Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought

Aisha Odeh

Born in Deir Jerir near Ramallah/Al-Bireh in 1944.
Primary school Deir Jerir, middle and secondary school in Ramallah.
Diploma in Education at the Teacher’s Collge in Ramallah in 1966
Work experience

  • Aisha Odeh worked as school teacher for mathematics and science at Ein Yabrud Middle School for Girls from September 1966 to the day of her arrest on the first of March 1969. During this period she was also engaged in educational programs for illiterate women in town.
  • From 1979 until 1982 she worked as aschool teacher for science at Zubaydiyya Middle School in Amman/Jordan.
  • From 1982 to 1994 Odeh was engaged in an Organization that takes care of the families of wounded, imprisoned or deceased Palestinians in Amman/Jordan, run by the PLO.
  • She was Women’s Representative in the Ministry of Social Affairs/Palestinian Authority from 1994 to 1998 and  Director of the Gender Unit in the Ministry of Labour from 1998 until her retirement in March 2005.

Political activity and the life of resistance

  • Odeh began to be politically active in secondary school and joined the Arab Nationalist Movement. After 1967  she contributed to youth and social activities, and to the literacy programs of Society of Inash Al Usra.
  • As result of the war, political activity turned into resistance activity in the ranks of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
  • Aisha Odeh was arrested by the Israeli forces on the first of March 1969 and sentenced by an Israeli military court in Lod to two life sentences plus ten years on 21 December 1970.
  • She was banned to Jordan after she regained freedom as part of a prisoners exchange agreement (Seagull) in March 14, 1979. She stayed in Jordan until her return to Ramallah on 24th November 1994.
  • During the period of her stay in Jordan she was active in the Women's Union in Jordan from 1982 until 1994. She was also a member of the the Jordanian Committee in Support of the Intifada (1987- 1992) in addition to the her work for the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine / Committee of the Occupied Territories.

Political positions and responsibilities

  • Member of the Palestinian National Council since 1981.
  • Member of the Administrative Council of the General Union of Palestinian Women 1985 - 2007.
  • Member of the Committee for Pursuing the Developments in the occupied territories/Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)/Amman during the period of her stay in Amman.
  • Member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) from 1989-1991.
  • Retirement from party work in 1997.

Cultural and social activities

  • Member of the Palestinian Writers' Union since 2005.
  • Founder and president of Deir Jarir Women Society 2002.
  • Founder and President of the Association of Women Who Where Imprisoned for Freedom in 2010.
  • Founding and active member of Ashkelon Cultural Forum, founded 2011.
  • Vice President of the Young Artists Forum from 2006 to 2010.
  • Associate member of the Literary Forum al-Muntada al-adabi in 2012.
  • Participation in lectures and cultural activities in secondary schools, universities and youth centres.
  • Active participation in the movement of solidarity with the prisoners.

Creative productions
Until March 2015 Odeh published three books and a number of articles that were mostly in local newspapers and some are on different sites. In addition, she had an art exhibition in 2001, showing her personal experience in form of art and participated in collective art exhibitions with other artists in Ramallah.

Books

  • Aham bi-l-hurriyya (Dreams of Freedom), 2004, an autobiographical book covering the Israeli interrogation immediately after her arrest. The first and second edition was issued by Mu’assasat Muwatin/Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy in Ramallah. Another edition was issued by the Arab Institute for Research and Publishing/Beirut.
  • Thamanan li-l-shams (The Price of the Sun). In 2012, the second part of the autobiography, supplementing “Dreams of Freedom”, covering ten years of captivity (1969-1979), published also by Mu’assasat Muwatin.
  • Yawmun mukhtalif (A Different Day), 2007, a collection of short stories and texts, issued by Al Shorouq Publishing/Amman, Jordan.