“I just want to be close to my mother”

Nashat He woke up on Sunday not knowing that this would be the day of his freedom, who could come of age at home. She still has half a year left until she turns 18. Half a year, along with another year, she should have spent behind bars, but now she rests in her house. silwan, become a small local celebrity. “I just want to be close to my mother“says this boy forced to grow up. Nashat Bassem Talib Dawabsha is one of the 39 Palestinian prisoners released this Sunday as part of the third hostage exchange within the framework of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. This 17-year-old and He half-hugged his mother, with red eyes, while dozens of neighbors enter his house in this punished neighborhood of East Jerusalem to congratulate you. They bring wide smiles, many thanks to God and Hamas, and are welcomed with sweets, tea and coffee. It is the moment of complete happiness.

A few steep streets further up, where cars police and vans colonists They respect their turn to circulate, there is a massive celebration, although somewhat secret. The Awar family you are in luck. Four teenagers with this same last name have been released. After the Israeli police handed over Jalil To his family without allowing them to show the slightest hint of joy nor record the emotional reunion, the agents spent a couple of hours guarding the house. When they left, dozens of neighbors, friends and family came to the family home to celebrate the good news. “Thank God, I’m already home,” says the protagonist of the evening, Jalil Ahmad Awar, one month away from reaching the age of majority. “I didn’t do anything and they put me in jail ago 13 months“, he explains to this newspaper surrounded by all his friends. He doesn’t really want to talk. And it’s logical, people are waiting in line to hug him.

“Hopefully the older ones will leave soon”

Hours before his arrival, in Silwan, there had been new clashes between the police and youth. “All the kids from Silwan are in prison, there are no young boys in the streets of the neighborhood,” he says Ahmed Jalil Awar, Jalil’s father, when he is questioned about the reasons that have led his son to prison. In this disputed neighborhood on the edge of the Old City, thousands of native Palestinians are forced to live with the most radical settlers. Nashat explains that there were at least 50 other young people from the neighborhood in the juvenile section of the Meggido prison, where he spent the last year and a half. During the day on Sunday, seven of the 39 released were from Silwan. Some 8,000 Palestinian prisoners They remain in Israeli prisons.

Although the Hebrew authorities had celebrations prohibited and show any hint of joy at the release of their relatives, the residents of Jalil and Nashat come to give the newcomer a brief hug and leave quickly, with the repressed joy in the body. “Today is a very important day for all of Palestine“, celebrates Ahmed, amidst effusive greetings. “The children have been released from prison; Hopefully soon the older ones will leave too,” he adds. When Jalil, the middle of four brothers, is asked, he says that his first wish is to get married, despite his young age. “I will work for four years and then I will get married“he announces, mischievously, before escaping to chat with his friends.

39 prisoners free every day

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Since last Friday, every day 39 Palestinian prisoners, women and children, have been released from prison. “Until this morning I didn’t know that there was this agreement with Israel to free us,” Nashat confesses to EL PERIÓDICO. Unlike Jalil, who responds a terse “good” when asked about the situation in jailyour neighbor has no qualms about reporting the worsening of their conditions since the start of the war on October 7. “In these 51 days, they have given us nothing but a set of clothesthey have crammed between eight and ten people into the same cell, and we have not been able to receive any visits“, he explains. “The prison officials attacked us, insulted us and shouted much more,” he adds. Without news from outside, the young people in Meggido prison received information thanks to the new detainees. In the last two months, there have been more than 3,800many of them minors.

Coming home doesn’t mean staying. “Of course I’m afraid of being arrested again“, states Nashat. “But now what I want is to be next to my mother, I haven’t seen her in so long,” says this still child, without any shame. The last visit he received was in September and the next one was already canceled due to the war. Nobody forgets Loop. Nobody has a party at all. The almost 15,000 deaths in the Strip are present in every celebration, in every reunion. “They are our brothers who are being killed,” denounces a relative of Jalil. The words of gratitude to Allah are repeated, along with those dedicated to Hamas. But no one surrenders to joy. “The Israelis forbid us to speak and we we don’t answer thembecause we are afraid that they will take him away again,” explains Jalil’s father, without taking his eyes off him. These children have already slept in their beds, although, behind bars and overcrowded, they remain another 200 minors who long for the same destiny.