Joint List MKs called Wednesday, April 8, for the immediate release of a Palestinian lawmaker arrested by Israel last week. “This is a political detention of an elected official who is opposed to the occupation,” said MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) at the Ofer Prison military tribunal, which postponed a hearing Wednesday on the administrative detention of Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian parliament and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. “The State of Israel should be ashamed of the draconian regime of administrative detentions, which are unparalleled in any democracy.”
Jarrar was arrested last week, and the army ordered her to be detained without trial for six months. Wednesday’s hearing, whose postponement Jarrar’s lawyers requested, had been scheduled to discuss approving the detention order. Israeli authorities suspect Jarrar of violating Israeli travel restrictions which banned her from leaving the Jericho area. But Kaddoura Fares, who tracks the well being of Palestinian prisoners, has said that the timing of Jarrar’s arrest is not at all coincidental: Jarrar is a member of a Palestinian national committee which monitors International Criminal Court procedures. According to Fares, Jarrar’s arrest just after the Palestinian Authority joined the ICC, demonstrates that Israel is persecuting her out of vindictiveness.
The military prosecution submitted evidence, including classified material, against Jarrar on Wednesday but said the information was insufficient for either requesting a remand extension until the end of proceedings or for filing an indictment. Jarrar’s lawyers had requested the postponement to give them a chance to review the unclassified evidence before the next hearing. That evidence was not submitted until Wednesday morning, indicating that the prosecution is not behaving in good faith, said Attorney Sahar Francis, who is representing Jarrar.
Three Joint List MKs joined a protest vigil outside the military tribunal on Wednesday, along with several senior Palestinian officials. The Israeli MKs met with Jarrar and called for her release. MK Touma-Sliman said Jarrar’s health was deteriorating and that she requires close medical supervision.
According Touma-Sliman, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Israel “This arrest should be a stain on the conscience of the leaders and authorities of Israel, added as it is to the daily, decades-long crimes of occupation – firstly, confiscating the freedom of an entire people, including thousands of prisoners, with 16 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council detained in Israeli jails, led by the Speaker of the Parliament, Aziz Dweik.” Touma-Sliman urged parliamentarians around the world to struggle to release Jarrar and all the detained Palestinian MPs.
A Joint List statement published this week supports the right of the Palestinian Arab people to resist the occupation and struggle for their freedom, a just and democratic project based on international law. It also called for building the struggle to confront repression and restrictions on freedom of movement, arbitrary arrests, and human rights violations by occupation authorities. The list called for the immediate release of MP Khalida Jarrar and other detained MPs, who have exercised their right and duty to struggle against the occupation, and emphasized the importance of Palestinian unity in the struggle to free these political prisoners.