Thursday, September 24, 2020

Israel arrests prominent Palestinian lawmaker for the third time

By Yehudit Tzfat - November 10, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Human rights]

Israeli forces arrested Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar for the third time last week. On Sunday, an Israeli military court ordered to keep Jarrar in prison. 

Jarrar, who is a senior leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was arrested on 31 October under suspicion of “involvement in terror activity”, according to an Israeli security official. Yet her husband, Ghassan Jarrar, told the Times of Israel that Israel had no grounds to arrest his wife and that she has not been involved in political activism recently. 

“This is an arbitrary and unjustified measure,” Ghassan Jarrar said. “Khalida was preparing to teach a course at Birzeit University next year on democracy and human rights. She has not recently been active in political work.”

On Sunday, Ghassan Jarrar received a phone call from his wife’s lawyer saying the Israeli court decided to extend her detention for eight days. A spokesperson from Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, confirmed the court’s decision. 

Jarrar was held under administrative detention from July 2017 to February 2019. Administrative detention is an Israeli policy allowing the state to detain individuals without charges or trial. The feminist lawmaker also spent time in prison in 2015 and 2016 for incitement of violence and “promoting terror activities”, charges she denies. Currently, Jarrar is being investigated inside Israeli jails but no information has been released about why she was re-arrested. 

The 56-year-old activist is a former PFLP member in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the Palestinian Authority parliament. She has advocated for women’s rights in prison and has documented human rights violations against children and injured prisoners for the PLC’s prisoners committee and Palestinian prisoners’ rights organisation, Addameer. However, her association with the PFLP — one of several political parties part of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) — overshadows her human rights work. Israel, the United States and the European Union consider the PFLP to be a terrorist organisation. 

The PFLP denounced Jarrar’s arrest and arrests of other members of the group. Hamas also condemned the arrest. 

“Detention of the MP Khalida Jarrar one of the Israeli actions that expose Israel’s ugly face in relation to human rights and disrespect of the international law,” Hamas said in a statement. 

Dr Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, also released a statement condemning Jarrar’s arrest. 

“These overnight raids are meant to terrorise and intimidate the entire Palestinian people while the abduction of activists, writers, and representatives is nothing short of illegal abductions,” Ashrawi said. She also urged the international community to uphold their responsibility and hold Israel accountable. 

“We call on the international community to assume its responsibilities and put an end to Israel’s illegal policy of mass arbitrary detention of Palestinian citizens,” Ashrawi said. “Equally, we call for unequivocal international condemnation of Israel’s illegal use of administrative detention, which has allowed the occupation authorities to detain at least fifty-four thousand Palestinian men, women, and children since the beginning of the 1967 occupation.”


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