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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.