Jordanian Journalist Yousef Alawnah: Israeli Prisons Are Like Institutes of Education; I Am Ashamed by the Comparison to the Arab World
In a Saudi 24 TV interview, Jordanian journalist Yousef Alawnah compared his incarceration in Israel to prisons in the Arab world and said that he was ashamed by the comparison. Alawnah recounted that he had served 30 months in an Israeli prison for smuggling explosives, adding that "prison was like an institute of education," where inmates had "an opportunity to acquire culture, to read, and to study many things." Alawnah wrote for the Kuwaiti press for many years and, according to media reports, he was deported in 2016 after criticizing Iraqi Shiite leader Ayatollah Al-Sistani. He said that in the library of an Israeli prison there are 30,000-40,000 books, and asked: "Do the Sunni prisoners in Iraq have books to read? The prisoners held in the dungeons of the Syrian regime... Do you think that they have books?" The interview was broadcast on June 12.
Yousef Alawnah: "I am ashamed by [the comparison] between Israeli and Arab prisons. There are 30,000-40,000 books in the library of an Israeli prison."
Interviewer: "In Arabic?"
Yousef Alawnah: "Yes, of course. They have all the important books, history books, books against Israel and against Zionism... Even Hitler's Mein Kampf is there. We had an opportunity to acquire culture, to read, and to study many things in prison. Prison was like an institute of education. Of course, the first prisoners had made sacrifices, but in comparison to Arab prisons, I am sad to say... It's not just the prisons. Consider what the Arabs have done to one another. If the Jews occupied Syria or Iraq, would they do all those things? Have the Jews killed as many Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese, and others as Iran's militias killed in Mosul or in Aleppo? No.
"Do the Sunni prisoners in Iraq have books to read? The prisoners held in the dungeons of the Syrian regime... There is a prison in Syria that has a cemetery above it. The dungeon is underground, and between this dungeon and the surface, there is a layer of soil in which people are being buried. When the executioners dig to bury them, the people below know it. Do you think that they have books?"