Palestinian woman to marry murderer of 8 she’s never met because “I love things connected to the prisoners, and I view them as heroes”
Headline: “Waiting impatiently”
“Neither the prison nor its walls prevented Manar Khalawi, a 27-year-old from Bethlehem, from creating a life from the depth of the pain and deprivation through her determination to marry prisoner Osama Al-Ashqar (i.e., terrorist, involved in murder of 8), who was sentenced to 8 life sentences and another 50 years.
‘I do not recognize the occupation, its prisons, or its sentences,’ said Manar, who married prisoner Al-Ashqar from the village of Saida, north of Tulkarem, in a ceremony that was held by the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, the [PA] Ministry of Culture, and the [Palestinian] General Writers’ Union, in El-Bireh…
Manar’s story began in 2018, when she made contact each week through the radio programs dealing with the prisoners, and she sent messages to all the prisoners, and particularly her cousin Baha Bani Oudeh. At the time, Osama was with Baha in the same cell…
‘He told my cousin Baha that he liked me, and he announced to him that he wanted to marry me, and Baha conveyed his message to me through a relative,’ said Manar, who is completing a master’s degree in Israeli Studies at Al-Quds Open University. She added:
‘When it became known to me, I turned to the internet and searched his name. As a matter of principle I love things connected to the prisoners, and I view them as heroes. My attention was drawn by the story of this young person who was arrested in 2002 and was wanted for years, and how he succeeded in bearing his national responsibility and resisting the occupation at an early stage and at a rather young age. This was in addition to his strong insistence that the prisoners are not numbers, but rather people who have a direction in life. This was expressed by him publishing many articles, launching the book ‘Prison Has a Different Taste,’ and completing [his] bachelor’s degree studies inside the prison. He is waiting [for an answer] to a request to continue to master’s degree studies.’
Manar does not care about the prison term to which Osama was sentenced – 8 life sentences and another 50 years. She agreed to marry him even though everyone opposed this at the beginning, until last year when they announced that they were engaged. Since then, Manar is waiting impatiently for the first meeting, the first look, and the first visit.
‘I only have a few pictures of him. Often I create a picture of the two of us together using Photoshop in order to tangibly present a moment of longing, and in an attempt to fill the void and deprivation caused as a result of the distance. I hope to visit him. That has been my dream for a year. Every day I think about him and look at his pictures on the phone, without seeing him in reality. Every moment I talk about him to my family and tell them how much I hope to see him.’
Manar added: ‘I don’t know how I will feel when they let me visit him, but the moment I see him will be the most beautiful thing in my life.’ She emphasized: ‘He is my life partner, and I am prepared to sacrifice my life for his sake, for he has sacrificed his freedom for our sake, for the sake of Palestine, and for the sake of our honor. Therefore I am engaged in resistance in my personal way, through patience and waiting for redemption.’
Manar says of Osama: ‘He is an educated man. He wrote many articles for more than 20 Arab and local newspapers… Our message today is that despite the prison and the circumstances, we love each other and we will get married, we will create, we will have children, and we will make miracles happen in spite of the prison guard.’”
Osama Al-Ashqar - Palestinian terrorist and member of the Tanzim (Fatah terror faction) who sent terrorists to carry out the attack in Hermesh on Oct. 29, 2002, in which 3 Israelis were murdered, and the attack in Kibbutz Metzer on Nov. 11, 2002, in which 5 Israelis were murdered. He was also convicted of being responsible for dozens of shooting attacks in the Tulkarem area. Al-Ashqar is serving 8 life sentences and an additional 50 years.