The release of the Palestinian prisoner Younis is similar to millions. Previous reference
The longest-serving Palestinian prisoner held by Israel behind bars for 40 years said his release was like a “military operation”.
Karim Younes, from the town of Ara in northern Israel, was arrested on January 6, 1983 and sentenced to life imprisonment for his affiliation with the Fatah movement. The sentence was later reduced to 40 years in prison.
Recalling the day he was released from prison, Yunus said it was like a “military operation”.
He said in an exclusive interview with Anatolia Agency: “The Israeli prison authorities turned the process of my release into something like a military operation.”
“It was almost before dawn. They took me, and I expected that they would hand me over to the district police to be released from the police station. They took me by car in a strange and abhorrent way. Every five minutes, the car would enter a side road and they would switch as if we were in a military operation,” Younis said.
“They dropped me off somewhere,” he recalled, “and an officer handed me my luggage, gave me a bus ticket, pointed me to a bus stop with his hand, and said, ‘Go home yourself.'”
Younis said he moved to the bus station, where he met a number of Palestinian workers.
“I asked one of them to call his mobile phone to my family. When they heard my name, they all gathered around me and tried to give me their food and drink, but I called my family and after half an hour they came to a station to pick me up.”
Since his release, thousands of Palestinians have flocked to Younes’ home to shake hands with him.
Younis, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails, was imprisoned when he was 26 years old.
After four decades behind bars, he is released from prison to find that the world has changed.
“It’s a strange feeling and it’s hard to describe. When you go out into a world that’s completely different from the one you left, you have a very strange feeling,” he said.
“It is difficult to describe my feeling with words, but it is a human feeling. It is new for a person to feel his freedom and humanity after long years of imprisonment.”
Yunus indicated that his family lined up to shake his hand, but he found a whole generation of relatives whom he had not met before, although he knew them through pictures, as only first-degree relatives were allowed to visit him in prison.
An Israeli law drafted by the Knesset allows for the deportation of detainees or released persons who received financial assistance from the Palestinian Authority and the withdrawal of their citizenship.
“The campaign of incitement began even before I got out of prison, and they tried more than once to issue a law to expel all those who work against the Israelis,” Younes said.
Commenting on the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yunus said: “The new government is perhaps the most extremist and fascist in the history of Israel.”
“We say it is the most extremist government in Israel because of these extremists who have become ministers,” Younes said.
He added, “The biggest indication of this is the appointment of Itamar Ben Gvir as Minister of National Security, meaning that he is also responsible for the Prison Service.”
As for Ben Gvir, Younes said that he used to threaten prisoners by “depriving them of their rights and sending them back to the seventies.”
“Our consolation is that our prisoners today are united under one roof and one banner, which is the Supreme Command of the Prisoners, to face this challenge and confront Ben Gvir.”
“Our captives will go into battle to defend not only their accomplishments, but also their dignity and their existence. For them, it will become a matter of life and death.”
Regarding his future, Yunus said that his ultimate dream is to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
“I will do my duty towards the (Palestinian) cause, and I am ready to continue the struggle, because resistance does not retire,” he added.
Written by Mahmoud Barakat