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Prisoners Memorial

Juma Abu Khalifa

  • Suffering story
  • Jineen city
Juma Abu Khalifa

Sheikh Hasan Yousef

  • A Nation in One Man
  • Ramallah city
Sheikh Hasan Yousef



Paramedics are not allowed to save Palestinians injured during clashes in Al-Bireh city - Israeli soldiers are apparently taught the "bleed to death" policy against Palestinians in all occurrences.


Sheikh Hasan Yousef

Sheikh Hasan Yousef
  • A Nation in One Man
  • Ramallah city



Sheikh Hasan Yousef “Abu Musab” was in Al-Aqsa Mosque before Sharon on September 28th 2000. He led the first demonstration in Al-Aqsa Intifada. The Hamas political figure from the West Bank was released from occupation jails in 1999. But he left his comfortable life to defend Al-Aqsa and resist the occupation. For those who know him, Abu Musab embodies a whole nation in his action, motivation, and determination.


In Al-Aqsa before Sharon:

After his release from occupation jails in 1999, Hasan Yousef was keen not to leave areas under full Palestinian Authority control. And during the times he was forced to do so, he avoided all occupation roadblocks.


But on the eve of Sharon’s visit to Al-Aqsa in September 2000, Sheikh Hasan broke the routine upon learning of Sharon’s intentions. He had not entered Al-Aqsa since the first Intifada because of a ban by the occupation army. He was determined to be there. His initial plan was to go with Marwan Barghouti, the imprisoned leader of Fatah in the West Bank. But when he didn’t find Marwan, he went and took his son, Musab, with him.


Abu Musab reached Al-Aqsa 15 minutes before Sharon. And he joined a group of about 150 Muslim worshippers. Occupation police surrounded them to allow Sharon to conduct his visit. Sharon’s visit lasted for a few minutes before he left. And Sheikh Hasan went back to Ramallah to lead a protest demonstration organized by the Islamic Bloc at Birzeit University.


Target for assassination:

Throughout Al-Aqsa Intifada, Sheikh Hasan Yousef has been the target of occupation assassination attempts. He was forced to change his residence many times. His house in the Ramallah area was known to everyone. And so he lived in more than one house. Sometimes, he changed houses twice during the same day.


Occupation forced shelled his office with tank artillery. And they shelled his house as well. They recruited many spies to track him and determine his whereabouts. But they failed; and many of them were caught and confessed about their missions.


This situation continued for more than a year. And the people around Sheikh Hasan found it increasingly difficult to protect Abu Musab. And on August 31st 2002, occupation forces surrounded the house where Abu Musab was staying; and they detained him in Al-Biereh. He was immediately transferred to Al-Maskoobeya interrogation center (Russian Compound) in Al-Quds.


Torture and interrogation:

This was the 13th time occupation intelligence officers interrogated Sheikh Hasan. He was fully aware of their tactics; and they knew his strength. For three months, Abu Musab was subjected to severe torture. He was subjected to interrogation 10 hours a day. Out side the interrogation chamber, he was forced to stand and sit in painful positions. And he was deprived of sleep.


Abu Musab did not divulge any piece of information that could harm him or his brothers. The 5 torturers who were assigned to question him confronted him with his press statements; and he replied that I am a man of social reconciliation and a religious man. I have no other activities. A torturer nicknamed “Abu Yousef” told him that the occupation has 2700 intelligence reports against him. Abu Musab brushed them aside saying, “Maybe they’re talking about another man!” In the end, one of the torturers started to pound his own head with his fists in frustration.


The torturers detained Sheikh Hasan’s son, Musab, to exert more pressure on him. They told him that we have your son. He acted as if he didn’t hear them. They brought his son and started to interrogate him in front of his father. But Abu Musab wasn’t intimidated. They put the two in a bugged cell to catch their conversations. But the two spent two days praying.


And Abu Musab confronted and won against the torture machine of the occupation.



After 3 months of torture, Abu Musab was transferred to Al-Ramla prison. Then he was transferred to Nafha desert detention center. Then he was transferred to Beir Al-Saba prison. He suffered greatly during his imprisonment. Sheikh Hasan was transferred to more than eight prisons, including nine months in solitary confinement in Bir Shiva detention, and was subjected to all sorts of physical and psychological torture.


He talks about one episode saying: “After the hunger strike in August 2004, I was placed in solitary confinement ward, in a very dark cell, for three days, there I contracted a skin disease and allergy. They refused to give me any medication, and barred me form seeing the prison doctor, and insulted me. I faced their insults with the pride of a Palestinian detainee. Other detainees were not silent too. Then I was moved to another solitary room, but near the rooms of the detainees.”


He was charged with leading Al-Aqsa Intifada and holding sensitive positions in an illegal organization. And although he did not say any word that could implicate him, occupation military prosecutors kept him in jail till his release on November 18th, 2004.



Sheikh Hasan continued his leading role in resisting the occupation after his release. One of the first things he did upon his release was to visit the grave of President Yaser Arafat in Ramallah. Abu Musab embodied a nation and his actions aimed to unite his nation. But less than a year after his release and on September 25th 2005, Abu Musab was imprisoned again by the occupation.




Sheikh Hasan Yousef; “interrogators were trying to blackmail me”

Source, Palestine News Network, PNN - Wednesday, 24 November 2004

After he was released from detention, Sheikh Hasan Yousef talked about the long solitary imprisonment and interrogation.


Sheikh Hasan Yousef, who was released on Thursday morning, was arrested during Operation Defensive Shield, a major invasion of most West Bank cities, which took place in April 2002.


Yousef, known as a moderate Hamas leader, become head of Hamas' political wing in the West Bank in August 2001.


Released from Ofer military jail, Yousef immediately traveled to Ramallah, where he placed a wreath and offered prayers at Yasser Arafat's grave.


“I decided to visit Arafat’s grave directly after I was release, to ensure unity and among the Palestinians and factions.


“on August 13, 2002, more than tens tanks and tens of soldiers encircled a home were I was present, and threatened to shell the home if I don’t surrender, they told me that am wanted for questioning and transferred me to Beit Eil interrogation canter, near Ramallah, were I was placed in a small cell for more than ten hours, and at dawn, I was transferred to Al-Maskobiyya interrogation center, near Jerusalem”.


Sheikh Hasan was interrogated for 70 days, more than ten teams of interrogators took shifts, some of them already knew him from previous arrests and interrogation periods, he was forced to stand for long periods, blindfolded and handcuffed.


The Israeli security charged him of relations with the military wing of Hamas, and placed in front of him 161 confessions, according to their claims, and 7000 reports provided to them by the collaborators.

“I faced them and their charges with a silent tongue and a broken open”, Sheikh Hasan said.


“In spite of the huge amounts of papers and recordings they taped for me during TV interviews, I denied all of their charges, I even refused to sign on the charges list, they even arrested my son in order to impose pressure on me, but I held my peace.”


Sheikh Hasan was transferred for more than eight prisons, including nine months in solitary in Bir Shiva detention, and was subjected to all sorts of physical and psychological torture.


After twenty months in detention, sheikh Hasan was informed that he will be transferred to Ofer detention, near Ramallah, for further interrogation.


Upon arriving at Ofer detention, he found intelligence officials and security officers trying to bargain him on a deal concerning his imprisonment and resistance members in the camp, but he rejected and told them that “he was not assigned by any party to negotiate on their behalf”.


The Israeli security tried to impose physiological pressure on him, and told him that he could phone his wife and children, but he rejected.


“I told myself, I am not that cheap”, Hasan said, “send me back to solitary, and give the detainees a change to phone their families”, Hasan said.


Afterwards, Sheikh Hasan was placed in solitary, but this time in a cage, where he was not allowed to talk to any one, and not even allowed to look through the keyhole.


“After the latest hunger strike in August 2004, I was placed in solitary, in a very dark cell, for three days, there I contracted a skin disease and allergy, they refused to give me any medication, and barred me form seeing the prison doctor, and insulted me, I was not client, I faced their insults with the pride of a Palestinian detainees, the other detainees were not silent too, then I was removed from solitary, to another solitary room, but near the rooms of the detainee”, sheikh Hasan said.


Sheikh Hasan said that he met with thousands of detainees, lived among them and shared with them their suffering, some of them have been their since more than ten years, after being arrested at the age of 18 or less, “they all have high spirits and will”, he said.


Concerning his opinion of a truce with Israel, and Hamas position concerning the truce, Sheikh Hasan said that there cannot be a truce while the detainees are still imprisoned.


Some hours before he was released, an officer of the Israeli security tried threat him, but he told the officer that as long as there are detainees still in detention, we cannot talk about a truce, “the detainees are the first priority, they should be released before any solution is reached”.


When Sheikh Hasan was asked about the presidential elections, and whether Hamas will present its own candidate, sheikh Yousef said: “Hamas believed that the elections should be conducted as a full package, and not partial, we need new blood to rule in the Palestinian society, the movement will give legitimacy to partial elections, the movement might not concentrate on the presidential elections as long as there are real guarantees to conduct municipal and legislative elections later on, and concerning presidential election, it depends of the conditions, but the movement might not specify any candidate to this position, and to the legislative lections too”.


When asked about the impacts of the president’s death, sheikh Yousef, said that Yasser Arafat had its effects and that he symbolized the Palestinian struggle; “he was able to control the social, political and security aspects, especially that the social formula in the Palestinian society was deeply affected and touched by his unique personality, but the Palestinian nation can “deliver new leaderships”, Sheikh Yousef said.


“There are dangers of insecurity, the shooting in the mourning tent in Gaza is a dangerous issue, but the Palestinian society will overcome the difference and will not slip into internal conflicts”.

“Hamas will not allow anybody to create internal conflicts, and will do its utmost efforts to preserve the Palestinian unity, after Oslo agreement, Hamas was harmed, when the P.A attacks some of its offices, but the movement did not shoot back”, Sheikh Yousef added.

When asked about the possibility that the P.A will conduct arrests, and collect weapons from political factions, Sheikh Hasan said that that resistance is stronger than peaceful solutions, “the Palestinian people will not disarm the resistance as long as there is occupation”.


Sheikh Hasan called upon the security devices to aid the resistance instead of conflicting with its positions, “our target is the occupation, not each other”.


“This is something I say for the first time, the gun is not our aim, it’s our way to achieve our target, we in Hamas, do not present ourselves as an alternative to any leadership, we are not partners in the negotiations, but we are partners in blood, fate and decision”.


At the end of the interview, Sheikh Hasan appealed both the Arab and Moslem Nations to provide that Palestinian with the needed financial and moral support, and to stand firm against the American plan which aims to wipe out the Arab nation and its culture and history, according to Sheikh Hasan.