Highlight of the month

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive
Prison Notebooks and Movement’s Archive

When colonizers exclude the colonized indigenous memory from the historical record, it is inevitable that other fields of inquiry are affected, causing a gap between the hegemonic authority and knowledge production, which enables colonial powers to dominate and loot the archives of colonized countries, consolidate control, and obliterate the identity and historical narratives of the indigenous.

In this context, this blog post highlights the experience of the Palestinian Prisoners Movement by manifesting its presence in the archive as one of the most prominent components of the Palestinian historical narrative and its emancipatory content, apart from contexts of theoretical coercion.

The colonial authority persists in suffocating Palestinian prisoners in various ways, such as by denying them family visits and preventing them from taking souvenir photographs with their families. However, prisoners managed to obtain this right after conducting numerous strikes in the mid-nineties, whereby they became authorized to take photographs with their relatives once every five years after they reached the age of fifty. In 2019 however, the Israel Prison Service withdrew this right in response to pressure from some Zionist organizations following the publication of a photo showing prisoner Omar al-Abed; accused of murdering three settlers, smiling with his mother on a prison visit. Photographs were then taken by the Israel Prison Service photographer and were restricted to relatives suffering from terminal diseases, provided that the prisoner pays for them and that they are kept with prisoners inside the prison.

Zakaria Zubeidi and Yasser Arafat in Jenin, 2002
Joss Dray Collection

Taken in 2002, this photograph shows Zakaria Zubeidi with Yaser Arafat at the Jenin Municipality during Arafat’s first visit to the city after the end of the Israeli siege of the Presidential Headquarters in Ramallah, the ” Mukata’a”. 

Clippings from ash-Shaab Newspaper on the Arrest of Bassam Shakaa, his trial, and hunger strike, 1979
Bassam Shakaa Collection

This archival item shows a paper with three glued clippings from ash-Shaab Newspaper, two of which are dated 21 November 1979. The first mentions Bassam Shakaa, the former Mayor of Nablus, continuing his hunger strike at Ramla Prison, while the second mentions the Israeli Occupation Forces imposing restrictions on the movements of resigned mayors. Dated 29 November 1979, the third clipping included a title pointing out the beginning of Shakaa’s trial. 

Prisoners Abdel-Alim Daana, Ribhi Haddad and Badran Jaber before the Supreme Court of Israel, 1989
Abdel-Alim Daana Collection

Taken in 1989, this photograph shows three leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Abdel-Alim Daana to the right, Badran Jaber to the left and behind them in the middle is Ribhi Haddad, while two Israeli soldiers walk behind them in front of the Supreme Court of Israel during one of their court sessions. 

A Letter from prisoner Nael al-Barghouthi to “Umm Assef”; wife of his brother Omar, 1998
 Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi Collection

Handwritten on 4 April 1998 AD corresponding to 7 Dhu al-Hijjah 1418 AH, this decorated card shows an Eid greetings letter from prisoner Nael al-Barghouthi to “Umm Assef”: wife of his brother Omar, and her children, during his imprisonment in room 9 of section 2 in Askalan Prison. 

Brothers and Prisoners Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi at Askalan Prison, 2004
Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi Collection

Taken at Askalan Prison in 2004, this photograph shows prisoner Nael al-Barghouthi from Kaubar village in Ramallah with his brother prisoner Omar al-Barghouthi. They were jailed as a result of an operation they conducted that ended with the killing of an Israeli soldier, through a military cell they formed with Fakhri al-Barghouthi in 1978. Omar was released within the prisoner exchange deal carried out by the General Command of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1985, after which he was re-arrested multiple times. Nael was released in 2011 within the prisoner exchange deal known as the “Gilad Shalit Exchange” to be re-arrested in 2014. 

A Clipping from al-Quds Newspaper Documenting Palestinian Prisoners Led to the Courtroom, 1998
Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi Collection

Issued on Wednesday 16 September 1998 AD corresponding to 25 Jumada I 1418 AH, this document shows a clipping from al-Quds Newspaper featuring a photograph of Israeli soldiers leading Palestinian prisoners; of the Abu Mousa Group dissident faction (from Fatah,) to the courtroom in the Bet El settlement. The group members were arrested in Hebron in July 1998 on charges of conducting operations against Israelis. 

Prisoners Marwan al-Barghouthi and Ahmad Sa’adat at Hadarim Prison
Marwan al-Barghouthi
Collection

Undated, this photograph shows prisoners Marwan al-Barghouthi, a Fatah leader, and Ahmad Sa’adat, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), during their imprisonment at Hadarim Prison, where al-Barghouthi was arrested on 15 April 2002 and sentenced to five life sentences and 40 years.  Sa’adat was arrested on 14 March 2006 and sentenced to 30 years. 

Prisoners Nasr Jarrar and Omar al-Barghouthi with Cellmates at Megiddo Prison
Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi Collection

Undated, this archival item documents a photograph; the top right corner of which was cut. Likely taken between 1994 and 1998, this photo shows Nasr Jarrar, killed on 14 August 2002; to the right, and Omar al-Barghouthi, who passed away on 25 March 2021 of Covid-19, seated on the ground and having a meal with their cellmates at Megiddo Prison. 

A Wreath from the Askalan Prison Prisoners Raised at the Funeral of the Shaheed Omar al-Qasem, 1989
Omar al-Qasem Collection

A wreath from the “Prisoners of the Palestinian Revolution at Askalan Prison” raised at the funeral of the shaheed Omar al-Qasem who was killed on June 4th, 1989.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s