As on every first Friday of the month, Combatants for Peace Movement (CFP), in collaboration with Standing Together, organized a peaceful demonstration against the occupation and the violence it creates on June 3 near Batteer in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The march started at the roundabout adjacent to the village of Batteer along Route 60 at 1:30 pm and continued up to the Tunnel Checkpoint. Along the path of the march protesters temporarily blocked the settler road with a mock-up of Israel’s security wall. Then, to emphasize the point, before reaching the checkpoint, CFP’s theater group presented a play describing the daily hardships the Palestinians face due to the Israeli occupation. Among the hundreds participating in the march were three MKs from the Joint List: Ayman Odeh and Dov Khenin from Hadash and Ossama Sa’adi from Ta’al.
During the event, MK Odeh told protesters: “The Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands creates a prison not only for Palestinians but for Israelis as well.” He added: “Real peace comes via joint struggle on the ground, not through peace initiatives.” Mohamed Ewadah, the Palestinian coordinator of CFP, also addressed the crowd saying: We are not born to live in prisons, nor are we born to mothers who don’t know the taste of freedom. We will free freedom.” Combatants for Peace and Standing Together call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the occupied territories with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestinian Leftist Lawmaker Freed from Israeli Prison
Feminist and leftist Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, who has until now served 14 months in Israeli prisons, was released Friday morning, June 3, to a crowd of cheering supporters. Joint List Chairman MK Odeh came to greet Jarrar as she left prison, saying: “Khalida Jarrar was arrested and jailed, initially with no trial, in an attempt to silence her struggle against the occupation. But in the end, they only reinforced her determination for the struggle ahead.” Jarrar was first elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in January 2006, following years of political activism in support of Palestinian women and prisoners.
Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was sentenced on December 6, 2015 to incarceration in Israel’s Ofer Military Prison. She is a well-known critic of the Palestinian Authority and specifically its security coordination with Israel. After eight months of imprisonment, during some of which she was under administrative detention, Jarrar signed a plea bargain, in which she admitted to charges of incitement, as well as belonging to the PFLP – a party she represents in the PLC – which is designated as an illegal organization by Israel.
Jarrar was tried on 12 criminal counts, most of which involved her parliamentary work and activism, including participation in protests, an interview with the media, a visit to a solidarity tent for Palestinian prisoners, and giving speeches. She was accused of one count of incitement to kidnap soldiers; however the state witness for this count admitted that he wasn’t actually certain that he heard Jarrar say anything to this effect.
Jarrar was arrested in April of this year at her home and was placed under house arrest for several months after she refused to abide by an internal expulsion order demanding that she move to Jericho within 24 hours for a period of 18 months. Following her arrest, Jarrar was in administrative attention, which led to an international campaign for her release. Due to the political pressure from abroad, Jarrar was eventually released from administrative detention and put on trial.
Among the 7,000 Palestinians currently in Israeli custody, six are lawmakers: Ahmad Sa’adat, the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who is serving a 30-year sentence; Marwan Barghouti, who is serving four consecutive life sentences; Hatem Hafisha and Hassan Yousef who are being held in administrative detention; and Jerusalem resident Muhammad Mahmoud Abu Tir.