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Member of Legislative Council Muna Mansour

Member of Legislative Council Muna Mansour

My husband joked, “What would you do if I were killed?” I said, “I would cry.” He said, “It is okay to cry.” I said, “The house is too small to accommodate mourners.” Mourners arrived in busloads. The march on the day of his death was the largest ever in Palestine. People from surrounding towns and villages joined the funeral even though the Israeli occupation placed roadblocks.

How was your husband killed?

It was July 31, 2001. Jamal left home at 11 o’clock to go to the office. Israeli Apaches fired missiles at his office around 1:30. The missiles hit him in the head. He was the main target. He was killed with Jamal Saleem, a political leader, and two reporters, his office manager, a cousin, and two children who were passing by.

He was a good man. Jamal Mansour used to solve Fatah-Hamas problems quickly. His ideology was reconciliatory and unitary. If he were with us now, he would solve problems, may God be praised. Losing him almost killed me. He was everything in my life. We were friends as well as husband and wife. If I had not been a strong believer—thank God—I would have lost my mind.

My little son Badir plants sadness in me. He weeps and does not want to believe his daddy will never come back. When we go to the cemetery, he says, “Let him out of his grave.”

How did you become a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council?

The idea of being a PLC member had never crossed my mind. I used to be an excellent physics teacher. However, I thought this would be an opportunity to make the world hear the voice of the Muslim Palestinian woman. I wanted the world to know the Palestinian woman: what she thinks about, what her aspirations are.

And Islam encourages women to be in politics. I had met many people through my husband from all the towns and villages. I have a network of relationships. The Islamic movement asked me to join their list, and I agreed.

The death of my husband was not the end; a woman can go on even if she loses a dear one. She can continue to give, to progress. Her life should not stop when she loses the dear one.

What were the difficulties after winning?

We expected Hamas to win; people trust Hamas. It provides humanitarian support. Hamas is a social and institutional movement that penetrates deep into the society. It is a grassroots organization, not an underground movement. A little money in Hamas’ hands would do miracles, whereas millions in the hands of non-Hamas would do little to change the situation on the ground. The leaders live with the people, not in ivory towers. Therefore, Hamas earns the respect and has impact among the people.

The problem was the elections did not meet the world’s desires, especially Israel, America, some Arab countries, and some organizations in Palestine. They admitted the elections were clean, democratic, and historic, but Hamas was met from day one with restrictions, embargo, starving, and attempts to overthrow the results.

I ask the Palestinian people, especially the Palestinian Authority, in the name of God, to remember we live under occupation. The occupation does not distinguish between Fatah and Hamas when it fires missiles. The Israeli occupation wants to tear us apart and annihilate our unity. Let us unite despite our wounds and achieve the Palestinian dream. Palestine needs us as one, not divided.

Peace is possible. Peace is one of God’s names, may God be praised.

Even when your husband was alive, life was difficult.

Our life was hard because the Israeli occupation detained him 14 times. These years taught me to be the father and the mother at the same time. I was both the homemaker and the breadwinner.

When he was killed, it was the most horrific thing imaginable but I had to keep on going. I go to bed with tears in my eyes but in the morning, I have to live my daily life. People cannot imagine the sadness and responsibility I carry. The daily psychological pressure only adds insult to injury.

For me, running for the elections meant aspiring for the joy of serving the people and the country. However, I am under a lot of pressure from the meddling with election results and our treatment as representatives of the Palestinian people. My office is shot at sometimes.

The infighting in Gaza Strip, which Gaza Strip is paying the price of by the siege and people’s starving, may have increased the tragedy of the Palestinian people.

What happened in Gaza was not part of Hamas’ policy, approach, or strategy. Hamas’ previous and current policy is the same; it will not fire at Palestinians.

If you look at what was damaged in the fighting, you will be able to see who is responsible. All Hamas institutions in the West Bank have been shut down or burnt down, including women’s organizations. Tires were put inside the institutions and torched. Institutions serving detainees were closed down. Reform and advocacy organizations in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Salfit, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Hebron were all burnt down. Despite all this Hamas did not fire a single shot, burn a house, or attack a car belonging to a Fatah member.

Those who study Hamas’ strategy and follow up on its behaviors during the past know that this is not Hamas’ policy. Hamas has always considered Palestinian blood sacred. The people that instigated the fighting in Gaza were undisciplined Fatah members.

What do you feel about international resolutions on the Israeli Palestinian conflict?

What is the Roadmap? The Roadmap means annihilating resistance. This is the first point in the Roadmap. They left the issue of the settlements. Bush talked about removing settlers’ enclaves but what about large settlements? Will they stay around us so that they could bomb us whenever they like?

Many other Palestinian factions said “no” to Annapolis agreement because the state they talk about is mysterious. What are the borders of this state? Is it a sovereign state? Mahmoud Abbas did not say in his speech that it was a sovereign state. The dream of a state bombed by warplanes, whenever such warplanes feel like bombing Palestinian people, is not a sovereign state.

Mansour is the widow of Jamal Mansour, a political leader of the Hamas party killed by a missile from an Israeli Apache helicopter mid-2001 in his office in Nablus. A former physics teacher, she ran for office to continue her husband’s policy of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. She says her husband, viewed as a hero and martyr, was in Israeli prisons 14 times and held by the Palestinian Authority for three years.


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