Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Mother of Palestinian Hunger Strikers: I Reject Seeing them Defeated | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Palestinian protester hurls stones towards Israeli troops during clashes at the Israeli Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus, October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Talat

Bethlehem-Sanaa Alayan continuously thinks about the health conditions of her two sons Dr. Mohammed al-Balboul and Lieutenant Mahmoud al-Balboul who went on a hunger strike 45 days ago to protest their administrative detention in Israeli prisons.

Alayan can do nothing but pray for them. She is living in a state of struggle: her heart wants her sons to eat and survive but her mind rejects humiliation.

Um Mohammed told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that time is critical. “I don’t know what might happen after an hour, a day or a week. I don’t know till when they will resist and what the physical damages will be.”

She added: “Just like any mother, I wish that my sons are fine. My heart wants them to stop the hunger strike but I refuse to see them defeated.”

Um Mohammed has learnt that a person should only live with dignity, especially after the Israeli forces assassinated her husband Ahmed al-Balboul eight years ago in Bethlehem.

Mohammed is a graduate of the dentistry faculty in October 6 University while Mahmoud graduated as a lieutenant two years ago.

Nouran, their sibling, said that the Israeli investigator forced her to watch the video of her father’s killing, and threatened to put her in prison along with her family. Yet, the 15-year old girl asked him: “Why do you hate us?”

She was released last month but does not feel free because her brothers remain in detention.

During the interview with Um Mohammed, the phone kept ringing: lawyers updating the mother, journalists asking for interviews and officials from political organizations planning for visits to show support. She seemed grateful but certain that no one can assist her on the ground.

Mohammed and Mahmoud, who have been placed in separate solitary confinements, have been on strike hunger for the past 45 days. The Palestinian Society Prisoners’ Club attorney said that their health condition is deteriorating, yet this has not spared them from repeated beatings and humiliation.