Al Naqab prison, a true story from Dheisheh camp, near Bethlehem

3 septembre 2017

Temps de lecture : 2 minutes

This is one of the true stories that can be seen in Until when, a documentary by Dahna Abourahme.

Until when, a documentary by Dahna Abourahme

The first time I was imprisoned, Emad Mohamed Saleh Daoud tells the camera, I was just twelve years old. In 1982, there were the beginnings of a small intifada, I was young, people were throwing stones and I did too. During the 1st intifada, because of the increase in detentions, the Israelis started opening prisons all over the place. In the Al Naqab desert, they created a prison using barbed wire that holds 5000 people (Ansar II, Al Naqab prison).

I was there when the prison first opened. The Israelis would force us to build new sections, to build a prison for our comrades and friends. So a decision was taken to refuse building new prison sections.

After lunch, when called upon to go to work, we refused. The sirens sounded, and the soldiers put on their riot gear. The tanks surrounded the sections. They told us to return to work or they’d attack the prison. We didn’t imagine that they would. We refused to work, and the confrontation began. They began firing tear gas, which we threw back at them, along with stones from the ground. It was a huge riot: tear gas, rubber bullets and stones. About 40 people were injured that day.

Suddenly, the prison commander showed up. His name was Tsameh. He told us to return to our tents. We all realized the seriousness of the situation, and decided to back off and return to our tents. But one guy, Assad Al Shawa, refused. The commander said he’d shoot him if he didn’t return. Assad refused. The commander held up his M16 and shot him right here. He was about fifteen meters from me. The bullet hit Assad right between the eyes. He fell to the ground and I’m sure he died instantly. The commander turned to the next section. There was a guy called Bassam Al Samoudi. He said, I’ve just shot your friend over there, do you want me to shoot you too? Bassam opened up his shirt, and dared the commander to shoot him. The commander shot him right into the heart. He fell instantly to the ground. Witnessing this put fear into our hearts. An army exercising such brutality, as if we’re soldiers in battle. Two people shot in a matter of minutes.

A week later, we went on a hunger strike for seven days, and we refused to work. The death of our two comrades was the main reason for the gains that followed. I was sent to Al Naqab prison six times during the first intifada. For six months each. The last six months were very different from the first. We had a television, we had hot water, the food was much better, we had radios and we had mail. The situation had improved greatly. It wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts, but because of our relentless struggle.