Hana Shalabi: Not Quite Free at Last
by Stephen Lendman
After ignoring her entire hunger striking ordeal, her lawless detention, and weeks of Israeli ruthlessness, The New York Times finally acknowledged she exists, but little more.
On April 1, The Times headlined “Israel Frees Palestinian Detainee After Hunger Strike of Weeks,” saying:
Hana “was released from an Israeli prison on Sunday and sent into temporary exile in Gaza under a deal reached with the Israeli authorities.”
The Times regurgitated baseless Israeli accusations, but admitted she was detained uncharged. The article provided sketchy information about what Palestinians endure, but fell woefully short of explaining it properly, let alone decades of Israeli oppression.
Conditionally released from detention, Hana’s far from free. Maan News explained headlining, “Hana Shalabi arrives in Gaza,” saying:
She “was escorted Sunday through the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip….”
She agreed to live in exile three years. Palestinian officials condemned her deportation. One day’s too much, but Israel plans never letting her back in the West Bank.
Numerous past conditional release deals were violated. Expect Hana to be cheated the same way. Israel makes but ignores deals. Moreover, even in Gaza exile, she’s vulnerable to rearrest or targeted assassination.
Her parents and relatives got an hour with her before Israel whisked her off. On arrival, she was welcomed and taken to Shifa Hospital. Her condition was described as no longer life-threatening. On March 29, she again began eating.
From Ramla Prison clinic, former hunger striker Khader Adnan messaged her through his lawyer. He said she inspired other lawlessly detained Palestinians. Deporting her is wrong, he added, but at least Hana’s released and can begin her slow recovery process. Khader understands. He’s painfully undergoing his own.
In a joint statement, Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) expressed alarm about Hana’s deportation three days after ending her hunger strike.
They also condemned Israel’s refusal to let both organizations see her before her release.
They “fear that, given her grave medical condition, the restriction of access of Ms. Shalabi’s physician and lawyers, in addition to the prevention of family visits, were used as methods of coercion.”
“Furthermore, serious concerns exist regarding the availability and arrangement of adequate medical care matching Ms. Shalabi’s urgent needs in light of her swift transfer.”
In addition, Israel’s deal violates international law. Fourth Geneva’s Article 49 states:
“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”
Under Article 13 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
“(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
Israel spurns all international laws and its own. That’s how rogue states operate. Dealing with the devil’s impossible. Israel’s one of the worst.
Addameer, PHR-I, and Hana have just cause to be concerned. She’s isolated in Gaza. Her parents and relatives can’t see her.
Both organizations called lawless deportation or transfer “one of the most serious war crimes.”
“Given the stark asymmetry in power, resulting from the belligerent occupation, between the Palestinian and Israeli parties involved, neither the potential ‘consent’ of the prisoners nor the fact that these deals have been negotiated by a Palestinian authority can serve as justification for the deportations as this contravenes the spirit of articles 7, 8 and 47 of the GC (Geneva Convention) IV concerning the inviolability of the protections afforded by the Convention.”
Hana’s deteriorated health condition raises other concerns. To fully recover, she needs proper care perhaps not available in Gaza. Medical supplies are inadequate. Electricity and power are spotty at best.
“Addameer and PHR-Israel fear that transferring her while she is still recovering from her hunger strike to the destabilized Gazan medical system might further jeopardize her medical condition.” Hana’s case, like Khader Adnan, highlights Israel’s lawless administrative detention practice. Uncharged victims can be held months, years, or indefinitely without trial or knowledge about why they’re imprisoned.
Addameer, PHR-I, and other human rights organization demand world leaders intervene to end this outrage. Otherwise, Palestinians will continue being abused lawlessly.
A Final Comment
On March 26, political prisoner Marwan Barghouti’s letter from Hadarim Prison urged widespread nonviolent resistance against Israel’s repressive occupation, saying:
“The Palestinian Authority must stop all coordination with Israel – economic and security – and work toward Palestinian reconciliation.”
“It must be understood that there is no partner for peace in Israel when the settlements have doubled. It is the Palestinian people’s right to oppose the occupation in all means, and the resistance must be focused on the 1967 territories.”
As expected, Israel retaliated harshly. Prison officials isolated him in solitary confinement. He’s denied all rights, including to see visitors. His wife Fadwa was scheduled to see him. At best it’ll be later.
Prisons Authority spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said he’ll be there a week or longer with no rights or privileges, few as they are in Israeli gulags.
Contrary to Israeli claims, Barghouti called for nonviolent resistance. He said “the launch of a large-scale popular resistance at this stage serves the cause of our people.”
International law permits it. He also explained the futility of negotiating peace without a legitimate partner. He added that ending Israel’s occupation remains an illusion.
Though imprisoned for the past decade, he enjoys widespread popularity for good reason. His courage inspires others to resist. It’s Palestine’s only way to be free.
Perhaps under leaders like him they have a chance. At best, expect years more struggle, countless lives lost, and incalculable human suffering.
Hopefully liberation one day will follow. Palestinians and other persecuted people deserve no less.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.