On Mothers’ Day: Freedom for Palestinian mothers and their children


Palestinians and Arabs marked Mothers’ Day on 21 March, at a time when 13 Palestinian mothers are held behind Israeli bars and thousands of Palestinian mothers’ children are imprisoned. Palestinian mothers are at the forefront of the movement to free Palestinian prisoners, leading protests, mobilizations and demonstrations to demand the freedom their sons and daughters and of the Palestinian people.

Imprisoned Palestinian mothers are among over 60 Palestinian women imprisoned by Israel, and 7000 Palestinian political prisoners in total. They suffer alongside their fellow prisoners the injustices of Israeli occupation: torture, abusive interrogation, sleep deprivation, denial of proper medical care, administrative detention without charge or trial, military charges that rubber-stamp their imprisonment. Further, Palestinian mothers, like their fellow prisoners, are frequently denied family visits, including visits with their own children; in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, they are held in HaSharon or Damon prisons, inside occupied Palestine ’48, where their families are often denied special security permits required to visit prisoners. Palestinian mothers are also targeted with their children for “house arrest,” including one case in which a mother has been forced into house arrest herself, preventing her from her work as a schoolteacher, despite there being no allegations against her.

Several Palestinian mothers are suffering severe health situations due to Israeli occupation violence and medical neglect inside the prisons. Addameer highlighted the case of Israa Jaabes of Jabal Mukaber, Jerusalem. Israa’s car burst on fire internally near al-Zayem military checkpoint on 10 October 2015, in which she was severely burned and injured. Addameer notes that “Israeli Occupation Forces accused Israa of attempting to engage in an attack by exploding her car, however, the car did not explode and Israa was the only person injured in the fire inside the car. Israa’s child has been unable to see his mother since her arrest.” She was transfered to Ein Karem Hospital, then Al-Ramle Prison Clinic and then HaSharon Prison, all without completing her necessary medical treatment. She continues to require a wheelchair because of her injuries, and is cared for by fellow prisoners rather than by medical staff.

Abla al-‘Adam, 45, mother of nine, is suffering from severe pain and risk of infection in HaSharon prison. She is supposed to be taken to Hadassah Ein Karem hospital for medical examination, which has been postponed repeatedly. Al-‘Adam was shot in the head by Israeli occupation soldiers in Al-Khalil on 20 December 2015. She was accused of attempting to stab Israeli soldiers; there were no injuries to Israelis. She was held in the hospital before a speedy transfer to the prison, despite the fact that she cannot see from her right eye and suffers constant pain, reported the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

In addition, Palestinian writer Reham Alhelsi reported that seven Palestinian mothers have been killed by Israeli occupation forces since 1 October 2015: Noor Hassan, Huda Darwish, Tharwat Shaarawy, Mahdia Hammad, Zainab Rashayda, Fadwa Abu Teir and Amani al-Sabatin, while 200 Palestinian mothers have lost their sons and daughters killed by occupation forces. Fifteen Palestinian mothers are still awaiting the release of the bodies of their children, which have been held captive by the Israeli occupation for months.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society noted that the following thirteen mothers are imprisoned by Israel:

1 Tamara Shreiteh, imprisoned since 15 November 2015
2. Haifa Abu Remaileh, imprisoned since 14 December 2015
3. Abla al-‘Adam, imprisoned since 20 December 2015.
4. Amira Hmeidat, imprisoned since 16 November, 2015.
5. Yasmeen Shaaban, imprisoned since 3 November 2014.
6. Alia al-Abbassi, imprisoned since 15 April 2015
7. Israa Jaabis, imprisoned since 10 October 2015.
8. Samia Mashahra, imprisoned since 9 November 2015.
9. Khalida Jarrar, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, imprisoned since 2 April 2015.
10. Helwa Hamamreh, imprisoned since 8 November 2015.
11. Amina Salah, imprisoned since 5 January 2016.
12. Nisreen Hasan, imprisoned since 18 October 2015.
13. Sana al-Hafi, imprisoned since 25 May 2015.

Photo: Joe Catron