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Women’s groups urged to raise voices in solidarity with Khalida Jarrar

Palestinian feminist Khalida Jarrar was jailed for two years by an Israeli court, charged with ‘holding a position in a prohibited organisation’

WOMEN’S organisations and social movements have been urged to raise their voices in solidarity with Palestinian feminist Khalida Jarrar, who was jailed for two years by an Israeli court on Monday.

The Samidoun Political Prisoner Solidarity network called for groups to use next week’s International Working Women’s Day to “highlight the struggles, experiences and resistance of Khalida Jarrar, Khitam Saafin and all Palestinian women.

“The Israeli occupation seeks to expand and consolidate its colonisation of Palestine by imprisoning Palestinian people’s leaders like Khalida Jarrar and by its attacks on organisations that defend the Palestinian prisoners and detainees,” it said in a statement.

Ms Jarrar was charged with “holding a position in a prohibited organisation:” the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist group proscribed by Israel.

The jailing of Ms Jarrar, a longtime advocate for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners and an elected official to the Palestinian Legislative Council, followed a flurry of media slurs levelled at her.

She had been held in prison for a year prior to her hearing on an “administrative detention” order and was accused of involvement in a “terror attack” in which an Israeli teenager was killed. 

Ms Jarrar has consistently denied what are deemed to be politically motivated charges and the military court found no evidence of her involvement, clearing her of charges of engaging in armed activity.

“Since the beginning of the arrest, the occupation authorities and their media have spread lies about the arrest of Jarrar in a miserable attempt to hold them responsible for the military operation in Ain Boubin [where the teenager was killed],” her lawyers said in a statement.

The PFLP politician is a member of the Palestinian committee that presented evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) about ongoing Israeli crimes in the occupied territories.

In February ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda recommended formal investigations be opened into allegations of war crimes, ruling that the international body has jurisdiction in Palestine.

She has come under intense pressure from Israel and its allies. In September 2020 Ms Bensouda was named a “specially designated national” by the United States government, forbidding all US persons and companies from doing business with her.

Samidoun, which was itself designated a terrorist organisation linked to the PFLP by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz last weekend, called for Ms Jarrar’s immediate release, along with all Palestinian women held in Israeli prisons.

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