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5 Palestinian moms in Israeli jail on Mother's Day

March 20, 2014 5:24 P.M. (Updated: March 21, 2014 6:19 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- As Palestinians prepare to mark Mother’s Day on March 21, five Palestinian mothers will be deprived of celebrating the occasion with their sons and daughters because they are jailed by Israel.

The Palestinian prisoner's society released a statement Thursday on the occasion of Mother’s Day to express solidarity with the jailed Palestinian women.

Intisar al-Sayyad from Jerusalem, mother of two daughters and two sons, has been detained since Nov. 22, 2012. She is serving two-and-a-half years in Israel's Sharon prison.

Her husband Muhammad al-Sayyad was quoted in the statement as saying that raising children in the absence of their mother is very "difficult task."

"We feel the absence of our mother every day and not only on Mother’s Day. I have to play her role sometimes helping my brothers and sisters with their studies," says Intisar's daughter Malak, 16.

Similarly, Layla Hamarsha, 24 said that due to the absence of both parents, she has been playing the mother's role at home.

"As the eldest daughter, and since both my mother and my father have been jailed, I have been responsible for five brothers and sisters."

The youngest brother, she said, is 14 years old and needs both medical and psychological care because he suffers bone disorders.

Layla’s mother Reem Hamarsha was detained on Feb. 16 at the Allenby Bridge crossing upon her return from Jordan to the West Bank. Since then she has been jailed without trial. The husband Adnan Hamarsha was detained only one day later and he too hasn’t been tried yet.

Nawal al-Saadi, mother of five daughters and six sons, was detained on Nov. 5, 2012 and has been sentenced to 20 months and a fine of 1,000 shekels. Two of her sons were killed by Israeli forces.

Ahlam Issa from Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank was detained on Feb. 16, 2014 and since then she has been detained without trial. Her husband Saed Sawaid is serving 27-year sentence since 2003. The two left behind a 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter.

The oldest Palestinian mother in Israeli custody is Rasmiyya Balawna, 53, from Tulkarem.

She left behind three daughters and a son who served nine years in Israeli jails. He was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal, but was deported to the Gaza Strip.

There are about 20 Palestinian women in Israeli custody.
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