Israel sentences Palestinian lawmaker to 15 months in prison

Protesters hold posters of Khalida Jarrar, the jailed Palestinian lawmaker, while calling for her release outside Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah in May.

Shadi Hatem APA images

An Israeli military court has sentenced Khalida Jarrar, the prominent leftist activist and legislator, to 15 months in prison.

Jarrar was seized during a late-night raid on her home in al-Bireh, a town near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, in April. She was held without charge or trial under a six-month administrative detention order.

Following international outcry, the detention order was reduced to just over one month and she was handed a list of charges related to her prisoner advocacy work and activism.

After months of stalled proceedings, Jarrar struck a plea deal on Sunday and the list of charges was reduced to two: membership in an illegal organization and incitement to violence.

In addition to the prison sentence, Jarrar must pay a fine of 10,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $2,500).

Politically motivated

Jarrar is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist party banned by Israel, and sits on the board of the prisoners’ rights group Addameer.

Addameer asserts the arrest and trial of Jarrar was politically motivated.

Human Rights Watch stated that Jarrar’s case was “rife with due process violations.”

According to her attorney, Mahmoud Hassan, Jarrar finally agreed to the plea deal because she has no faith in Israel’s military courts.

“She doesn’t expect [to receive] any justice from the court of the occupation,” Hassan said.

Israel’s military courts have a nearly 100 percent rate of convicting Palestinians.

While Israel holds more than 6,700 Palestinian political prisoners, the arrest of the prominent figure Jarrar was also criticized by the European Union and Amnesty International.

Prior to arresting her, Israeli occupation forces ordered Jarrar to be banished to the West Bank city of Jericho, which she defied.

Targeting lawmakers

Observers noted the timing of Jarrar’s arrest shortly after the Palestinian Authority joined the International Criminal Court, a focus of her parliamentary work.

The Israeli daily Haaretz asserted in an editorial calling for her release: “it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Jarrar’s arrest was political in nature, meant as payback for her public activities regarding the International Criminal Court.”

Israel has targeted Palestinian lawmakers for the past decade, at one point holding nearly one-third of the legislative council’s members.

Jarrar was among five members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Israeli detention in October, according to Addameer.

Following Jarrar’s sentencing on Sunday, Aida Touma-Suliman, a Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, told reporters that “The decision of the occupation authorities to jail a member of parliament because of her political stance … proves that the Israeli government is bent on aggravating the escalation.”

“This government has nothing to offer but scaring Israelis and oppressing and disinheriting Palestinians,” the lawmaker added.




Nothing says democracy better than setting up a racialist/supremacist "theocratic" apartheid regime, running off the bulk of the electorate, disenfranchising most of the rest and jailing "the opposition" (what little of it that there it is.). Yes indeed.

Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver's picture

Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver.