Following an extended lull in activities due to the security situation and the internal division being experienced in the occupied West Bank, the Islamic bloc at the University of Birzeit held a public celebration to honour the prisoners released in the exchange deal between Israel and Hamas. The programme was held at the Jamal Nasser Hall on the university campus.
A large number of students attended from the various university departments alongside a number of high-profile personalities, including Palestinian Legislative Council deputies from the Change and Reform Bloc.
The Ramallah deputy, Sheikh Hassan Youssef, delivered an address on behalf of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), while Nael al-Barghouthi responded on behalf of the ex-prisoners; the doyen of the prisoners spent 34 years inside Israeli prisons. Released prisoner Rabee al-Barghouthi's poem was received very warmly by those taking part; he used to read the poem in secret to his fellow detainees in prison.
A recorded message from the exiled Ahlam al-Tamimi, who was also released in the prisoner exchange deal, was played to the audience. She hailed the public and recollected her years spent studying at the University of Birzeit. She ended the address by thanking the Resistance, primarily the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades and those who had managed to achieve this historic victory, and hoped for the imminent release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.
The ceremony was enlivened by a Jerusalemite Islamic nasheed (vocal) group, and was closed by the presentation of commemorative plaques to the ex-prisoners.
MEMO Photographer: Ibtehal Mansour