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Maysara Abu Hamdiya, a 64-year-old Palestinian detainee from Hebron, is sentenced to life imprisonment in Israeli jails. As a result of the torture he was subjected to during his detention, he is currently suffering cancer and his condition is worsening … Continue reading

My First Journey Abroad

Spending one day in Gaza is nothing like the fifteen days I have spent in three other countries around the world; Egypt, Thailand, and Malaysia. Indescribable feelings I have in every inch of my body. The smell of the Palestinian sand is beyond description. Remembering what first happened; I kneeled to the ground and thanked Allah for bringing me back home safe and healthy. ddOn that day, my whole life flashed before me.

Before traveling

I am a refugee, a Palestinian one. Being a refugee, originally from Jaffa and born during the first Intifada, for me means I can never give up my right to return home. My grandma used to tell me stories about our land; whenever she told me about the orange trees, it filled me with a sense of longing. I used to always say, “I want to see them.” She seemed to always have the same reply: “Malaka, do not give up. Fight. Be strong and do your best to have your right back.” She taught me not to be silent when I see others abusing our rights. My grandma died, God bless her soul. Yet, she is still alive within us, within her children and grandchildren. 
Since birth, I have witnessed destruction, ruins, and violations of human rights. I have seen phosphorus bombs with my own eyes. What I witnessed and experienced is beyond words. Sometimes, I have sleepless nights; at other times, I lack the ability to focus and study. As I live at Al-Shijaeyah, to the east of Gaza, the closest area to the Israeli border, this place will likely be Israel’s first target during any invasion or escalation. We also suffer power-cuts on a daily basis. 
My dear granny, I wish you were alive now so I could share with you my first experience of traveling. It was quite a surprise, and I got so excited already merely thinking of being abroad. I found myself leaving from my Gaza, to different places where I will not smell or see any sign of occupation. I still remember how all the males in my group were deported to the Egyptian airport and my friend and I were forced to enter Egypt alone. We did it, though it was really hard for two girls to travel alone in Sinai Desert. After a long 7-hour journey, we reached the hotel. I had the chance to live in the Grand Pyramids Hotel in Egypt for two days. One of the best moments was when we went to the Pyramids and held banners for Samer Issawi, the Palestinian hunger striker, everywhere. The reason is that many people there started asking who Samer Issawi is. I loved when we spoke out about his issue among many foreigners. After that, I put the banners on some high spots on the pyramids and many started taking photos beside them.

How I became involved

I had heard about the Malaysian-Palestinian Youth Committee (MPYM), and was among the 600 who applied for the opportunity to travel there. Being the youngest applicant, 22, I was a little bit frightened that I might not be selected, and my dream might not be achieved. Also, on the date of my interview, I was very busy leading the international campaign to release Samer Issawi. Still, I was sure I could do it, and I passed with flying colors as I got the highest grade among females and the second highest grade among males.

The flight

I remember so much about that first flight on Egyptian Airlines, especially after having watched the film of our Earth. I was sitting beside a window and spending the whole 13 hours looking at those beautiful scenes. For the first time, I stayed for a long time in the same seat, enjoying the nearness of the clouds. I slept a lot, ate 3 meals, watched films, read books, talked to my mates, and enjoyed the whole trip. I had expected it to perhaps be a difficult experience, and that I might get severe headaches, but none of that materialized. As I neared the end of my long flight, I looked out of the window and watched Thailand’s endless green forests from the sky.


We had to leave the plane and wait in Bangkok Airport for two and a half hours. I stepped out of the plane and into the tropical humidity of the beautiful city. It was almost like a balloon filled with hot liquid air, yet I still liked it. I strolled around the airport, visited some shops, tried to get to know a bit more about their products and culture, met with Thai people, and spent these hours talking with friends from Thailand about Samer Issawi, and how we should all work together for his release.  In those few hours, I felt I learned quite a bit about this beautiful country.

Towards Kuala Lumpur (KL)

We went back to the plane heading towards Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The moment we reached, we drove through the hot and humid city to have dinner in a big and moderately run down Malaysian restaurant. I found a piece of beef – which I didn’t appreciate, because I am a vegetarian! – and some appetizers on my plate. I chose various curries and salads to go with the rice. The place may have been unpretentious, but the food was more than incredible, especially the beef that was more like sweets than like a meat dish. I used to imagine Malaysia as being not so clean or modern, but turned out to be quite the opposite.


Though it was the first time I traveled abroad, Kuala Lumpur itself did not impress me, but you do not know the taste of freedom from occupation until you have lived both. Transportation in Malaysia is mostly focused on buses and cars, but I did get a chance to try out the Malaysian train. It was both wonderful and awful. The seats were okay, and the scenery of green hills covered in a carpet of jungle trees was amazing, and really made us aware that we were in a foreign land. In contrast, in the centre of the city, high buildings and landmarks alongside narrow roads and streets are all you get to see.

In the streets of KL, many people are carrying umbrellas to protect their skin from the extremely hot weather. More than once, I was walking and enjoying the sun, suddenly being caught by surprise by heavy rainfall all around me. I was reminded of the walls in Gaza, since many carried images and words written with colorful sprays, in support of Palestine. “Stop Israelis” is one of the phrases I have seen written on a wall just beside KLCC towers, the highest two buildings in Malaysia.
I tried to explore the streets on foot, but crossing the busy roads was terrifying as there were no pedestrian crossings so you had to wait for the rare opportunity to cross quickly, which happens only once every half hour – and you get only 5 seconds to try to make it. We went to the massive transportation factory in KL and entered the exhibition to see its products, and even tried to drive cars and motor bicycles. The founder of the factory started thirty years ago under a tree and now his company is one of the biggest in the world.

Places engraved in my mind

Our hotel was in the near vicinity of KLCC towers. All I could eat there were fruits for breakfast, and there were some shopping malls that I could easily reach on foot, to buy some snacks or drink some juice. Our first step after going to the hotel was to relax in one of the central parks where I saw a greenish lake. I enjoyed the scene for a short while, until suddenly a magnificent army of strange-looking bugs invaded our personal space, and we had to spend the rest of the time hitting ourselves to force them to leave us.
On that same day, despite being sleepy and tired, I decided to go and visit the fountains beside the KLCC towers. I wandered for around 2 hours, but suddenly my legs almost gave way. It was embarrassing to watch old ladies walk past me full of energy and balance! After this tour on the first day, I returned to Duta Vista Hotel and I saw monkeys playing around the place, something I had never seen before. It was truly relaxing to watch them and other kinds of wild animals playing in the treetops of the surrounding jungle.
On March 5th, we headed to the Central Vocational Training Building in KL and to the Malaysian Youth Parliament. The meetings we had there were very fruitful, as we obtained no less than 44 scholarships for Palestinians from Gaza to be trained in the principles of vocational education rules in Malaysia, for 6 months.

The Best Day in KL

On Saturday March 2nd, I toured around Kuala Lumpur to feed the homeless, along with my best Malaysian friends. It was a long journey to the border, so we stopped to have dinner in one of the public restaurants, where I saw food being cooked in traditional ways on open high fires. This may sound romantic and fun, but the reality is one of daily hard work, where food takes hours to cook and homes are filled with toxic smoke which causes severe diseases and eye infections. I met with more than 60 of the voluntary workers including a Palestinian guy from Hebron who is studying his PHD in Florida and came to spend his holiday in KL.  He, unfortunately, missed the Palestinian meal I brought from Gaza as he left us for some urgent issues. Knowing how to tease him, when seeing him again, I said, “You missed a lot. We have eaten some dishes from Gaza.” Believe me, he was almost about to cry, since it had been a long time since he has eaten any Palestinian food.  How cruel is that?

Some things I learned

On Sunday March 3rd, we went to Limkokwing University, the place of innovation, where we met with many Palestinian refugees representing our cause in good ways. I was amazed that many there knew me and said, “Are you Malaka Mohammed, the leader of Samer Issawi campaign?” I felt truly blessed.

Entering the university, my eyes fell upon an epigram with an ancient adage: “A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.” They really know how to stimulate creativity; any student who comes up with a novel idea or an effective campaign gets his work featured by the university in the central exhibition hall, so that all visitors get see it before entering the campus. I have learnt that willingness to share is one of the most important principles of success. If we want to change our strategy, we should start with internal support and strength as the main steps to help improve ourselves. It should also be very important for us to develop ideas on how to use this power.

We need to collect data if we want to make a plan; we should then identify the objectives of our study, and define who may be against it, and who could prevent us from accomplishing our goals. It is important to be brave, knowledgeable, and focused. We should also learn how to identify our problems, and develop ways to solve them. Sometimes we have to copy the ways of successful people, since it is not always the best idea to spend time on developing original solutions.

To be continued…

Samer Issawi is like an olive tree; his head reaches the sky and nobody can uproot him

Akram Rikhawi was supposed to be free last 25th of January but he wasn’t released. Now there are promises about releasing him today and we’ll see what happens.

Samer Issawi living his last hours

Most Recent Update: The detainee’s minister in the PA, Issa Qaraqe’, says that the Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi is living his last hours inside the Israeli prison hospitals after 195 days on hunger strike for freedom.
Being illegally detained without charges or given a fair trial since July 7th 2012, Samer Issawi is still placed in solitary confinement with plastic doors so that no one can hear his calls for help. Issawi is on his 195th day of an open-ended hunger strike demanding justice and his freedom. There have been many more Palestinian hunger strikers before Issawi. Khader Adnan, Hana’ Shalabi, and Mahmoud Sarsak are among the few.
Hunger strikes have proven to be an effective means for Palestinian Political prisoners’ voices to be heard. These prisoners are protesting the inhumane conditions they live in. These non-violent hunger strikers had a rippling effect on all Palestinian prisoners. Their movement has commenced many mass hunger strikes inside Israeli jails leading to many detainees passing away and others gaining their freedom.
Samer lost many family members who were murdered by the Israeli Occupation through out the years.  Fadi Issawi, Samer’s brother, was shot dead by the Israeli killing machines. In 1989 his grandmother, Fatima, was also shot by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Osama Issawi, Samer’s uncle, was not the last family member murdered by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

His Latest Release

In October 2011, Issawi was released as part of the Shalit prisoners exchange deal. Per Shireen Issawi, Samer’s sister, the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv visited the prisoners who were included in the exchange and informed them that there will be no restriction on their movement. Nonetheless, breaching the agreement, eight months after his release, Issawi was re-arrested in Hizma. Israel claims that he broke the terms of his release by leaving Jerusalem; nevertheless Israel’s own maps show that Hizma is within the borders of the municipality of Jerusalem. This proves Israel never abides by any agreement or treaty and ignores all international laws. Samer is not the only one that this happened to, Israel has re-arrested a countless number of the Palestinians released under the prisoner exchange agreements.

Egypt’s Role

Samer Issawi is dying for freedom and the world’s leaders’ silence is deafening. As a guarantor of the prisoners exchange deal, why has Egypt not interfered until now? What has been done to protect the Deal?
Knowing that Israel is breaching the agreement and violating international law, the UN, the United States, European countries, and human rights organizations are silent as well. These countries and organization are very well aware that if they pressure Israel, innocent mens’ lives can be saved. Yet, there silence echoes loudly.
Samer Issawi, whose life is threatened and is in a real danger, is not seeking death, nor does he want it, but he defends his freedom and his humanity in every way possible and he is ready to pay his life as a price.

Medical Condition

Samer’s family has seen him only once during a court appearance on Thursday December 13th, 2012. His family saw him turning into a skeleton covered with a human wrap after losing more than 80 lbs, all that remains is a skin covering bones. Per his advocate, Samer suffers from increasing pain all over his body including his head, kidney, eyes, nerves, abdomen, hands, arthritis, and muscles. His life is in eminent risk as he has a slow and erratic heartbeat and cannot stand or move on his own. Also, Samer’s vision is worsening; he loses consciousness several times during the day; and his body is covered with bruises. Moreover, the pain in his head is like an electrical shock. Furthermore, he has continuous diarrhea due to the fluids they give him in prisons’ hospitals, and he has blood in his urine and still has an acute vitamin B12 deficiency. In addition, Issawi has gradual damages in his nervous system. Besides, his body continues to eat his muscles and nerves. What’s more, he has lost control of his limbs due to the malfunction of his nerves, and he is vomiting blood and can hardly breathe. On January 18th, 2012 due to his deteriorating health, Samer was transferred to Asaf Harofeh hospital from Ramleh prison. While being transferred, the Israeli Prison Services handcuffed Samer’s hands and feet.

Bab Al Shams and More Challenges

The house of Issawi is near the village of Bab Al Shams “Gate of the Sun” in which hundreds of young Palestinians set up tents in a civilized manner to non-violently fight against the Israeli settlements that threaten the peace process in the region as a whole. When solidarity campaigns are held to support Samer and the other hunger strikers, Israeli authorities pressure and attack his family and the people of his village. In addition, Israeli NGO Physicians for Human Rights and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) have been denied access to Samer.

The life of the other Palestinian prisoners require an urgent call for emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to force Israel to preserve the lives of prisoners in its custody. There are over 4500 prisoners in Israeli jails including women, kids, and patients. Israel has to cancel its unjust procedures of keeping detainees without trial and charge under administrative detention i.e. a procedure allowing the Israeli Military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. Haim Shapira, the former Israeli Minister of Justice, described it when he was arrested by the British Mandate forces, “It only represents the law of jungle”.

G4S & Samer

In a message from Issawi’s family to the people who have demonstrated and called for Samer’s release on the last Friday in London, at G4S HQ, “Love and respect to all of you, brother and sister, who are fighting for Samer whose battle of the empty stomach [hunger strike] is now for 193 consecutive days. You tell the whole world that Samer is not alone. Samer’s fight is of every free man rejecting injustice. Samer is suffering greatly in the so-called hospital, Asaf Harofeh; he is suffering from medical neglect and is left shackled to his bed day and night without any regard for his critical condition and the importance of treating humanely.. We greet the demonstrators against G4S that provides equipment for the prison administration. G4S realizes that they are used in non-humanitarian ways against Palestinian prisoners. Deliver the voice of the oppressed prisoners and hold this company G4S accountable for its responsibility towards these prisoners and its partnership to the occupation in its inhumane practices. It must stop providing these supplies to the occupation…”

Other Hunger Strikers

Samer is not the only prisoner on hunger strike. Ayman Sharawna, has been on hunger strike for more than 180 days. He has been released in the Prisoner’s Deal. Jafar Azzidine, Tarek Qa’adan, and Yousef Yassin have been striking for around 98 days now, in protest of their administrative detention orders

Samer is like an olive tree; his head reaches the sky and nobody can uproot him. Samer teaches us what it means to be Palestinians; he gives us lessons in how to love and live. When looking into his eyes, I see The Sun shines; I notice hope rises; and I know pessimism scatters. Samer, you are not alone; you are our brother. It is a message to the people of consciousness who have hearts, to those who belong to humanity, to the free people – rescue Samer. If you take action, we can save his life; he can return to Jerusalem a free man, and hopefully alive, God willing. He has the right to live. Why cebto die without a charge

A Nightly Morning

Yesterday morning was just like every night, black and closed. Birds are not singing anymore. I could not see children playing football in my street. Even students were not going to their schools. It was a strongly bizarre morning.

I still remembered the night before. The electricity was off and there was not enough solar to turn our generator, or even our neighbor’s on. We chose to sleep but our neighbor’s children had some homework to do prior to sleeping. Their mother turned on candles so they could see their books and pencils. They could study and did their homework.  They did. Yet, it was the last deed ever. It is the last night and the last homework. No more mornings. They will sleep eternally. The still up-candles run over their tiny bodies and burned them. It was only a moment when the fire came all around the house and its details.

 Under the black blockade against Gaza, death, I mean collective death, is now possible. You might lose your family in a minute. Your house might be burnt in a blink of an eye.

Four children and their parents; six they are.

I missed them. They used to come to my house and visited my room. They always smiled despite the unbearable condition they lived in; despite poverty and all kinds of suffering.  They usually came to my house to play with my siblings. Whenever returning from university, I saw them playing football with my brothers.

The 7-year-old Reem is my lovely girl; my life she is. We used to play with each other all kinds of games. She used my computer to play “Happy Garden Game”. She told me once, “I hope I can have my own computer. ” I promised that I will buy you one when I get my first salary.” She died. She still has a dream. We still dream.

The youngest girl’s name is “Qamar”. It means “The Moon”. Her parents named her so because they dreamed of brightness to lighten their dark life.  Qamar was still two months. She will not grow up though.

 They lost their lives; the light of their lives. I still could not imagine it. I woke up on people screaming and shouting everywhere. I could not see them due to the black lines of clouds. Fire was still going up and up. After minutes, I could recognize four of them and the other two corpses for their parents were removed from the house one-by-one. So, it is the whole family. A lonely life and a small world; it is the end where I am a lone without they six.

Still, I could see them running here and there asking me to play with them. They will not be a memory; they must be here; I will wait for them tomorrow; I am sure they will come and visit me. I see them coming and I prepare the chocolate they like.

A dream. It could not be but a dream. Six they are. The whole family went.


Monday “The Universal Day to Release Issawi”

This gallery contains 129 photos.

The International day to release Issawi yesterday was inspiring. Demonstrators were gathering and and calling for the freedom of a human keeping in prison with no charge or a fair trail. They are calling for Issaw’s freedom after his hunger … Continue reading

Samer’s Message for Today

This is a message from Samer Al-Issawi’s lawyer today “with special thanks to Malaka for her continued efforts on updating activists around the world on Samer’s situation and organizing the International campaign to release me” via Shireen Issawi

A Letter from Samer Issawi who has been on hunger strike for over 164 days now submitted through one of the lawyer’s who visited him on Sunday, January 1st, 2012.The message in the letter contains how Samer has several pains and diseases as a result of his extensive and epic hunger strike. He suffers from severe pain all over his body especially in the areas of the abdomen, kidney, double vision, dizziness, and has a severed bone in the chest due to the brutal attack by Israeli prison offers while he was handcuffed in his wheelchair at his court hearing. This fracture shows in the X-rays that were conducted after he was hospitalized following his court hearing. He also suffers from severe and persistent pain because of the injury he sustained that day which causes sleep deprivation from the uncomfortable sleeping positions. Despite his battle against Israeli prison injustices Samer stands firm and is continuing his heroic hunger strike and sends his greetings to all who are fighting along side of him in this battle for freedom and justice for the Palestinian political prisoners. He does not only consider them being in solidarity but warriors and after achieving 90% of the demands and goals during his hunger strike he pleads with people who are supportive not to take to the streets in some areas due to a virus spreading currently there.

While suffering in complete isolation during his steadfast hunger strike under all odds he’s also concerned for the well being of others.Issawi confirms his continuous hunger strike and will not stop at all costs until he achieves his demands and reiterates that the only people authorized to make any public announcements regarding his status reference his hunger strike on his behalf are only the Prisoner Club, the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs and family representative his sister Shireen Issawi.

This is what I have so far I really don’t think it’s necessary to post all the other things about the israeli officer who was arrested in Egypt.

It’s now been over five months since Samer consumed a morsel of food. He is not but a human calling you to stand by him. Think of him as if he was your brother or son. He needs every bit of your support. His detention is unjust and illegal, just like the occupation is. His demands are legitimate and just. Thus, he will not withdraw from the battle for freedom, waiting for either victory and freedom – or martyrdom.
This is a message to those who have hearts, to those who belong to humanity, to the free world – save Issawi before it is too late!

Sign please to save Samer’s life

How to Follow The International Demonstrations to Support Samer Issawi

Many ways you can follow to watch the world’s action to call for Issawi’s freedom

6:00 pm Eastern Time
1:00 am Palestine Time

2- (Live Stream)

3- In Washington

In London

4- In Al Jazeera