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Nadia and Ghita Bradley : Two Moroccan sisters engaged in the struggle of the Palestinian people

In the early 1970s, the Bradley sisters left Morocco to carry out attacks in Israel on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Nadia and Ghita Bradley were arrested by Israeli authorities as soon as they arrived in Tel Aviv and were sentenced to prison. History.

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Nadia and Ghita Bradley : the story of two Moroccan sisters engaged in the struggle for the Palestinian people./Ph. DR

Morocco was engaged in the struggle of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupier throughout years. This is confirmed through the breathtaking story of two Moroccan sisters. Nadia and Ghita Bradley indeed left their marks in the history that the two nations, Morocco and Palestine share.  

In 1971, the international public opinion woke up to a shocking announcement made by the Israeli authorities. They had just arrested a commando that targeted several sites in Israel on behalf of the Palestinian resistance. What was really unusual about this announcement is that two Moroccan women were part of the armed group. The two sisters wanted to carry out an attack against the Zionist entity.

The Paris incident in 1970

The story of the two sisters’ interest in the Palestinian cause had gotten considerably more coverage since September 1970 when the Jordanian army attacked Palestinian armed factions in several Jordanian cities. Thousands were killed and others were wounded from both camps. The incident generated sympathy, particularly in the Arab World, and put the Palestinian people, forced into exile, under the spotlight.

The following year, Nadia Bradley, who was studying Philosophy and literature at the Sorbonne University back then, was the victim of a serious accident in Paris. She was saved by her neighbor, who was the head of the European Office of the «Democratic Front for the liberation of Palestine» in Paris.

After the incident, Nadia and the Palestinian national became friends. He told her about the Palestinian cause, the Zionist practices and the struggle of his people. All of that made Nadia think seriously of the Palestinian struggle and consider supporting the liberation of the land. As a result, the young woman started planning for the attack she wanted to carry out in order to support the Palestinian revolution.

Thus, Nadia (25) and Ghita (19), her younger sister, started getting committed to the idea of targeting facilities in Tel Aviv.

The trip from Paris to Tel Aviv

Once their decision was made, the two sisters residing in Paris started training with the help and assistance of Palestinian militants. They learned how to prepare explosives and after a few weeks, they were ready to join the «Easter Commando», a group of three French and two Moroccan women.

On the 11th of April 1971, they arrived at Lod International Airport (now known as the David-Ben-Gurion international airport), near Tel Aviv. The Israeli authorities then discovered explosive materials in their luggage. The sisters had carefully hidden them inside their shoes, makeup and clothes.

They were arrested, beaten and tortured by the Israelis, according to the account of Ghita, the youngest Bradley sister who spoke to Al Jazeera TV channel. «The fact that we were injected twice with chemicals affected our health. On top of that, they were depriving us of food and sleep and we had to sit on chairs, blindfolded. They also made us drink something that made us sick», says Ghita Bradley. She also reported that each of them had lost between 10 and 15 kilos during that period.

«But we were determined. By the way, we were inspired by the screams of the Palestinian detainees around us. It filled us with strength. The Israeli authorities had also separated us from each other. My sister had been put naked in an isolated cell for two or three months in addition to the tiresome investigations. Afterwards, the Israelis proceeded for the first time to using what they call the truth serum».

Detained in Tel Aviv

After the investigations were concluded, the trial hearings began at the military court. They were considered as «terrorists». At that moment, Ghita Bradley reports that they had gone through all «the stages». «We were first sentenced to death then to life imprisonment before they told us that it was between ten and twelve years», she told Al Jazeera.

Eventually a final verdict was pronounced by the court. Ghita was sentenced to ten years in prison while her sister Nadia had to serve twelve years.

«I spent 5 years in prison and Nadia spent 4 years and three months», said Ghita as quoted by L’Economiste on July the 6th2001. Their mother, Irene Pellicer, has managed to save her daughters. «When I saw that my daughters were at their weakest, I threatened to expose everything. I told them that my daughters were political prisoners and that they had to be treated as such’ the mother recalled.

Her youngest daughter affirms that her mother «went to meet Francois Mitterrand, party leader at that time». «I don’t know what he did. Perhaps he gave his instructions so that the Moroccan women are liberated along with the French ones», said Irene Pellicer Bradley.

After nearly four years of detention, Nadia was seriously ill. It is at this moment that the French consul in Israel decided to interfere. «He was efficient and determined. When the Israelis announced that they would amputate my sister’s fingers, he intervened to say that this is unacceptable and intolerable and could trigger a diplomatic crisis», Ghita told Al Jazeera.

Nadia was later released due to external pressure. She then left prison after four years and a few months spent in prison. Her little sister was released almost eight months later.

Supporting Palestinians

After embracing freedom, everyone thought that the two sisters would go back to Morocco or France and live peacefully. Everyone thought that the Bradley sisters would forget the past. But Nadia and Ghita left prison only to get more attached to the Palestinian cause. As soon as they arrived in Paris, they started thinking about moving to Lebanon, the cradle of the Palestinian factions at the time.

Following their arrival to Lebanon, the Moroccan nationals were welcomed as heroes, according to Ghita’s account. Yasser Arafat, then head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, entrusted them with a completely different mission, although they had been trained to use weapons. He asked them to present a show on the Radio Sawt Palestine (voice of Palestine) in Hebrew. «We were talking with Israelis. Nadia was involved in ideological politics and education as I dealt with security issues», said Ghita.

In 1982, the two sisters decided to return to Morocco. Nadia started working for a media platform before founding the French-language newspaper «Le Liberal». Her sister chose to return to her normal life after spending years and years completely committed to the Palestinian cause.

In 1995, Nadia died of an illness dating back to her detention in Israel. At the age of 50, on August the 10th 1995, Nadia Bradley passed away. «She died of septicemia, a general infection that she suffered from. A small microbe turned into septicemia and it killed her in 15 days», said the younger sister.

Regarding Nadia, Abdelnasser Ferwana, head of the studies and documentation for the Palestinian National Authority, said she was a woman who had not received the attention she deserved. «The Arab media have failed to give her the attention she owed. Many Palestinians and Moroccans are unaware of her story and do not know that Moroccan nationals have backed the Palestinian struggle», he said.

Abdelnasser Ferwana also stressed that the two women deserve the title of «Martyrdom». 

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