Story From the Prison

A first time emotional reunion between a father and his son in an Israeli prison following an 18-year separation.

 

 

Hussam Khader, who was born on Dec. 8th 1961 in the Palestinian village Kofr Romman, graduated from the Najah University in Nablus in Business Management and Political Sciences. Before the 1st Intifada he was already arrested 23 times by the Israeli  occupation forces, detained for 1 ˝ years, as well as placed under house arrest for one year.  

At the beginning of the 1st Intifada, he became one of the founders of several of the youth organisations (including in Balata Refugee Camp, of which he is a resident) that were to play a crucial part in the popular uprising. At that was also involved in the Student Council of Najah University. On Jan. 13th 1988 he became the first Intifada activist to be deported from Palestine. After being wounded in a demonstration he was brought to South Lebanon by the Israeli occupation forces.              

After being exiled Mr Khader started playing an ever more important role in politics. He represented the PLO on many occasions and as an ambassador of the Intifada came to meet several Presidents and speak in front of the Parliaments of many countries. He finally even became a member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

After being allowed to return to Palestine on April 5th 1994 after the Oslo Agreement, Mr Khader confounded the Supreme Council for Coordination of Fateh Activities together with Faisal al-Hussein and Marwan Barghouthi. The father of three children became chairman in the Ministry of Youth and Sport and held several speeches before the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Elections.

A refugee himself, Mr. Khader is an outspoken advocate for refugee rights and founder of the Association for the Defence of the Rights of Palestinian Refugees, which insists on the right of return for Palestinian refugees to be included in any peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians.  In 1996 he was elected into the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC, the Palestinian Parliament), as a representative of the Nablus district. He is a member of the Human Rights-, the Political-, and the Monitoring Boards of Parliament.                                             

He has long been known as a fierce defender of the separation of powers, the basic rights concerning freedom of speech and freedom of press, the struggle against corruption in the Palestinian Authority and the strengthening of NGOs and other civilian institutions. In so doing, Mr Khader established a reputation for challenging president Yassir Arafat for not being actively engaged in putting an end to corruption that, among other things, has hindered Palestinians’ efforts to establish accountable and democratic institutions in the Palestinian territories.

Mr Khader has always maintained a strong connection with the masses, and continued his struggle against Israel’s brutal occupation, penetration and intervention in peoples daily life that, to say the least, continues to hinder the achievement of Palestinians’ ultimate national goals of establishing an independent state located alongside the state of Israel.

He has expressed that Palestinians in general need to pursue more peaceful methods when dealing with each other and must never resort to the use of violence or take the law into their own hands when dealing with corrupt leaders and/or confronting alleged collaborators. Mr Khader believes that the Palestinians’ ability to confront Sharon’s policies and Israel’s occupation in general can only be maintained through unity, accountability and transparency and he wants to see the relationship between the Palestinian people and their leadership redefined.

His arrest on March 17th 2003 aroused protests from around the world, including from several members of other Parliaments.                    

Now More than Ever: End Israel's occupation and PA's corruption for a change ... No victory without Unity, Transparency and Accountability ... Real peace, so that Our Children Can Live Better  ...

The following are some of the views often expressed by Hussam Khader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and head of the Committee for the Defense of the Palestinian Refugees. He has recently been arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli forces.

 

‘There is no life without dignity, freedom and without our state’

Hussam Khader, interviewed in Jerusalem Post Internet edition, 2 March 2002

 

''I went to the Knesset, and they introduced me as a man of peace … I went to Neve Shalom and preached coexistence. I went to Cairo and preached normalization. But now I am just another number in the Israelis' computer. There is nothing in my file that says, 'He was a peace partner.' Now I am another Palestinian face into which the soldiers can shine their flashlights.''

Hussam Khader interviewed in the New York Times Magazine, 3 February 2002

 

"I can tell you that we have succeeded in convincing much of the world that the right of return is at the heart of the Palestinian issue and that without granting the refugees that right there can be no enduring peace in the region … We can't allow ethnic cleansing to triumph. We will assert this position day and night. We will not allow ourselves to rest because the right of return is a matter of life or death for the refugees and the Palestinian national cause as a whole. The refugees' cause is the Palestinian cause."

Hussam Khader, Chair of Committee for the Defence of Palestinian Refugees Rights, an alliance of groups representing tens of thousands of refugees in the West Bank,  interviewed by Al-Ahram Weekly On-line, 25 - 31 January 200, Issue No.518

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2001/518/re2.htm


 

Mr. Khader warned about the devastating consequences of Israel’s policies of siege and collective punishment on the fate and the future of the Palestinian people. He has always maintained a strong connection with the masses, and continued his struggle against Israel’s brutal occupation, penetration and intervention in Palestinian daily life that, to say the least, continues to hinder the achievement of Palestinians’ ultimate national goals of establishing an independent Palestinian state located alongside the state of Israel. Over much of the past decade, while challenging Israel’s propaganda campaign and its brutal policies centered towards the Palestinians, Khaddar was also engaged himself, along with other honest Palestinian leaders, in confronting the rising phenomenon of corruption, misuse of authority and outright betrayal of the Palestinians’ rights, as often revealed in the practices and performances of certain senior leaders who were affiliated with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). In response to such disturbing developments, he, along with others like him, began questioning the priorities of the PNA and its leadership. In so doing, Hussam established a reputation for challenging president Yassir Arafat for not being actively engaged in putting an end to Palestinians’ corruption that, among other things, has hindered Palestinians’ efforts to establish accountable and democratic institutions in the Palestinian territories. At the same time, Hussam continued calling upon Palestinians to struggle in order to force Israel into recognizing Palestinians’ fundamental national rights, which include independent statehood, sovereignty in Arab East Jerusalem and securing refugees’ right for return in accordance with a number of UNSC Resolutions, notably UN Resolution 191.

 

Khader has called upon Arafat numerous times to carry out his duties as a representative leader by launching a real Intifada that would put an end to Palestinian corruption, along with continuing the struggle against Israel’s policies, and thus, bring a true and real end to the despair and hopelessness that continues to confront Palestinians in the territories, as well as the Diaspora. On one occasion, Khader boldly demanded from Arafat to look deeper into the problem of corruption that surrounds senior leaders affiliated with the PA.

 

While doing so, Khader has expressed that Palestinians in general need to pursue more peaceful methods when dealing with each other and never resort to the use of violence or taking the law into their own hands when dealing with corrupt leaders and/or confronting alleged collaborators. Khader believes that Palestinians’ ability to confront Sharon’s policies and Israel’s occupation in general can only be maintained through unity, accountability and transparency that must be established and thus, redefine the relationship between the Palestinian people and their leadership.

 


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