The following statement by Samer Issawi was posted on his Facebook page by his lawyer Fawwaz Shloudy. It was translated from Arabic to English by Shahd Abusalama.
“Regarding the Israeli Occupation offer to deport me to Gaza, I affirm that Gaza is undeniable part of my homeland and its people are my people. However, I will visit Gaza whenever I want or I feel like it as it is within my homeland Palestine which I have the right to wander whenever I like from the very north to the very south. I strongly refuse to be deported to Gaza as this practice will just bring back bitter flashbacks from the expulsion process which our Palestinian people were subjected to during 1948 and 1967.
We are fighting for the sake of freedom of our land and return of our refugees in Palestine and exile, not to add more deportees to them. This systematic practice which Israel aims to empty Palestine from Palestinians through and bring strangers in their place is but a crime. Therefore, I refuse being deported and I will only agree to be released to Jerusalem as I know that the Israeli Occupation is aiming to empty Jerusalem of its people and turn Arabs to become a minority group of its population. The issue of deportation is no longer a personal decision. It is rather a national principle. If every detainee agrees to be deported outside Jerusalem under pressure, Jerusalem will eventually be emptied of its people.
I would prefer to die on my hospital bed to being deported from Jerusalem. Jerusalem is my soul and my life. If I was uprooted from there, my soul would be uprooted from my body. My life is meaningless away from Jerusalem. No land on earth will be able to embrace me other than Jerusalem. Therefore, my return will be only to Jerusalem but nowhere else. I advise all Palestinians to embrace their land and their villages and never succumb to the Israeli Occupation’s wishes. I don’t see this issue as a personal cause that is related to Samer Issawi. It is a national issue, a conviction and a principle that every Palestinian who loves his homeland’s sacred soil should hold. Finally, I reaffirm for the thousands time that I continue my hunger strike until either freedom and return to Jerusalem or martyrdom!”
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(Mail / 18.03.2013)