Natalie Shukha, A Palestinian Female Prisoner Struggle

Natalie Shukha

By : Ali Farkhan Tsani, Senior Editor of MINA News Agency

Palestinian teenager Natalie Iyad Shukha (15 years old), middle grade 10, is being held in HaSharon prison along with 11 other Palestinian girls.

Prior to being arrested and detained, Natalie from the village of Rammun near Ramallah, was shot by the Israeli occupation army on April 28, 2016, with live bullets in her back and chest.

She was arrested along with his friend, Tasneem Halabi, near the village of Beit Ur west of Ramallah. Natalie and Tasneem are accused of trying to stab the Israeli occupation soldiers.

Tasneem celebrates her 15th birthday in HaSharon Prison.

Natalie, while in prison, wrote a letter to her parents describing the conditions of Palestinian female prisoners in Israeli prisons.

The contents of the letter imply that he is tough, even though he is still in high school, but has to be in prison. Among the contents of his letter as stated by Samidoun, a media that specifically reports on the conditions and developments of Palestinian prisoners in the occupation prisons, it is written:

“My greetings to all the generous people in my beloved village, Rammun. My greetings to the village council and everyone who supports me and my brothers and sisters in prison.

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Mom, Dad, everyone here is proud of the parents who raised the Palestinian women warriors. Hold your head high with honor.

Mom, Dad, I live in the same room with six other girls. We are twelve flowers, prisoners who are little girls. We lived together through the bad times and the good.

May Allah reunite us, reunite, soon. O Allah, give us freedom now!

They will not be able to imprison the scent of flowers in prison!”

Protests Abroad

Several months in the occupied prison, protests demanding the release of Natalie and the women in prison never subsided.

That time on January 10, 2017 protesters in New York City took to the streets to free Palestinian child prisoners, report of The Prisoners Diaries.

Demonstrators gather in New York City outside Best Buy in Union Square to protest the freedom of Palestinian child prisoner Natalie Shukha and all Palestinian prisoners.

The protest was also organized to highlight the growing international campaign to boycott HP product brands that take advantage of the occupation of Palestine and the imprisonment of prisoners.

The Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network Samidoun gathered in winter, carrying signs highlighting the case of 15-year-old Natalie Shukha.

Free But Sad

After a series of trials, an Israeli court sentenced Natalie Shukha to 18 months in prison, until the sentence was appealed, six months reduced, and she was finally released on April 8, 2017.

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She spent about a year in an Israeli prison, after coming out he still has pain in his hand from the injury.

To Al-Araby Al-Jadeed she told how she remembered the data for the first two months in his detention, she still did not understand why she was imprisoned. Moreover, the prison forbade the visit of her parents and family on the pretext of security.

She also said the occupying army deliberately delayed his first aid when she was shot, and left him covered in blood. She had fainted at that time.

“I was treated badly by the warden and nurse,” she recounted.

Once she was happy because there would be a visit from his family. However, when her family arrived at one of the occupation military checkpoints, it turned out that they were not allowed to cross into the prison, despite having a visitor’s permit.

On another occasion, her younger brother Abdel Aziz had also attended, but was pulled back on the pretext that she was banned by security forces.

Natalie only tried to meet her on a few occasions while in the hospital, and she stole a few minutes to greet her family at court sessions.

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Ruqayya Karaja Shukha, Natalie’s mother, said, “Natalie is the eldest among her brothers and sisters, but her thinking is beyond her years in prison”.

Natalie lives in prison, and spends most of her time reading and studying, her mother says.

She conveyed her son’s message that prison was not for children her age. Many female prisoners are serving sentences longer than their age.

The time for the freedom pick-up arrived, precisely on April 9, 2017. Natalie’s family and residents from her village were waiting for her at the Jabara military checkpoint near the town of Tulkarim in the northern West Bank.

When she met her family and the villagers, Natalie cried because of her joy and compassion.

“I felt like I was living in a dream, then I ran to them to hug them, and then I cried. There’s nothing like freedom. I am happy, but at the same time sad because many of his friends are still in the occupation prisons,” she told the media who interviewed him.

Natalie, who was shot by the occupying army before being detained, is one of more than 300 children, including 13 minors, being held in Israeli prisons. According to 2016 data (AT/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)