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Hana Shalabi arrives in Gaza

12:00 Apr 1 2012 Erez crossing

Hana Shalabi arrives in Gaza
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Photo: Hana Shalabi is escorted by Israeli prison guards upon her arrival to Erez border
between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip April 1, 2012. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Former hunger-striker Hana Shalabi was escorted Sunday through the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip, a Ma'an reporter said.

She was exiled to Gaza temporarily in a deal with Israel to end her hunger strike. Palestinian officials have condemned Israel for displacing her from her native West Bank.

A statement from the Palestinian Authority ministry of prisoners affairs said Shalabi's parents and other relatives would not be allowed to see her beforehand.

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

Palestinian human rights groups, meanwhile, say they are alarmed by the deal and Israel's refusal to deny them access to Shalabi in the days leading up to her release.

A joint statement from Addameer and PHR-Israel said they fear that the restriction of access of to Shalabi’s physician and lawyers, in addition to the prevention of family visits, were used as coercion.

"Shalabi deserves utmost respect for her steadfastness in her hunger strike," they said.

While her release from administrative detention should be welcomed, the groups "are obligated to highlight their concerns with those aspects of the deal that are fundamentally at odds with international law."

The terms of such expulsions violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits forcible transfers and deportations of protected persons, the rights groups noted.

Unlawful deportation or transfer also constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention "and qualifies as one of the most serious war crimes," the joint release said.

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4/2/2012

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

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.

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.
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