Lajee Center on Sunday afternoon hosted around 1000 locals and internationals in Aida camp in a National Festival to revive The Palestinian Prisoner's Day, to remind Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails that they are not forgotten and honor their families.
Every year on 17 April, Palestinians hold a national day to honor thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Currently, there are about 6,500 political prisoners in Israeli jails: 500 of them serving administrative detentions, in addition to 300 children and 61 females.
Israeli Occupation currently imprisons 77 people from Aida refugee camp; including 22 children aged 12- 18 years. This festival aims to remember the children in particular and lift their spirits, especially since the children are deprived from their simplest rights of freedom and childhood, and are sent to military courts, subjected to ill-treatment, beating and investigation, against all international laws and without a lawyer. Since 2014 and till this day, Israeli occupation has been carrying out flagrant violations of children’s rights on a rising trend.
The festival not only commemorates prisoners, but also those who were deported or banned from their own homeland, in addition to nine Palestinian martyrs who are detained in Israeli refrigerators since the start of the third uprising in October 2015.
The festival hosted families of Palestinian prisoners, including the mother of longest serving prisoner from Aida, Nasser Abu Srour, who is charged with a life sentence. One of the speakers as well was the sister of martyr Abdul Hamid Abu Srour. Israeli authorities have been detaining his body in refrigerators for one year now.
The ceremony was revived by singer Qassem Al-Najjar, who is known for his popular patriotic songs, while the audience chanted along to his music. The Lajee music unit also played patriotic music to the crowd, which contained children and also elders, hoping to free all of the Palestinian prisoners from Israeli detention.
The next day following the ceremony, around 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have started a collective hunger strike lead by imprisoned MP and leader, Marwan Barghouthi, protesting the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) policies and oppression, especially regarding family visits, medical care, prisoner’s needs, moving prisoners arbitrarily, and other reasons.