Although she is only 10 years old, Jumana has been through a lot.
Jumana Abu Jazar is a Palestinian girl deprived of her father after Israeli soldiers detained him in 2000. Soon, Jumana’s loss doubled when her mother died of a kidney failure. She was only four months old at that time.
Jumana now lives with her elderly grandmother. Due to strict Israeli regulations on prison visits, Jumana barely has a chance to see her father. The last time she saw him was in 2006.
In 2007, Israeli authorities announced the suspension of Gaza family visits for Palestinian detainees held in their prisons.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the decision came after Hamas captured the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The committee says the decision deprives the detainees from an essential family connection and isolates them from the outside world. It also says that more than 700 families from Gaza have been prevented from seeing their detained relatives in the past four years.
Jumana, who is taking part in a sit-in protest against the Israeli visit ban, says she wants to see her father and urged the international community to help her.
Jumana: ''When former US president Jimmy Carter came to Gaza, I met him and told him that my father was in prison, my mother passed away, my grandfather is dead, even my uncle Ayman, whom I used to call papa, was a martyr. I am my father's only daughter; I have no one but God and my father. And I asked him: 'Can you wait for ten years to see your only daughter?' He said, 'No! No!' and he cried.''
Najya Mesleh is another example. Her life changed when Israeli soldiers stormed her house and arrested her husband two weeks before their first wedding anniversary. Najya’s husband was sentenced to 99 years in prisons. She decided she would wait for him.
For the first few years, Najya was allowed to visit her husband and could touch his fingers through the barrier’s wire netting. It meant a lot to her. The condition, however, worsened when Israeli authorities decided to replace the wire netting with a thick glass barrier. This made physical contact nearly impossible.
Najya Mesleh: "Our suffering increased in 2003 with the addition of a pane of glass as it created an emotional barrier between us and the detainees. Before, we enjoyed touching the hand or the fingers of our beloveds. But we were prevented from this contact. A mother could kiss her son before. A little child could kiss his father.''
The International Committee of the Red Cross says that according to international humanitarian law, Israel's denial of prisoner visits is illegal.
Juan Pedro Schaerer, (Head Of The ICRC'S Delegation In Israel and the Occupied Territories): ''Israel has an obligation to allow family visits to the people they detain, coming from Gaza, so international humanitarian law is quite clear on that respect. When it comes to the families themselves, fathers, mothers or children have the right to be in touch with their relatives who are detained by Israeli security forces and it's neither acceptable to have elderly people who might pass away without having the possibility of seeing a last time their son detained”.
Mr. Schaerer also said that Hamas must provide proof that the Israeli soldier Mr. Shalit is still alive, and should allow him contact with his family.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, which has been facilitating family visits from the west bank and Gaza for over 40 years, urges Israel to lift the visiting ban on Palestinian families.
Jumana Abu Jazar - Palestinian girl
Najya Mesleh - Palestinian Woman
Ikram Al Yacoub