Israel Bars Jailed Palestinian Former Lawmaker From Attending Daughter's Funeral

Jack Khoury
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Khalida Jarrar in a military prison, in 2015.
Khalida Jarrar in a military prison, in 2015.Credit: Alex Levac
Jack Khoury

Israel barred Monday imprisoned Palestinian former lawmaker Khalida Jarrar from attending the funeral of her daughter, who died the previous day from a cardiac arrest.

Jarrar is serving a two-year sentence for being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and is due to be released in four months.

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Many in the Palestinian public have called on Israel to temporarily release Jarrar and allow her to attend her daughter Suha's funeral, who died at the age of 30. 

Joint List lawmakers Aida Touma-Sliman and Osama Saadi turned to Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev for help, but to no avail.

“The prisoner is classified as a security prisoner … as such, her request doesn’t meet the prerequisites for consideration," wrote Rafael Gana, the assistant to the prison service commissioner, in a letter to Bar-Lev.

Jarrar with Ayman Odeh after her release in 2016Credit: Mohammed Majdi/AP

"As a result, no one in the prison service, including the commissioner, has the authority to approve this request,” she added. The prison service allowed Jarrar to make a phone call instead.

"When you are a Palestinian political prisoner, the ‘enlightened’ occupation prohibits the basic right to mourn and accompany your daughter on her final journey,” lawmaker Saadi said.

“As an ‘exceptional humanitarian move’ [she will be] allowed one phone call. This is shameful and disgraceful," he added.

After learning of Israel's decision, Jarrar’s family members decided to hold the funeral without her on Tuesday. While the Palestinian police are still examining the circumstances of Suha's death, a preliminary investigation does not indicate any criminal wrongdoing.

Family sources told Haaretz that the body will undergo an autopsy.

Jarrar was arrested in October 2019 along with about 50 other PFLP members after a terrorist attack in which 17-year-old Rina Shnerb was murdered near the West Bank settlement of Dolev.

Her indictment and sentencing did not link her in any way to the attack. Jarrar was convicted for membership in an illegal group under a plea bargain and was sentenced to 20 months in prison with a four-month suspended sentence.

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