November 22, 2007
by Hadeel Wahdan – BBC
Translated by Ghassan Bannoura - IMEMC News
Aisha was born three years ago in Telmond Detention Camp. For three years she was unable to see the blue sky or play freely, her crime was that she was the daughter of a Palestinian woman, Itaf Eliyan, who is detained for being a member of a political group that Israeli considers hostile.
Um Waleed, the grandmother of Aisha sat waiting on a stone installed by the army in front of the main gate of the detention camp; Um Waleed is Aisha's only remaining family member, since the army kidnapped her father several days before.
Aisha's father has never held her; he used to see her during a visit just once a week and he was unable to hold her.
Aisha's grandmother asked me to ask the soldiers guarding the gate when the release was going to take place, and before I even had the chance to reply to her request, the loud noise of the gate filled the area, and there she was; Aisha, holding the hand of the family lawyer. Um Waleed rushed to her granddaughter to hold her and kiss her.
To begin with, Aisha did not accept Um Waleed and started to pull the lawyer back toward the detention center gate while shouting and screaming for her mother, who in addition was crying because of being separated from her child.
Eventually, with fear and hesitant steps, Aisha made her first steps out of the jail. The lawyer said that Aisha should have been released a year ago, as Israeli law says children of prisoners should not stay with their parents above the age of two years old.
There were five Palestinian babies in Israeli detention centers, three were released directly after being born due to health complications, one died at birth and Aisha stayed with her mother because her mother wanted to breastfeed her.
Quickly my cell phone caught Aisha's attention because of its constant ringing and this led her to the car that took her home. When in her new home she was jumping everywhere and looking around, exploring the place. Um Waleed looked at Aisha and said, "How I am going to take care of her, I am old and sick; they did not leave anyone from the family to take care of Aisha except me."
Aisha disappeared for some time and when she returned she was holding a photo of her parents on their wedding day. She did not recognize her father but of course she recognized her mother. I asked if I could speak to her and said "who are they?", she gave me an angry look because of my ignorance, and just cried "Mom, where is mom? I want go to mommy" all the while looking at the photo.
Just as I was leaving, Aisha grabbed onto my bag and said in her baby language, "I go with you, to bring mommy". At three years old, she knew a lot, including that this detention center would not allow her to see her mother.