Palestinian feminist Khalida Jarrar sentenced to 2 years in prison by illegitimate Israeli military court

In the latest injustice perpetrated in the illegitimate Israeli military courts, Palestinian feminist, leftist, parliamentarian and defender of prisoners’ rights, Khalida Jarrar, was sentenced to two years in Israeli prison on Monday, 1 March 2021. This means she will be released at the end of October 2021, two years after her most recent arrest by over 70 armed Israeli occupation soldiers, who invaded her home on 31 October 2019. This comes only days after Palestinian feminist Khitam Saafin was ordered to four more months in Israeli administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces the unjust sentence imposed upon Khalida Jarrar and calls for her immediate release and that of her fellow Palestinian women behind bars.

The internationally known political leader had been charged with “holding a position in a prohibited organization,” the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, before an Israeli military court. Like all major Palestinian political parties, the leftist PFLP is labeled a “prohibited organization” by the Israeli occupation. These charges came after earlier sensationalist, anti-Palestinian media attacks on Jarrar and her comrades.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges women’s organizations, social movements and all people of conscience to highlight the struggles, experiences and resistance of Khalida Jarrar, Khitam Saafin and all Palestinian women – including those held in Israeli prisons – as part of International Working Women’s Day activities on 8 March 2021. This includes working — on International Women’s Day and beyond — to build the boycott of Israel, its academic and cultural institutions and complicit corporations like HP, Puma, Teva Pharmaceuticals and G4S.

The Israeli occupation seeks to expand and consolidate its colonization of Palestine by imprisoning Palestinian people’s leaders like Khalida Jarrar and by its attacks on organizations that defend the Palestinian prisoners and detainees.

Jarrar was arrested only eight months after her release from 20 months in Israeli administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – after her last arrest by occupation forces in 2017. During her detention from 2017 to 2019, over 275 organizations signed onto an international call for her release. The 2019 attack by Israeli occupation forces also came as she prepared to teach at Bir Zeit University on international law and the Palestinian movement, the forced cancellation of her class accompanying the targeting of students for their own political and student activity on campus.

Jarrar is a longtime advocate for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners and has served as the former Vice-Chair and Executive Director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. She is also a member of the Palestinian committee that acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and presented evidence to the international body about ongoing Israeli crimes.

Her arrest – and a slew of Israeli media propaganda targeting her – escalated just as the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, announced that she recommended the ICC launch a formal investigation of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestine. Today, her sentence comes only weeks after the ICC affirmed its jurisdiction over occupied Palestine over the objections of the Israeli occupation and its global imperialist backers.

Since her most recent detention in 2019, Khalida Jarrar has continued to resist and to speak, breaking the isolation that the Israeli regime attempted to impose upon her. She wrote the Foreword to Ramzy Baroud’s book, “These Chains Will Be Broken,” which tells the stories of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees:

“In actuality, these are not just prison stories. For Palestinians, the prison is a microcosm of the much larger struggle of a people who refuse to be enslaved on their own land, and who are determined to regain their freedom, with the same will and vigor carried by all triumphant, once-colonized nation.”

Jarrar’s daughters, Suha and Yafa, delivered a special message from Jarrar to the Palestine Writes Literature Festival, held in December 2020. Her letter discusses the surveillance regime and denial of access to literature and cultural works perpetrated against Palestinian prisoners as well as their self-organized educational work, creativity and ongoing resistance. She writes:

“From the Israeli Damon prison located at the top of Mount Carmel in Haifa, I extend my greetings to you on behalf of myself and my 40 fellow women Palestinian freedom fighters in Israeli prisons. We extend our salute and due respect is to all writers, scholars, intellectuals and artists who speak the truth and call for the freedom and justice of all people and who defend people’s right to self-determination and oppose the colonial racist domination.

On this occasion, please allow me to also send our greetings and support to all Arab writers, scholars, intellectuals and artists who reject normalization with Israel’s settler colonial system and who have refused to accept the Emirati, Bahraini and Sudanese normalization agreements with the Zionist entity. It is stands such as these that represent the true ties between our people in the Arab world and empower us, prisoners, from within. Although physically we are held captive behind fences and bars, our souls remain free and are soaring in the skies of Palestine and the world. Regardless of the severity of the Israeli occupation’s practices and imposed punitive measures, our free voice will continue to speak out on behalf of our people who have suffered horrendous catastrophes, displacement, occupation and arrests. It will also continue to let the world know of the strong Palestinian Will that will relentlessly reject and challenge colonialism in all its forms. We work to establish and consolidate human values and strive to obtain social and economic liberation that bind the free people of the world together….”

In 2014, she resisted – and defeated – an Israeli attempt to forcibly displace her from her family home in el-Bireh to Jericho. Only nine months later, in April 2015, she was seized by Israeli occupation forces and ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. After a global outcry, she was brought before Israeli military courts and faced 12 charges based on her political activity, from giving speeches to attending events in support of Palestinian prisoners. She served 15 months in Israeli prison – and was then free for only 13 months before her 2017 arrest.

We demand the immediate release of Khalida Jarrar and pledge to organize for the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners, and of Palestine, from the river to the sea!

You can use the following flyers and social media images to join the campaign to free Khalida Jarrar and her fellow political prisoners. Download here and share widely!