Palestinian man spends 37 years in Israeli jails... and never loses hope

The Israeli occupation insists on keeping the prisoner Mahmoud Hassan Abo Tair arrested even though he spent 37 years in the Israeli jails; more than half of his age. 

Despite the long years of detention and the brutality of jail and jailers, he became stronger and more persistent. 

Abo Tair, 71, was nicknamed "grandpa Omar" as he lived among the prisoners more than his family. 

The eldest son Musa'ab, 35, does not remember that his father has lived with them one day in their house in Umm Tuba in Jerusalem. 

"Even though I am above 30 and my sister is 46 years old, we still miss the taste of father-son and father-daughter relationship," he said.

He noted that he and his sister miss the affection of their father and said, "we were young and we grew up. Hence, we still feel the need for our father." 

6 months of administrative detention 

The occupation authorities arrested Mohammed Abo Tair two weeks ago in Bayt Sahur and sentenced him to 6 months of administrative detention. 

Musa'ab noted that his father did not complete 3 months outside the jail; the occupation forces re-arrested him without any charge. 

He said that his father Abo Tair has spent about 8 years in administrative detention since 2006. 

He did not join our fortunate and unfortunate occasions 


Musa'ab informed that his father did not join the family its fortunate and unfortunate occasions as his father's mother, grandPa, sister, and uncle died without giving them the last goodbye hug. 

"4 of my sister got married while he was in the prison. I delayed my wedding several times hoping that he can share my happiness with me, but my attempts failed," he said. 

I was orphaned 

About his childhood, Musa'ab said that he felt that he was an orphan as his father never was with them. 

"I never forget that day when the occupation soldiers stormed our home while we were asleep. They handcuffed my father, but he insisted to hug me. He hugged me so strongly and I felt so much pain," he said. 

His heart ached again when his father was arrested again as he is an old man who did surgery on his leg a month ago. 

Abo Tair was arrested for the first time in 1974 and was released in 1985. Although, detentions followed each other. 

Struggle of deportation 

The occupation forces also targeted Abo Tair by deporting him from Jerusalem after he was elected as a member of the Legislative Council in 2006. 

"We suffered a lot when the occupation deported our father from Ramallah," Musa'ab said. 

I feel proud of my father

Despite the harsh prison conditions and our suffering, Musa'ab still feels proud of his father for his persistence and resistance all those years.

"We appreciate the road our father chose to walk in and we always pray for him," he said. 

"Life in prison is too hard yet my father used to live in prison because he only cares about God," he added. 

"Even though he was away from us for many years, but I learned from him many lessons such as resistance, resistance, and manhood," he continued.

Source : Safa