You might have thought that the occupation is showing some fatigue, being condemned all over the world, having no political perspective after so many years of conflict… The following small story may change your mind.
As Israel celebrates 65 years to its 1948 occupation of 78% of the land of Palestine, we had our own small celebration. Muhammad Kana’aneh, Abu As’ad, who was the Secretary General of Abna Al-Balad between 2000 and 2011, was released from prison on Sunday (14.4.2013). He was accused of throwing stones at the Israeli Police in the Golan Heights on 5.6.2011, while the police was busy massacring unarmed Palestinians who approached the border fence from the Syrian side.
This evening we went to visit him in his home to say “Hamd’ilellah ‘A Salameh”. We made our way to the township of ‘Arabeh in the lower Galilee on the dark roads, amid the light of fireworks in the Jewish-only settlements on the tops of the surrounding mountains. As we sat there, drinking sada coffee and eating baklawah, he told us the detailed story how he was released…
But, first, you need some background. Abu As’ad was arrested many times for his activities against the racist regime. In 2008, when he was released from four and a half years term (for public meetings with a Palestinian activist in Jordan), many people waited to greet him at the gates of the Shata/Gilbo’a prison near the city of Bisan. All the way back (some 60 kilometers) the convoy of cars waiving Palestinian flags raised astonishment at Jewish towns and villages and jubilation in Arab ones. It finished with a mass procession in Arabeh itself, from the entrance of the township to his home at the center.
This time the Israeli police was determined not to allow this type of celebrations to be repeated. The professional officers on the ground showed all the makings that the high Israeli echelons lack: Learning from experience, planning, cunning, determination and lust…
They sneaked Abu As’ad from the Shata prison in a closed police car at 06:00 am. The people that came to wait for his release had no chance to see him, and they kept gathering and waiting. From Bisan’s police he was transferred to Misgav – the front guard of the occupation supervising ‘Arabeh. He was not allowed to call or inform anybody where he was until he was a few kilometers from his home.
But Abu As’ad is not easy to fix. He quarreled with his guards and will not let them take him to his house in a police car. So there was some compromise and they let him free in an Olive Grove, not far from ‘Arabeh.
There is some good ending also for my Palestinian (and generally pro-people) readers. Abu As’ad hitch-hiked his way to the other entrance of ‘Arabeh and waited there to the reception crowd that was coming from the prison gates. The reception in ‘Arabeh took place anyway.
In the Galilee, 65 years on, it is occupation and popular resistance at their best.