Khalida Jarrar’s arrest condemned by Palestinian groups

Israeli forces rearrest Khalida Jarrar, bringing the number of Palestinian legislators in Israeli prison to 13.

Palestinian MP from Ramallah Khalida Jarrar
Jarrar was released in June last year after 14 months in an Israeli jail [Reuters]

Palestinian political leaders are outraged over Israel’s rearrest of a prominent Palestinian parliamentarian that brings the number of Palestinian politicians in Israeli detention to 13.

Khalida Jarrar, a key figure in the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a deputy at the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), was arrested on Sunday in a predawn raid on her home in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. 

The 54-year-old was released in June 2016 after serving 14 months in an Israeli jail.

She was previously charged with security-related offences connected to her membership in the PFLP – a leftist political party that Israel considers a “terrorist” group along with a majority of Palestinian political factions. 

Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, condemned Jarrar’s detention, calling it “a violation of international laws and immunity given to elected Parliament members”. 

Israeli forces have detained at least 70 Palestinian members of parliament since 2002, according to Qaraqe.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) executive committee, said in a statement that Jarrar’s “political arrest is further proof that the judicial system in Israel has no relation to justice”. 

She also condemned the detention of Khitam Saafin, the chairwoman of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee, who was arrested on the same night as Jarrar. 

“Israel must not be given a free hand to dehumanise the Palestinian people and systematically devalue their basic rights and lives,” Ashrawi wrote. 

The PFLP, in response to Jarrar’s arrest, said the detentions “only underline the futility” of the Palestinian Authority’s approach towards engaging in a hollow “peace process” and security coordination with Israel. 

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An Israeli army spokeswoman told AFP that after her release from detention last year, Jarrar “returned to the activity in the PFLP terror organisation”, calling her one of its senior leaders in the West Bank.

“She was apprehended for her involvement in the PFLP and not because of her membership in the [Palestinian parliament],” an army spokeswoman said.

Many leaders from the leftist PLO faction are in Israeli prisons and Jarrar has been jailed multiple times.

Jarrar chairs the head of the Palestinian parliament’s Prisoners’ Commission and is vice chairwoman of the board of directors of Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer.

A number of Palestinian politicians are currently detained by Israel.

The most recent Palestinian legislator to be detained by Israel was Mohammad Maher Badr, a Hamas-affiliated PLC member, on June 28. 

In a statement reported by Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency, Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies chief Riyad al-Ashqar denounced Jarrar’s detention and Israel’s targeting of Palestinian politicians. 

Nine of the 13 Palestinian politicians in Israeli detention are being held without charge under administrative detention, she said. 

“The arrest of Khalida Jarrar constitutes an attack against Palestinian political leaders and Palestinian civil society as a whole,” Addameer said in a statement. 

“It also constitutes one arrest in the context of continuous arrest campaigns against Palestinians.”

According to the group, as of May 2007, there were 6,200 Palestinians, including 56 women, in Israeli prisons. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies