The Blanket

Please, My Friend is Being Tortured

Sam Bahour • 12 October, 2002

Dear friends,

Many of you have asked why I have not been writing as frequently as I have been. The reasons are many, the least being that one starts to feel--after weeks and months and years of making the same case--that the message has become a broken record. So I wanted to give you all a rest from the daily pressures that we are facing. However, my not sending messages is no indication whatsoever that the conditions here have relaxed, even though for the last 14 days we have had the day curfews lifted. The killing continues, the tanks still are rampaging, soldiers still firing, checkpoints still are in place, and every so often we still have to
rush to close our home windows from the Israeli tear gas that positions our air.

I'll give you a daily glimpse of a normal day, like today. I was awaken by a tank and jeep screaming that today was a closed/curfew hour later the city ignored the call and we went to work. It seems they were only joking. Upon arriving at work I learned that one of my best friends was detained by Israel (more
below and the reason for today's mailing). Also, in Nablus a 60-yr-old Palestinian women, Shadin Abu Hijleh, was killed by an Israeli solider last night who stopped his jeep in front of her villa and open fired at the veranda that she and her son and husband were having coffee on. She died instantly and her husband and son were rushed to the hospital for shrapnel wounds. Her daughter Lana lives in Ramallah and is a good friend of ours. Late morning, a close friend called to advise that he has had enough and is in the process of relocating to Amman or Dubai. Another friend called later in the day to ask me what I thought about him moving to Dubai. He asked why I was not considering moving. During work I interviewed a 57-yr-old man who was an executive in Kuwait before the first Gulf War and after being forced to leave Kuwait with only his clothes on his back. He is now working for the Palestinian Authority and is no longer getting paid after the IDF has destroyed the governor's office where he worked. He said he would work for anything that would give him enough stability to send his kids to school. This man's entire honor has been reduced to searching for his kid's tuition. Another unplanned interview toady was a 63-yr-old mechanical engineer. A father of six and out of a job for over a year the man was desperate for work. I sadly had to turn him away. He swore that he would show up and work tomorrow even if for nothing. With every human story our feelings become numb. All of this is happening as people mentally start to brace for the US war on Iraq and the ramifications that will strike here at home. People are scared. I'll stop here in order not to bore you with the daily tank encounters or explosions that still happen day and night. With this glimpse I think you will start to feel just how hard living is anymore. Sharon's Israel has succeeded in making desperation a way of life. The have perfected a silent violence like no other.

Now my reason for writing today. One of the reasons I have not written as frequently is that I have been working with the local YMCA which is planning to open, for the first time, in Ramallah. The YMCA has run a facility for 80+ years in E. Jerusalem and they also have facilities in Beit Sahour (Bethlehem) and Gaza. About a week ago, I met with the Associate Director from the International Group based in Chicago. Thursday (10/10) I met with the International Director who also was visiting from Chicago. Three Palestinian friends of mine were hosting our YMCA guest -- all three long time YMCA staff members. One of them is one of my best friends, Haytham Hammouri. We were strategizing on how to raise the remaining $700K required for the project. USAID has already granted the project $1.0M. I offered to write you (my lists) an appeal as well as personally contact potential Palestinian friends here in Palestine and in the US that I thought might help by making a donation.

This morning, I called Haytham to get a copy of the project feasibility study so I can finish my letter to you. The YMCA secretary advised me that Haytham was arrested yesterday from his office in the YMCA in E. Jerusalem by the Israelis! Speaking to Haytham's wife, Malak, she confirmed that he was taken by the Israelis from his desk at work. She was emotionally upset and spoke about their three girls, Majed (14), Dina (8), and Rawda (4 1/2) who were taking the news of their father's absence badly. During the first intifada Haytham spent over one year in Israeli detention without being charged. He was held by what Israel calls Administrative Detention. International Law calls this ILLEGAL!

Haytham Hammouri is not a politician and will not have an international campaign call for his release. Haytham has dedicated his life to bettering others peoples lives and the community at large by way of serving the YMCA. He is the Program Manager for the YMCA's Community Development Program. He has been with the Y for over 10 years and anyone who knows Haytham equates him with the Y. At the end of the day, he is one of 5,000+ Palestinians that Israel has detained after rounding up over 12,000 Palestinians over the last few months. Nevertheless, I refuse to just keep adding up numbers. We must stop and put faces and families behind the names. I kindly request that we all take immediate action. The first 48-72 hours of detention is critical. This is where torture is the worse and Palestinians are usually interrogated. Haytham is being held in the Mascoubya Prison in W. Jerusalem.

Name: Haytham Salah Husni Hammouri

Jerusalem ID: 080053762

Date of Birth: March 28, 1963

Employer: YMCA

Position: Program Manager, Community Development Program


Please take action today:

1. Send a fax/email to any/all of the Israeli officials below and your local Israeli representative calling for the immediate release of Haytham and all Palestinian political prisoners.

2. Contact your local YMCA and advise them that one of their own has been hurt and remind them that an injury to one is an injury to all. Ask your local YMCA to send a fax/email to the numbers below and to your local Israeli representative.

3. Stand by for my upcoming email that will be an appeal to support the Ramallah YMCA. We REFUSE to allow Israel to stop our lives and development!

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Office of the Prime Minister
Tel: 972-2-670-5555
Fax: 972-2-651-2631

Shimon Peres
Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister
Tel: 972-2-530-3111
Fax: 972-2-530-3367

Benjamin Ben Eliezer
Israeli Minister of Defense

Meir Sheetrit
Minister of Justice
Tel: 972-2-670-8511
Fax: 972-2-628-8618

The following are some reference sites on Palestinian political prisoners:




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The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap.
- Ayn Rand
Index: Current Articles

13 October 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


Just Say No
Ciarán Irvine


Full of Sound & Fury
Aine Fox


The Edge of the Abyss...Again

Brendan O'Neill


If You're In, You Can't Win
Anthony McIntyre


How Clever Was Adams?
Henry Patterson


Please, My Friend is Being Tortured
Sam Bahour


11 October 2002


Just Desserts?
Anthony McIntyre


'Robocop' Raid Seen as PSNI Reversion
Eamonn McCann


A Secret History of the IRA
Niall Stanage


Immigrant Slave Labour
Liam O Ruairc


Fighting the Sharks
Sean Smyth


Academics on Independence, Part 2

Paul Fitzsimmons


Wake Up and Smell the Occupation
Sam Bahour


From the Mouths of Babes
John Chuckman




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