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Lama Khater: Being jailed by Israel has motivated me to stick to my rights

July 27, 2019 at 9:54 am

Palestinian writer and journalist Lama Khater and her husband after being released from prison on 26 July 2019 [Shehab News Agency/Facebook]

Israel isolates female Palestinian prisoners and cuts them off from the outside world, newly released prisoner and writer Lama Khater said yesterday.

Speaking in an interview with the Palestinian Information Centre following her release from Israeli jail where she was incarcerated for 13 months, Khater said women being held by the occupation are spreading joy despite the cruelty they face in detention.

“My happiness with my freedom is incomplete and will only be achieved by the release of all the prisoners and my son Usama, who was arrested by the occupation a month ago,” Khater said after her release.

“Female prisoners are waiting for freedom. I call on whoever has the key to freedom for them to take prompt action in this regard,” she stressed, adding that she was subjected to repression while she was being investigated for 32 consecutive days.

She called on all Palestinians to show solidarity with prisoners, to work to draw international attention to their cause and bring  joy to them and their families with letters of solidarity, stressing that “those who see the lives of female prisoners will be very touched by their situation.”

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Khater further said that this is the reality of this occupation against the Palestinian people, and the arrest of women is much more difficult than the arrest of the youth and men. “The absence of women affects their families,” she explained.

Many of the prisoners had been jailed at a young age, she explained, as young as 14 and had spent all their teen years in the occupation’s detention centres.

“In prison, we think a lot about these prisoners’ conditions and situation,” Khater said. However, in spite of the conditions they find themselves in, the women are unified and support each other in the face of their Israeli jailors, she continued.

Calling for similar unity among all Palestinians, Khater said: “What brings us together is more than what divides us.”

“The female prisoners’ battle with the jailer ends only with freedom. Despite the pain, they have been able to defy the jailer and spread joy in different ways. Some of them are high school students who study and learn from each other,” the writer said.

Freedom of Expression in Israel – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Khater, aged 42 and a mother of five, was arrested on 24 July 2018 in her home city of Hebron after Israeli occupation forces started to investigate her “writings and membership in a banned organisation”, accusing her of incitement to violence through her numerous newspaper articles for Palestinian and Arab papers and online sites.

She has vowed not to stop writing. “For me, writing gives a meaning to my life. I do not care much about the position of my enemies against my writings. My message does not stop because of prison, and I will not retreat from writing it.”

“The person who is committed to his principles must bear the difficulty of the road and the cost of his free speech,” Khater added, pointing out that she learned new values from the prison, despite its severity and cruelty.

The 32-days she was interrogated “will not negatively affect my convictions. The person who stands for his rights is always targeted by his enemies. This has motivated us to continue and hold on to these principles.”

READ: 5 female Palestinian journalists held in Israel jails