Israel Hands Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar Two-year Prison Term for PFLP Membership

Jack Khoury
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Khalida Jarrar in the military court in Ofer Prison, in 2015.
Khalida Jarrar in the military court in Ofer Prison, in 2015.Credit: Alex Levac
Jack Khoury

Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian lawmaker, was sentenced on Monday by an Israeli military court to two years in prison. Known for her fiery speeches against Israel, Jarrar has been held in administrative detention by Israel since October 2019.

In a plea deal, Jarrar was charged with holding a position in an illegal organization; she is a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel considers a terror group.

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Because she was arrested nearly two years ago, Jarrar will only serve seven months. The court also ordered her to pay a 4,000 shekel (about $1,200) fine.

She was arrested in connection to the investigation into the West Bank murder of 17-year-old Israeli Rena Shnerb in August 2019, along with others affiliated with the PFLP.

Addameer, a legal aid organization for Palestinian prisoners, said the verdict “proves that Israel works against political opposition to the occupation, and uses its military court system to force its policy of domination and harm to the Palestinian people.” 

In December 2015, Jarrar was sentenced to 15 months in prison  after being convicted of incitement and membership of the PFLP, and was released in June 2016.

She was then rearrested the next summer; Israeli security forces said she had increased her activity in the organization since her release from jail. She was released again in February 2019, after 20 months in administrative detention.

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.

As a political activisit, Jarrar had focused on prisoners' rights, social legislation and improvement in the status of women. She was first elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006 on a list headed by Ahmad Sa'adat, secretary-general of the PFLP.

Sa'adat was accused by Israel of organizing the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, and later apprehended by Israeli forces and sentenced to 30 years in prison. 

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