Released fellow prisoners of Ameer Makhoul
Israel locks up Palestinian political prisoners with Israeli citizenship, including Ameer Makhoul, in Gilboa jail. On 18 October, two fellow prisoners of Ameer were released in the prisoner exchange deal. Ahmad Amera, who is 44 years old and was held in the same cell as Ameer, spent more than 23 years in Israeli jails. Ali Amaria was released at the age of 46 after spending half of his life in Israeli prisons. The two men could not say goodbye to Ameer because of his transfer to Megiddo prison during the hunger strike. Twenty-two-year-old Husam Khalil was released a few months earlier when his 2.5-year sentence ended. Recently the three men visited the Makhoul family to share memories. The photo was taken on that occasion.
I have been corresponding with Ali for some weeks – since being introduced to him by Ameer. In his letters, Ali sheds light on life in an Israeli prison. One letter inspired me to write about Netanyahu’s harsh policy towards political prisoners. After spending 23 years in prison, Ali was released in the exchange deal.
Last week I spoke with him about his “new” life. Although he is disappointed that Israel did not release all the Palestinian prisoners with Israeli citizenship who spent over 20 years in prison, he enjoys his freedom. Assisted by his niece, he is learning how to use a computer. He takes driving lessons and loves the feeling, “All the time in prison I was the baggage, now I am the driver! I went to the seashore and I felt like a kid, playing in the water.” His face is beaming while he freely talks about his feelings. It is difficult to imagine a greater contrast to what he wrote from prison a few weeks earlier: