Free Khalida Jarrar!

khalidacampaign (1)by Susanne Kemp

Khalida Jarrar, a leader of the struggle for Palestinian national liberation and member of the politbureau (central leadership) of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was snatched in the early hours of Thursday morning (April 2).  Dozens of soldiers from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank kicked in the door of her home in Ramallah, held her husband in another room and arrested comrade Jarrar.

She was initially held in Ofer Prison, an Israeli detention facility on the West Bank, where she refused to eat or drink.  She was subsequently moved to HaSharon prison in Israel.

In part this was payback for her successful resistance to an attempt by the illegal Israeli occupation to expel her for six months from the city last August-September and in part because of her effective political work as part of the PFLP in resisting the occupation itself and fighting for the complete emancipation of the Palestinian people.  She has been particularly associated with defending Palestinian prisoners and, among her activities, chairs the prisoners committee of the Palestine Legislative Council.  She is also the Palestinian representative to the Council of Europe.  (Israel currently holds 16 elected Council members in prison, 9 of the them without any charges at all!)

Comrade Jarrar has been a particular target of the Israeli state for years.  For instance, ever since 1998 she has been forbidden to travel outside the Occupied Territories.  In 2010 she had to launch a public campaign in order to be able to travel to Jordan for medical treatment.  Other trips for treatment, however, have been prevented by the occupation.  Moreover, as the PFLP noted last October, there has been an intensification of Israeli attacks on them (see here).

Ramallah is in Zone A, the 20% of the West Bank that is supposedly under exclusive control of the Palestinian Authority.  Israeli forces entering Zone A do so by co-ordinating with the PA.  It therefore seems that the arrest of Khalida Jarrar is yet another instance of the collaboration of the PA, which is dominated by Fatah, with the Israeli state and its occupation of the West Bank.

This is not the first time the PA authorities have helped Israel snatch a leader of the PFLP.  The movement’s general-secretary, Ahmad Sa’adat, was imprisoned in 2002 by the PA and, essentially, allowed Israel to kidnap him from prison in March 2006.  Since then he has been held in jail in Israel, much of the time in solitary confinement.

In New Zealand, we need to expose the repression on the West Bank and demand the release of Khalida Jarrar, Ahmad Sa’adat and all the other Palestinian political prisoners.  We need to expose the use of ‘administrative detention’ – ie internment without trial – that is a common practice of the Israeli state.  And we need to organise solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

Further reading:
The case of Ahmad Sa’adat 
Palestine, Ireland: free the political prisoners 
For a campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle 
NZ solidarity activist interviews PFLP leader Leila Khaled
Peace is War: After the Oslo Accords 


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