Israeli court sentences Khalida Jarrar to two years in prison

An Israeli military court sentenced Palestinian politician Khalida Jarrar on Monday to two years in prison on charges of “inciting violence” and belonging to a “banned organization.”

Jarrar was arrested from her home in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on October 31, 2019, and has since been held in Israeli detention without charge or trial, under Israel’s widely condemned policy of administrative detention. 

Administrative detention allows Israeli authorities to imprison Palestinians on the grounds of “security concerns,” and often uses the tactic to imprison political activists like Jarrar who have not committed any crimes, but who Israel considers to be a “security threat”. 

Jarrar is expected to spend seven more months in prison, upon which time she will have completed her two-year sentence. She was also ordered by the court to pay a fine of 4,000 shekels, approximately $1,200. 

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A leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) party, Jarrar is a prominent political activist and advocate for women’s and prisoners rights, and has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces and has served multiple stints in Israeli prison. 

Jarrar was detained after Palestinian attackers, allegedly affiliated with the PFLP, planted a bomb that killed a 17-year-old Israeli girl as she was hiking with her family near the illegal Dolev settlement in the West Bank in 2019. 

Despite having no known role in the attack itself, Jarrar and dozens of other political leaders and activists affiliated with the PFLP were detained by Israeli forces in a mass arrest campaign following the attack. 

Israel considers the PFLP, as it does with the majority of Palestinian political parties, to be a “terrorist organization.”

During Monday’s hearing the court limited Jarrar’s indictment to her political role within the PFLP, as it had no evidence tying Jarrar to any of the organization’s military or financial activities. 

The Israeli military said in a statement that Jarrar was convicted “of the offense of holding office in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from 2016 until her arrest in 2019.”

The Times of Israel quoted an unnamed Israeli security official as acknowledging that “not enough evidence was found with regard to the nature of her activities and the kinds of reports she received.”

In response to Jarrar’s sentencing, Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer, of which Jarrar was the director from 1994 to 2006, criticized Israel for “systematically” targeting Palestinian political activists. 

“The military court’s decision is evidence of the Israeli military judicial system’s integral role in sustaining and feeding into the primary goal of establishing a comprehensive Israeli apartheid apparatus. In reality, Palestinian political leaders are routinely arrested and detained as part of an ongoing Israeli effort to suppress Palestinians’ exercise of political sovereignty and self-determination,” Addameer said. 

Jarrar, who was elected to the now-defunct Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 2006, is one of eight elected Palestinian parliamentarians who are currently being held in Israeli prisons. 

Jarrar was first arrested and imprisoned by Israel in 1989, during which time she spent a month under administrative detention. Since 2014, Jarrar has been jailed by Israel three more times, and has spent more than four of the past six years in prison. 

Much of the time that Jarrar has spent in prison has been under administrative detention, without formally being charged or convicted or any crime. In the instances where she has been convicted, it has been by an Israeli military court, which boasts a conviction rate of over 99% against Palestinians. 

According to Addameer, there are currently 4,400 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, 440 of which are under administrative detention. 


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