Malak al Khatib ~ the birth of an Icon from the womb of Israeli injustice.

Malak Khateeb malak parents Malak’s drawings © Reham Alhelsi, 2015

Malak al Khateeb is an icon to all those who fight for the freedom of Palestine and the release of Palestinian children unlawfully detained, beaten and abused in Israeli jails deprived of their Human rights, deprived of their childhood by a brutal occupying regime who fabricates the threat of a slim petite 14 year old girl  to a mature, heavily armed Israeli military.

Malak al Khateeb went to school with one thought in her head, the exams she had to take that day.  The exam became perhaps the greatest test of her life when the IOF arrested her for alleged stone throwing and carrying a knife with which she was going to attack this “moral” army!  The absurdity of these claims is countered by the severity of the nightmare that Malak was then subjected to.  A 14 year old child, taken from her home, her parents, her siblings, stripped of her school clothes to reduce public sympathy with her plight as a schoolgirl.  Malak was then brought into court, shuffling with the restriction of her feet and hands being cuffed as if she were a hardened criminal not a shivering teenage girl.  Her sentence was equally outrageous and an obscene travesty of justice but representative of what we have come to expect from this oppressive, colonialist regime intent on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by any means at their disposal.
What has made Malak an icon for Palestinians and the world is her dignity, grace and fortitude under conditions that would reduce most teenagers to a quivering wreck.  Her ability to reassure her mother of her being taken care of by the “girls”, the other Palestinian female detainees.  Her heartbreaking bravery in confronting the inner sanctum of evil and injustice that pervades Palestine at the hands of its occupiers.
As Malak’s 50 year old mother, Khawla,  said in court,  “In court, I cried with my daughter who is separated from me by a few meters, we could not touch her or talk to her, I wished I could embrace her, even for a minute, to make her feel warm.”
We have all cried with Malak and we all walked with her when she was finally released on bail, last Friday the 13th February.  She faces an uncertain future, one that will certainly bear the psychological scars of her ordeal, but she will never face it alone..her own courage has ensured that she has an army of followers who will walk alongside her and help to carry the burdens of injustice that have been forced upon her simply because she is Palestinian living in a land that is hers by birth but given to her tormentors by an International community who now turns a blind eye to their creation’s diabolical punitive actions against an entire generation of Palestinian children.  
 
I leave you with these thoughts: “According to 2014 statistics, Israeli occupation forces kidnapped on average 197 Palestinian children monthly. In the past four years, around 37,000 Palestinian children were detained. They are treated as adults, and charged by military courts based on testimonies of Israeli occupation soldiers or the confessions of the children themselves taken under pressure. These children are psychologically and physically assaulted during interrogation and detention. It is time the peoples of the world fulfil their moral obligations and pressure their governments to hold the Zionist entity accountable for its war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the kidnapping, physical abuse and detention of Palestinian children.”

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