Palestinians yesterday mourned Fatima Bernawi, the first woman to be imprisoned by Israel, who had died in Egypt at the age of 83 yesterday, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
The Fatah movement in Egypt issued an official statement mourning Bernawi, saying she had died following years of resistance during which she was an exceptional model for Palestinian women.
Bernawi joined the Fatah Movement when she was 18 following in the footsteps of her father who took part in the 1936 Arab revoltion in Palestine, and was an active fighter during the Palestinian Freedom Movement of the mid-1960s.
In 1967, Bernawi was arrested and became the first Palestinian woman to be imprisoned by Israel. She was released on 11 November 1979 and then exiled to Lebanon, before returning to the Gaza Strip in 1994 and leading the women’s police force.
“Bernawi will remain a shining historical mark in the history of the Palestinian national struggle,” Fatah said.
“The movement’s leaders and cadres will continue their struggle until the national rights that Bernawi fought for, represented by the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, are achieved” it added.
Bernawi was born in Jerusalem in 1939 to a Nigerian father and a Jordanian-Palestinian mother. In 1948, she moved with her family to Jordan, before she returned to Jerusalem in 1960 where she settled.
Bernawi was the wife of the late freedom fighter, Fawzi Al-Nimr, who passed away last year.
In 2015, Abbas awarded Bernawi the Military Star of Honour.