Activists in Brussels, Belgium organized a flashmob on Sunday, April 26, calling for freedom for imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian, feminist, leftist leader and human rights defender Khalida Jarrar. Gathering at the Plaza Communale Molenbeek, activists with Intal, the Progressive Palestinian Youth, and the Palestinian community called for freedom for Jarrar and her fellow Palestinian political prisoners. Belgian lawyer Joke Callewaert, who observed Jarrar’s military court hearing April 15, spoke to the gathering about her observations of the injustice. Photos:
The action in Belgium came as Ha’aretz, the Israeli newspaper, featured a staff editorial calling for Jarrar’s release:
Jarrar’s parliamentary activities have focused on obtaining the release of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian application to join theInternational Criminal Court in The Hague. She was charged in an Israeli military court with 12 security offenses, including membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and incitement to abduct an Israeli soldier as a bargaining chip.
Even after the filing of the charges, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Jarrar’s arrest was political in nature, meant as payback for her public activities regarding the ICC. The fact that she was charged with crimes only after the international protest reinforces this suspicion. Judging by all the evidence, including the indictment, Jarrar is not a terrorist. She is a nonviolent and determined activist who is working to liberate her people from the occupation. Israel has no right to punish her for that.
The Ha’aretz editorial followed a lengthy interview with Ghassan Jarrar, Khalida’s husband, by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, on April 24:
Ghassan Jarrar didn’t remember whether Khalida took her medications with her. When dozens of Israel Defense Forces soldiers came in the middle of the night to arrest her on April 2, and he was agitated by the thought that his wife, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, would be taken from him – he forgot to check if she had taken her medicines. Now he has been told she is receiving them at the prison.
The Jarrars have been together for 35 years, ever since they met as students at Bir Zeit University, and his love for her is evident to this day. He even named his new factory for children’s furniture after her and their two daughters: “Sky” is an acronym for Suha, Khalida and Yifaa.
The two daughters, incidentally, are currently in Ottawa, Canada, where they are pursuing their doctorates, Yifaa in law and Suha in environmental studies. They are also devoting their time to the international campaign for their mother’s release from an Israeli prison.
Also on April 24, a new site focusing specifically on the campaign to free Khalida Jarrar was launched, at http://freekhalidajarrar.org. The Samidoun site, http://samidoun.net/khalidajarrar, will also continue to be regularly updated with breaking news and updates.