to the popular committee for my defense and the Popular Committee for the Defense of Political Freedoms, which launched a campaign for my release from the very moment I was arrested.

From inside the prison cells I also wish to greet my loving and supportive family, and to all those who are in solidarity with our cause, here and abroad, as individuals, and the organizations they represent. They are in constant contact with me, and are partners in our struggle for liberation and freedom. What we seek, we the political prisoners, is freedom and not to accumulate more years of imprisonment. We were born free, and protecting our freedom is our responsibility.

On 15 May we commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the ongoing Palestinian Nakba. Our strength continues to stem from the justice of our cause and rights, which can be fulfilled only through struggle. To struggle for liberation, as well as to rebuild ourselves as people and institutions, is our right and obligation. As for the price that is paid. it will always be painful, whether it is individual or collective. Regardless of how painful it is, we will never deviate from the road to liberation and freedom of our people and land.

Their rule, not matter how long, is temporary, but freedom is our destiny.

Ameer Makhoul is a civil society leader and political prisoner at Gilboa prison