11,550 PALESTINIANS ARE IN PRISON WITHOUT BENEFIT OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW

Hamas 'will win Palestinian polls'
By Adam Makary
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Brought up under Israeli occupation, Zahar was assimilated into a culture of resistance where self-defence came first.

In April 2003, his 25-year-old son Khaled was killed when Israeli forces destroyed their family home in Gaza.

His other son, Hussam, was killed in January this year by an Israeli air strike that also took the life of his son-in-law.

'Criminal' Zionism

Zahar told an audience at the Doha Debates, the public forum for dialogue and freedom of speech in Qatar: "You don't know what it's like to look into your son's chest and see that it's empty."

His sense of loss is not simply that of a father's grief but also results from a strong feeling of dispossession triggered by "al-Nakba" - The Catastrophe - the 1948 creation of Israel and its expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland.

Zahar said: "I don't resent the Jews or the Jewish faith.

"One must differentiate between Judaism and Zionism, and Zionists - they are the criminals."
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Zahar explained 11,550 Palestinians are in prison and that one quarter of the Palestinian people have been imprisoned at some point in their lifetime.

Israel demands the halting of rocket attacks on Israeli towns and the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured in Gaza during a cross border raid in June 2006.

Israeli 'games'

Zahar said: "Israel promised to release 1,000 prisoners.

"In the first go, 450 Palestinians would be released and then we would give back Gilad Shalit," he said.

"But in the end, we know the Israelis are only playing games with us.

"Ceasefire for ceasefire, agreement after agreement, and in the meantime, they talk about releasing prisoners in one month – [then] no, two months. Then two years pass. So? Where are the prisoners?"
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Zahar is infuriated by Israel and the west's version of Palestinian history and speaks in a tone that demands the script be revised.

For Zahar, the history of the Palestinians should not be defined by the Israeli conquest, but by the continued Palestinian struggle to achieve their rights.

"Over the years, all that has changed in the meaning of the word Nakba is that we are nearer to achieving our goal after 60 years of struggle.

"We failed, but our grandsons will not."

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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