Israeli Army Rearrests Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, a Year After Her Release From Jail

Jarrar, who was initially incarcerated in 2015 for incitement and membership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has become even more active in the group, the army says

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Khalida Jarrar in the courtroom of the Ofer detention facility, in May.
Khalida Jarrar in the courtroom of the Ofer detention facility, in May.Credit: AP
Gili Cohen
Jack Khoury

Israeli security forces rearrested Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar on Saturday night, saying she had increased her activity in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine since her release from jail last year.

Jarrar was sentenced to 15 months in prison in December 2015 after being convicted of incitement and membership of the PFLP, which Israel regards as an illegal terrorist organization. She was released in June 2016.

“Jarrar was arrested following her involvement in promoting terrorist activity through the PFLP, and without any connection to her being a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council,” the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman’s Office said in a statement on Sunday.

In addition to the 15-month sentence, Jarrar had been sentenced to 22 months on probation and required to pay a 10,000 shekel ($2,900) fine.

The army alleges that shortly after her release from prison, Jarrar returned, “to an even greater extent,” to activities with the PFLP, directing the group’s operations and serving as a senior member of the organization in the West Bank, and in the Ramallah area in particular.

The chairwoman of the Association of Palestinian Women in the West Bank, Khatam Khatib, was also arrested, the IDF spokesman said. The army alleges that Khatib is also a senior PFLP member.

The army also arrested nine suspects in the West Bank on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity and violent disturbances of the peace directed at the Israeli security forces and civilians.

Jarrar is a well-known figure on the Palestinian political scene and was active for many years as an advocate on behalf of prisoners’ rights and with human rights organizations. Israel has barred her from leaving the West Bank since 1998.

Jarrar was first arrested at her home in El Bireh on April 2, 2015. Israeli security officials claimed at the time she was arrested for violating an order confining her to the Jericho area of the West Bank, but did not mention other offenses.

A few days later, the head of the IDF’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, approved an order placing her under six months of administrative detention (detention without trial). The move attracted worldwide attention and the prosecution then decided to charge her.

The PFLP condemned the arrests, promising that the move would not stop it from “fighting the occupation and its crimes.” In a statement released Sunday morning, the PFLP claimed the arrests demonstrate the deadlock the Palestinian Authority has reached.

The group was critical of the PA’s policy of negotiating with Israel and carrying out security coordination with it, and reiterated its policy of resistance and confrontation with the “occupation authorities.”

The PFLP said the arrests were a direct continuation of what it calls the incitement by the Israeli government against it.

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