Israel Arrests ex-Palestinian Lawmaker, Only Eight Months After Her Release From Prison

Khalida Jarrar was released in February after 20 months of administrative detention without trial; her attorney says she was taken to an unknown location

Khalida Jarrar after her release from prison in 2016
Majdi Mohammed / AP

The Shin Bet security service arrested former Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar early Thursday morning at her home in El Bireh, on the outskirts of Ramallah. Sahar Francis, her lawyer from the Addameer prisoners' rights group, said Jarrar was taken to an unknown location.

In February, Jarrar was released after 20 months of administrative detention without trial. The reasons for her previous arrest are still classified.

PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi condemend Jarrar's arrest in a statement, saying the Israeli forces' raids in the West Bank "are meant to terrorize and intimidate the entire Palestinian people while the abduction of activists, writers, and representatives is nothing short of illegal abductions." She called on the international community to end Israel's detention of Palestinian citizens, and for condemnation of the "illegal use of administrative detention, which has allowed the occupation authorities to detain at least 54,000 Palestinian men, women, and children since the beginning of the 1967 occupation."

Jarrar was elected in 2006 to the Palestinian Legislative Council, and was active in social issues, such as improving the status of women in society. For years, she was well-known in the Palestinian political arena for her work with human rights groups and advancement of prisoners’ rights. Since 2007, the Palestinian parliament has been inactive; Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas disbanded it at the end of 2018.

In 2015, Jarrar was arrested at her home on the charge of violating an order confining her to the Jericho area of the West Bank. A few days later, an order for administrative detention of six months was issued against her.

Following criticism of Israel over the detention without trial of a member of parliament, the administrative order was replaced by an indictment for security offenses – including membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which Israel defines as a terrorist organization, and incitement to kidnap Israeli army soldiers to use as bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

After she was convicted on these charges,Jarrar was sentenced to 15 months in prison, and was released in June 2016.

She was arrested again a year later for what was described at the time as “involvement in advancing terrorist activities within the framework of the PFLP.” At the time, the Israel Defense Forces said the arrest was unrelated to her membership in the Palestinian legislature. The IDF had previously said that they have intelligence stating that Jarrar represents a “substantive threat” to security.