The grandchildren of Nafiz Harz have been waiting to meet their grandfather who disappeared from his family’s life a quarter of a century ago. Their pain and patience may be translated into pride and love by children who continue to have high hopes and dreams. The rest of his family still cling to their memories of a happy household all those years ago.
Prisoner Nafiz Ahmad Talib Harz from Aldaraj neighbourhood in Gaza City was born in 1955. He is married and has six children. Following his arrest in November 1985 he was sentenced to life imprisonment and has now entered his twenty sixth year of detention in Israeli prisons, including Saraya, Ashkelon, Nafha, Sheba’a, Ramal and Hadareem.
His wife, Umm Ahmed, describes her husband’s life before his arrest as “secretive” especially in terms of his resistance efforts, saying: “He was very secretive and we didn’t know anything about his work with the resistance until after his arrest by the occupation forces for the first time. He was interrogated for thirteen days, but did not confess to the charges against him, so he was released.”
The Israeli occupation forces arrested Nafiz Harz twice and accused him of having responsibility for the killing of one of its soldiers; he denied the charges and was released before being re-arrested three years later on the 25 November 1985.
Prisoner Harz’s left hand was injured when he was arrested for the first time. This was used to the interrogators’ advantage to put pressure on him; he was subjected to severe torture in the interrogation process.
His family still lives in Gaza City and remember Prisoner Harz fondly. His pictures adorn the walls of his house and his grandchildren have grown to love him as they grow up hearing stories about their grandfather.
Despite the many prisoner release deals which have been struck with the Israelis, Nafiz Harz’s name has not figured. His family does not despair, however.
“My heart beats with joy when I heard that a deal was close over an exchange for Shalit,” said Umm Ahmad. “No one knows the amount of grief that I have being kept from my husband, especially on religious occasions during which I wish he was with us.” The family has been forbidden to visit Prisoner Harz ever since Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured on active duty in Gaza. “Even phone calls have been banned for years,” she adds.