Rawan's father was denied access to see her throughout her detention due to the occupation's refusal to grant him visiting permits for her (Al Jazeera)

RAMALLAH – There is no joy in the home of freed Palestinian prisoner Rawan Abu Ziyada. The family agreed to do so out of respect for the blood of the martyrs in Gaza, but this did not prevent them from showing their joy in the first morning for their freedom. Rather, she said the release of prisoners was "the beginning of victory."

Rawan, 29, from the town of Beitlo, west of Ramallah, was released on Friday, November 24, as part of the first batch of the prisoner exchange deal concluded by the Palestinian resistance with Israel, which included 38 prisoners and children arrested before the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

Rawan was arrested in 2015, and sentenced to 9 years in prison, and despite her joy at liberation 8 months before the end of her sentence next July, "a day in prison is worth a whole year," she says, but she believes that "the verdict on the deal will be the liberation of those with high sentences, it is difficult to describe the feeling of prisoners of life sentences who hold a release paper with an infinite date."

Rawan Abu Ziadeh said that the prison administration tried until the last minute to rob the prisoners of their joy (Al Jazeera)

Swinging hopes

Since the first day of the battle of the "Al-Aqsa Flood", the hopes of the prisoners were renewed, but a week later these "hopes began to wave," according to the news of the Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip.

"Without faith and hope, we would have succumbed to the frustrating ideas that were reinforced by Israeli statements not to accept a prisoner exchange deal with the resistance," Rawan said.

"The most important prisoners who were waiting for any news about the deal were the wounded and the mothers, especially Israa al-Jaabiss and Fadwa Hamada. The joy of all of us was indescribable, but mothers were the most joyous of us." Stressing the importance of this deal for prisoners, she said: "All of us in prisons are sure that our freedom will only be through an exchange deal."

She pointed out that the prison administration tried until the last minute to rob the prisoners of their joy by not informing them from the beginning about the deal, then the date of their release, and then informing them that this deal would not include domestic prisoners, or those arrested after October 7.

Rawan added, "We were very shocked, with the exception of the prisoners of the interior, especially Shatila Abu Ayada, with whom I spent all the years of my detention," and perhaps what hurt Rawan and the prisoners the most, was their removal from the sections while they were not present, so they could only say goodbye to her with letters.

They turned prisons into cemeteries

Speaking about the conditions of the prisoners, Rawan said that "the Israeli prison administration, after the aggression on the Gaza Strip, imposed measures that turned prisons into cemeteries," and explained, "They withdrew everything from the sections, even the chairs we sit on."

The prison administration left nothing in the sections except the brushes (wooden beds on which the prisoners sleep), even their clothes and food, in addition to assaulting the prisoners more than once by spraying them with gas, storming the sections, isolating some of the prisoners and beating them.

Rawan compares the 50-day period of war with previous years in prisons, with the difficulties and abusive measures before the aggression, but there are some rights that the prisoners extracted, but they were completely withdrawn after the war, and the prisoners' representative body with the administration was dissolved, and the prisoners' representatives were isolated until the last day.

The father of editor Rawan Nafez Abu Ziadeh and the rest of her family while awaiting her release in front of Ofer prison (Al Jazeera)

Strange in her house

The joy of Rawan's release was overwhelming her family at Ofer checkpoint on Friday evening, where her father Nafez Abu Ziadeh and her brothers were all in front of Ofer prison before her name was announced on the list, and with the occupation forces attacking them and the rest of the families by firing tear gas canisters heavily, her father insisted on waiting for more than 12 hours despite his illness.

This morning, the father greeted us with great joy at his home, during which he revealed his fear of the occupation manipulating the release of prisoners and his daughter, and said, "I did not believe until I saw her in front of me."

Rawan's father was deprived of seeing her throughout her detention, due to the refusal of the occupation to grant him a permit to visit her, and even some of her brothers were unable to see them for the same reason, which made her feel strange among them despite her great joy, as she is still trapped in the details of life in prisons, and feels strange from the details of ordinary life.

Rawan woke up at dawn on Saturday at the time of the morning number of prisoners, as the prison administration daily counts prisoners and prisoners in prisons twice in the morning and evening. She says that her way back to her home has changed, as after her arrest, the occupation closed the road of her original village to protect the settlers of the settlement of "Halamish", and then the occupation forces closed the alternative road since the aggression on Gaza, forcing the villagers to take a secondary road between the neighboring villages.

Rawan continued, "Everything has changed, even the faces of those around me have changed, I found 12 new grandchildren, years that are enough for big changes, until I felt like a stranger in my home, and this is the most difficult thing that the prisoner faces, his separation from the outside completely."

Source : Al Jazeera