Israel arrests Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, just months after her release

Jarrar, a prominent lawmaker from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was last arrested in July 2017, and held in administrative detention without charge or trial, before being released this February

October 31, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Khalida Jarrar
Khalida Jarrar at home in Ramallah after serving 20 months in an Israeli prison, where she had been held without charge or trial. (Photo: Jaclynn Ashly)

Israeli security forces arrested Palestinian parliamentarian, human rights and women’s rights activist, Khalida Jarrar, on October 31, Thursday. Her daughter Yafa Jarrar posted on Facebook that Khalida Jarrar will soon be transferred to the Hasharon detention center where she will be under custody until Sunday. “On Sunday, an Israeli military court will either extend her detention, or confirm her indefinite administrative detention, without charge or trial. Israel has not produced any reason or evidence for her arrest,” she posted. Jarrar was earlier in administrative detention for 20 months without any charges and was only released in February this year.

According to the Yafa Jarrar, Israeli forces stormed their house in the Al-Bira district on the outskirts of Ramallah. At least 70 soldiers in 12 military vehicles raided the house around 3 am on Thursday while Khalida Jarrar and her daughter Suha Ghassan were asleep.

The Hebrew division of the Israeli news organization, Haaretz, reported that a combined team of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, were responsible for the arrest.

Khalida Jarrar, 57, is a prominent member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), one of the three from her party. At the council, she heads the prisoners’ committee She is also a forceful advocate for the rights of Palestinian women and prisoners, and has served as the vice-chair and executive director of the Addameer prisoner support and human rights association.

The lawmaker is also the Palestinian representative on the Council of Europe, an international organization working towards advancing human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Jarrar has also made significant contributions in formulating Palestine’s application to the International Criminal Court (ICC). She is a member of the Palestinian commission tasked with bringing cases before the ICC regarding the past and present war crimes by the Israeli state, along with the human rights violations against Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.

She was last arrested on July 2, 2017, allegedly on account of her membership of the PFLP. Israel, the United States and the European Union consider the PFLP a terrorist organization. She was placed under administrative detention in the Damon prison without trial for six months. 

Her detention was subsequently renewed two more times, once for six months and thrice for four months, before she was finally released on February 28, 2019 after 20 months in administrative detention. The charges against her were never revealed publicly, and neither was she formally charged.

Jarrar was also arrested in April 2015, and slapped with charges such as ‘incitement and involvement in terror’, accusations she strongly denied. She was subsequently put on trial and an Israeli military tribunal found her guilty. She was then sentenced to 15 months in prison, and fined 10,000 Israeli shekels (USD 2,582). Jarrar was released in June 2016 after spending 14 months in prison. Israel has also banned her from traveling outside the occupied Palestinian territories (oPT) since 1998.

The story has been updated to reflect the latest developments in the case