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Feminist Palestinian lawmaker freed from Israeli prison after 14 months

Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar served 14 months for incitement and membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Joint List head Ayman Odeh accompanies Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar as she leaves Israeli prison after serving a 15-month sentence. (photo courtesy of the Joint List)

Joint List head Ayman Odeh accompanies Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar as she leaves Israeli prison after serving a 15-month sentence. (photo courtesy of the Joint List)

Feminist Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, who served 14 months in an Israeli prison, was released Friday morning to a crowd of chanting supporters.

Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was sentenced on December 6, 2015 at Ofer Military Prison. She is a well-known critic of the Palestinian Authority and specifically its security coordination with Israel. After eight months of imprisonment, some of which was spent in administrative detention, Jarrar signed a plea bargain, in which she admitted to charges of incitement, as well as belonging to the PFLP — a party she represents in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) — which is defined by Israel as a proscribed organization.

Jarrar was accused on 12 counts, the majority of which involved her parliamentary work and activism, including participation in protests, an interview with the media, a visit to a solidarity tent for Palestinian prisoners, and giving speeches. She was accused of one count of incitement to kidnap soldiers, however the witness on this count stated that he was not sure that he heard Jarrar say anything to this effect.

Jarrar was arrested in April of this year at her home and was placed under house arrest for several months, after she refused to follow an internal expulsion order demanding she move to Jericho within 24 hours for a period of 1.5 years. Following her arrest, Jarrar was placed under administrative attention, which led to a worldwide campaign advocating for her release. She was eventually released from administrative detention and put on trial.

Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh came to greet Jarrar as she left prison, saying: “Khalida Jarrar was arrested and jailed, at first with no trial, in an attempt to silence her struggle against the occupation. But in the end, they only emboldened her power and her struggle.”

Jarrar was first elected to the PLC in January 2006, following years of political activism in support of women and prisoners. She is married, has two daughters, and is the first woman to be elected to the PLC on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Between 1993 and 2005, she headed the Palestinian NGO Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that supports Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, and remained a member of the PFLP’s managing committee even after her election.

Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar in Ofer military court, June 22, 2015. (photo: Haggai Matar)

Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar in Ofer military court, June 22, 2015. (photo: Haggai Matar)

Beyond her parliamentary work, Jarrar has been a left-wing and feminist activist for years. Over the past year she has been involved in the Palestinian Authority’s bid to the International Criminal Court over allegations of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, which many claim is the real reason for her arrest and continued detention.

There are currently six Palestinian legislator in Israeli custody: Ahmad Sa’adat, the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who is serving a 30-year sentence; Marwan Barghouti, who is serving four consecutive life sentences; Hatem Hafisha and Hassan Yousef who are being held in administrative detention, and Jerusalem resident Muhammad Mahmoud Abu Tir.

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    1. Ben

      @Kohen: The Yesha Council is a terrorist group too. Shall we arrest Dani Dayan, Naftali Bennet, Ze’ev Hever, and the regional council heads?

      Settler violence aims to dispossess, and it works
      When A saw Israeli civilians approach, he did the sensible thing and fled. This is what quiet terrorism looks like.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      @Kohen: the Yesha Council organizes and fiercely supports the most aggressive settlers, who are indeed terrorists by any objective definition. That makes Yesha a terrorist group. Why aren’t the settlers who do this is administrative detention?:

      “The second story comes from a small village near Ramallah, and it is about a woman raising five boys who makes Palestinian embroidery to support herself. She describes how a group of armed settlers lie in the wait for Palestinian vehicles traveling between villages. One cannot do anything to stop them; they are fully armed and are always shooting, simply for the sake of scaring Palestinians. Yesterday they fired at the woman’s brother-in-law who had been transporting goods, beat him, and fled. No one reports or speaks about it. The Palestinian villages live under a constant threat that a group of armed settlers will enter the village, destroy, pillage, and murder. There is no Palestinian or Israeli police presence, and the army has put most of the villages under closure. There is no redemption. She describes how her children sleep in the same room with her and are afraid of leaving the house.”

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      And Kohen, if you’re so keen on what the USA “designates,” then for decades now and across all administrations the USA has designated the occupation illegitimate and has called the settlements obstacles to peace. So how come you’re so keen on the absence of designations but not the presence of designations by the USA? Please explain your cherry picking of designations and the evident hypocrisy therein.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      Give it up, Kohen. You’re just repeating yourself. No one not brainwashed is buying it. Trying to talk to you about Yesha is like trying to talk to Tom Cruise about Scientology. A waste of time except to illustrate the strange fanaticism. And the narcissism.

      Reply to Comment