Majd Owaida: From Gaza’s Open-air-prison to Israeli Prisons

By Maram Humaid – Gaza

Despairingly, Maha Owaida, the mother of Majd Owaida, 23, took part in the sit-in in solidarity with her son, who was arrested two months ago while en route to the West Bank via the Israeli-controlled Eretz crossing.

Few people joined the Owaida’s family on Monday, 11th April, 2016, where the weekly sit-in for prisoners’ families is held in front of the headquarters of the Internationals Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza city.

Majd Owaida, established the Palestinian talents Club in Gaza, which is the local representative of the Arab Got Talent.

After several attempts, Owaida has succeeded at obtaining a license to start the local branch of the program in Gaza. Moreover, for complementing the registration procedures of the program in the West Bank, Owaida got a temporary visit-permit, along with a group of talented members, after being denied many times.

While en route to the West Bank last February, Owaida was arrested at the Eretz crossing by the Israeli intelligence without explanation, and amid a media blackout.

On23 March, Israeli intelligence announced arresting a Palestinian The Israeli intelligence presented “sensitive information” which they claimed threatened the Israeli security, by developing E-Systems that controlled surveillance cameras at Ben Gurion Airport and Israeli main roads, or so they said. Majd Owaida has been charged with all these accusations.

“I’ve got deeply shocked by the news, I couldn’t take it. I know my son well; he is very peaceful and loving. His time was dedicated for his work in exploring talents around. These accusations are completely false,” Owaida’s mother stated.

In the video of his first hearing, Majd appeared in the court broken and shocked, surrounded by Israeli security, and with his hands handcuffed.

The Israeli media dealt with Majed’s case with an unprecedented interest; as if Israel has detained a wanted person that they sought for years to have.

“This is a media-show off for the Israeli public. Israel pretends to have achieved a serious security goal by arresting Majed, attaching unreasonable and over-exaggerated accusations to him,” Jawad Owaida, Majed’s father said.

“My son is very clever, smart and talented. His major was electrical engineering, and he doesn’t have any political or military interests.”

Busy talking to the media outlets coming to cover the solidarity sit-in, Majd’s mother added, “The Palestinian talents started to win international prizes, as Mohammad Assaf, the Arab Idol from Gaza, and the Palestinian teacher, Hanan Al-Hroub, who recently won the Global Teacher Prize. I don’t rule out arresting my son Majd for his role in exploring Palestinian talents and nurturing them… Israel attempts to wipe out Palestinian talents everywhere.”

After arresting Majd, the Arabs Got Talent program withdrew the Palestinians Got Talents license in Gaza, after dozens of Palestinian talents registered to participate.

The organizers of the Arabs Got Talent said in a statement that they stopped the program after “political pressure” was applied following the arrest of Majed Owaida, the program director in Gaza, at the Eretz crossing.

“We call on all international organizations, Human Rights groups, and the Palestinian leadership to intervene to free my son. Majd did not commit any crime. He did not harm anybody. His was only interested in exploring talents. I assure that he did not have any political or military affiliations,” Majd’s father said.

Majd’s family is determined to continue Majd’s passionate work. “We are his family and we are always proud of him. We believe in our son’s work and we are going to follow his path in working for the sake of Palestinian talents, until he is free again.”

– Maram Humaid is a Gaza-based translator and journalist who is interested in the Palestinian prisoners’ issue. This article was contributed to PalestineChronicle.com.

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