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Palestinian leadership outraged over detention of MP Khalida Jarrar

July 2, 2017 6:00 P.M. (Updated: July 8, 2017 12:22 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian political leadership has reacted with outrage over the detention of feminist, human rights activist, and Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar, detained by Israeli forces from her home in Ramallah during a predawn military raid on Sunday.

Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe condemned Israel for detaining Jarrar, a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) faction who also heads the the Prisoners' Commission of the PLC, and is vice-chairperson of the board of directors of Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer.

Qaraqe said Jarrar's detention, which comes just over a year after she was released from Israeli custody, represented “a violation of international laws and of immunity given to elected Parliament members.” He demanded that all Arab and foreign parliaments intervene and work toward security Jarrar’s release, as well as the release of the 12 other PLC members currently imprisoned by Israel.

According to Qaraqe, Israeli forces have detained around 70 deputies since 2002, equal to about half of the total number of PLC members. He highlighted the targeting of female parliamentarians over the years, who have also included Majida Fida and Samira Halaika.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi released a statement, in which she also deplored the detention of the chairwoman of the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees Khitam Saafin in Beituniya on the same night Jarrar was detained.

“We protest the arrest of Palestinian lawmakers and women activists, as well as the ongoing detention of Palestinian political and civil society leaders,” Ashrawi wrote, adding that, “Clearly, this political arrest is further proof that the judicial system in Israel has no relation to justice.”

The PLO Executive Committee member called for Jarrar’s immediate release, saying: “Israel must not be given a free hand to dehumanize the Palestinian people and systematically devalue their basic rights and lives.”

Responding to the detention raids, the PFLP said, “these attacks will not stop (the PFLP) from continuing its role in resistance to the occupation and confronting the crimes and projects that attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

The leftist PLO faction said the arrests “only underline the futility” of the Palestinian Authority's approach to peace negotiations and its security coordination with Israel, and meanwhile affirmed “the correctness of the Front’s position and its continuing struggle to build the resistance.”

The PFLP also said that the detentions of Palestinian officials and activists came amid “the major campaign of incitement launched by the Zionist entity and its prime minister, the war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu, against the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the resistance factions.”

The PFLP urged the Palestinian masses to escalate support for political prisoners in Israeli jails, particularly for Jarrar, Saafin, and Muhammad Allan, who has been on hunger strike for 25 days.

Meanwhile, in a statement received by Ma’an, Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh slammed an unnamed PFLP leader for allegedly accusing the Palestinian Authority of being involved in Jarrar’s detention.

"While we denounced the detention of lawmaker Jarrar, and while we defend the PFLP in front of the United Nations, we are surprise and we denounce by the strongest terms the comments of a PFLP leader who accused the PA of having a hand in the detention,” al-Qawasmeh said. “This is a shameful attitude inappropriate for the PFLP and its history, and a fabrication based on sinful suspicions."

The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees “strongly denounced” the arrest of its chairwoman and of Jarrar, in a statement conveyed by Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samidoun.

The union described the political detention of leaders of the women’s movement as “part of many attempts to silence the free Palestinian voice that confronts the occupation and its attacks on the Palestinian people.”

The Progressive Labor Union Front in Palestine also issued a statement on the seizure of Jarrar and Saafin by Israeli forces. “These arrests are racist, fascist actions aimed at silencing the voices of truth,” it said.
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