Monday, April 2, 2012

Shalabi: I am not a deportee, but among Gaza family

Former hunger-striker Hana Shalabi said she does not consider herself a
deportee in Gaza, as she is amongst friends and loved ones, after she was
released to Gaza Sunday in a deal to end her 43-day strike. (MaanImages)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Former hunger-striker Hana Shalabi said Monday she does not consider herself a deportee, a day after arriving in the Gaza Strip under a deal to end her detention without charge.

"I am happy to be among family and loved ones" in Gaza, she told Ma'an from Gaza City's Shifa Hospital.

Shalabi, from Jenin, ended a 43-day hunger strike on Thursday after reaching a deal with Israeli authorities that she will be sent to Gaza for three years before returning home.

She arrived in Gaza on Sunday to an official welcome by various factions and was transferred to hospital, where her condition was described as no longer life-threatening.

Human rights groups slammed the terms of her deal, and the International Committee of the Red Cross urged Israel "to comply with international humanitarian law, which prohibits Israel, whatever its motives, from forcibly transferring Palestinians to another territory."

Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights - Israel said in a joint statement that they feared the restriction of Shalabi's access to doctors and lawyers, in addition to the prevention of family visits, were used as coercion.

Members of the media surround Hana Shalabi as she is carried to al-Shifa
Hospital in Gaza City on Sunday. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Shalabi told Ma'an on Monday that Israeli authorities tried to blackmail her to end her hunger-strike against detention without charge, but she drew strength from former hunger-striker Khader Adnan to resist these efforts.

She expressed gratitude to Palestinians and "all the free people in the world" for supporting her during the strike.

"I cannot find words to thank all those who supported me and sympathized with my cause," Shalabi told Ma'an.

"I am proud of all of you, and I hereby confirm that I have moved from the field of direct confrontation with the (Israeli) occupation to the field of supporting all prisoners who face their jailers with a firm will and steadfastness," she said.

She also thanked Palestinian media for covering her strike, as well as Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shallah.

Shalabi is being monitored by specialized nutritionists at the hospital while she recovers. Medics say her condition is stable but she will stay in hospital for a few days for medical precautions.

Shifa Hospital Director Nasser al-Tatar told Ma'an that Shalabi has significant weight loss, low blood pressure and poor kidney function.
Maan News Agency