RAMALLAH, April 9 (JMCC) - Former Palestinian prisoner Hana Shalabi raises questions about the deal to release her to the Gaza Strip and thus end her month-and-a half hunger strike in an interview
with the Electronic Intifada.
She says that lawyer Jawad Boulous' statements to her and to others were contradictory and seeks an explanation.
Shalabi, who is from Burqin in the West Bank, agreed to be released to the Gaza Strip and remain there for three years, although Israel has not allowed the return of Palestinians deported in other time-limited arrangements.
RA: Did you feel pressure to accept deportation to Gaza? Did this idea come from the Israelis?
HS: There is a mystery behind this, and I want the lawyers for the Prisoners Society and my lawyer Jawad Boulos, to clarify this to me and to the public. Jawad Boulos told the prisoners’ affairs bodies that Hana wanted to be deported, while he told me personally that the Shabak [the Israeli General Security Service also often known as “Shin Bet”] and the Israeli courts had no option for me, and that they didn’t want me to return to the West Bank and that the only option left is to deport me. Boulos was the last one to visit me, shortly before I was sent to Gaza.
RA: Did you ask to see anyone that the Israelis refused to allow to visit you?
HS: I asked to see the senior Islamic Jihad leader inside the prison, Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi, from whom I received a letter that the enemy [Israel] bargained with him that I was to be deported to Gaza for one year, but al-Saadi refused. Yet Jawad Boulos, my lawyer, agreed to [Israel’s] option that I was to be deported to Gaza for three years.
The deal to release Shalabi was criticized by officials in the Palestinian Authority and Islamic Jihad, which Hana is said to belong to. Human rights groups said deportation should never be considered an acceptable option, as it defies international law.