There is so much harm that Israel has already done to Khalida Jarrar. But its refusal to allow the Palestinian lawmaker out of prison to attend the funeral of her daughter Suha is perhaps the most cruel.
“All I wanted was to bid my daughter a final farewell, with a kiss on her forehead and to tell her I love her as much as I love Palestine,” Khalida Jarrar wrote in a message from Damon prison that was shared online by her surviving daughter Yafa on Tuesday.Suha Jarrar, 31, was found dead on 11 July in her apartment in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
“Suha was committed to defending human rights and gender justice, and advocating for international environmental law and protection,” Al-Haq, the human rights group where Suha worked, said in a tribute highlighting her many contributions.
Years of persecution
Israeli authorities cited the supposed “security threat” Jarrar posed due to her “[negative] leadership role” inside and outside prison, the prisoners rights group Addameer said.
The vindictive decision is the latest measure in Israel’s long political persecution of the 58-year-old Khalida Jarrar.
In March, Israeli occupation authorities sentenced Jarrar to two years in prison and a fine for her membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Like virtually all Palestinian political parties and resistance organizations, Israel classifies the leftist group as “terrorist.”
This came after Jarrar had already spent almost a year and a half in administrative detention – arbitrary imprisonment without charge or trial.
According to Addameer, Jarrar’s October 2019 detention came amid a “campaign targeting dozens of Palestinian political activists and university students.”Israeli authorities then spread false accusations through the media attempting to tie Jarrar to military resistance activities.
However, the Israeli military prosecutor ultimately indicted Jarrar solely for “her political role and work with the Palestinian Authority,” Addameer said.
This fact, according to Addameer, affirms that Jarrar “has no responsibility or relation to any military, financial nor organizational activities.”
Even though the Israeli military did not accuse her of “security” violations, the Israel Prison Service nonetheless deems Jarrar a “security inmate.”
This means that under Israel’s regulations, she is ineligible for humanitarian release.
“The Israeli occupation regime explicitly relies on criminalizing Khalida’s political work and human rights activism as a means of establishing her [as a] ‘security threat,’ thus depriving her of any inherent human dignity and humanitarian considerations,” Addameer stated.Khalida Jarrar has served as a legislator and helped formulate Palestine’s application to the International Criminal Court. Throughout her years of political and human rights work, “she has been systematically harassed and targeted by the Israeli occupation regime,” according to Addameer, where she has served as general director.
“Steadfast and strong”
In total, Khalida Jarrar has been detained by Israeli occupation authorities three times since 2015 and has spent 59 months in Israeli jails.
Since 1998 she has been under an Israeli travel ban that was only lifted to allow her to seek medical treatment abroad in 2010.
“Suha, my precious. They have stripped me from bidding you a final goodbye kiss,” Jarrar wrote from her cell.
“Your absence is searingly painful, excruciatingly painful. But I remain steadfast and strong, like the mountains of beloved Palestine.”
Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, paid tribute to Suha Jarrar’s “innovative research on the environmental impacts of the Israeli occupation.”
He recalled that her “infectious smile never faded, even though for much of her adult life, her mother was unjustly behind bars.”
“Having repeatedly detained Khalida in violation of her rights, Israeli authorities should at minimum allow her to say goodbye to her daughter,” Shakir added.
Yet even that small humanitarian gesture proved to be far too much to expect of Israel.