Khalida Jarrar leads class on international law for fellow Palestinian women prisoners

Imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian, feminist and leftist leader Khalida Jarrar conducted an internal education class in international human rights and humanitarian law for her fellow female prisoners held in HaSharon prison. In a report issued by the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, it was noted that Jarrar conducted the class for 32 hours in half-hour sessions. Over 30 women prisoners, including some of the minor girls held in HaSharon, participated in the classes.

Jarrar’s class exemplifies the educational role that Palestinian prisoners have always defined for themselves inside Israeli occupation prisons, known over the years as “schools for revolution.” Palestinan prisoners regularly organize classes among themselves along with reading circles and study groups to develop their political, legal and analytical knowledge. These classes are entirely self-organized and conducted by Palestinian prisoners, without the involvement and contrary to the will of Israeli occupation jailers.

Jarrar said in the report that the course aims to analyze and describe the situation of the prisoners through the lens of international human rights and humanitarian law, especially those aspects pertaining to the rights of families and people in detention. She particularly noted the difficult and austere living conditions and poor physical and mental health situation of women prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons, as well as ongoing harassment by jailers and Israeli “criminal” prisoners.

She noted that the course was one example of ongoing work to establish a cumulative, collective educational program for women prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons.

Jarrar is held under administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial; seized on 2 July 2017, she was ordered to six months in administrative detention. Her detention was extended again for another six months on 28 December 2017. She is one of three women and over 450 total administrative detainees, among around 60 women prisoners and 6,100 total Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and based on secret evidence. Palestinians can be jailed for years at a time under administrative detention. Jarrar and her fellow administrative detainees are currently in the middle of a 48-day boycott of Israeli occupation courts, demanding an end to the policy and practice of administrative detention.

She previously was imprisoned for 15 months on charges of “incitement” for her political activity in defense of Palestinian prisoners and in advocating for Palestinian freedom. In addition to her parliamentary role, she is a well-known advocate for Palestinian prisoners and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.