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Israel takes another step to pariah status Open in fullscreen

Tyler Levitan

Israel takes another step to pariah status

Jarrar is a well-known activist for Palestinian rights [Salvatore Esposito/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty]

Date of publication: 13 April, 2015

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Comment: Palestinian politician Khalida Jarrar faces at least six months without charge in an Israeli jail. It's another step towards international revulsion for Israel, says Tyler Levitan.

In the middle of the night on 2 April, Israeli soldiers arrested Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian politician. She now faces at least six months in detention without charge or trial reportedly for violating a military order restricting her movement in the occupied West Bank.

Jarrar is a prominent and inspirational leader in Palestinian society. In addition to being an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, she is a women's rights activist, and serves as a member of the board of directors for the Adammeer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. She was at one point the organisation's executive director.

This is only the latest in an appalling series of injustices Khalida Jarrar has suffered at Israel's hands.

Her expertise in the area of Palestinian prisoners means she will know what to expect in Israeli custody, but this will undoubtedly be of little solace.

She is facing a six month administrative detention order from the Israeli military, meaning that she will not be charged, and will not be brought to trial. Israel can indefinitely renew these orders every six months.

This was only the latest in an appalling series of injustices Jarrar has suffered at Israel's hands. Last August, the Israeli military court at Ofer tried forcibly transferring her to Jericho (she lives in Ramallah), but she refused to leave.

She resisted courageously by setting up a protest tent outside the office of the Palestinian Legislative Council in which she lived and worked. Her campaign of peaceful resistance attracted visits of solidarity from both Palestinian and international delegations and in the end, was successful. The order was eventually lifted.

She has been banned from leaving the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1998, and after an international campaign of solidarity succeeded, she was finally allowed to enter Jordan to receive desperately needed medical treatment she was unable to receive in Palestine in 2010.

Jarrar's health is still a concern, as she must undergo treatment every three days. Her family is concerned that Israel's systematic mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners will prevent her from getting the care she needs.


Rather than submitting to the arbitrariness and brutality of Israel's apartheid system of rule over the Palestinians, Jarrar has become a symbol of sumoud, or the common Palestinian trait of steadfastness, through her refusal to give in to Israel's attempts to silence and ultimately remove her permanently from public life.

Jarrar's most serious crime in the eyes of the Israeli occupation may have been her involvement in Palestine's accession to the Rome Statute as part of efforts to bring Israel to justice through the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

She is a member of the Palestinian National Committee, which monitors procedures for the ICC. What appears to be the only international avenue through which Palestinians can attempt to hold Israel accountable for its crimes has unsurprisingly become one of Israel's greatest fears.

As Jarrar is the 17th parliamentarian of a state with observer status at the UN to be imprisoned by Israel, and the ninth to be denied due process under the law by being held without charge, Israel has taken a significant step toward becoming the international pariah it is terrified it will one day become.

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