Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Palestinian Political Prisoners, Women, and Resistance


Monday 6 December is the 12th day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. During these days, activists round the world draw attention locally, regionally, and globally to another pandemic, gender-based violence against women and girls. This campaign ends Friday 10 December, International Human Rights Day.


As part of the activism, on today’s show, I focus on Palestinian women political prisoners. The fact of their existence and the violence inflicted on them is not very known, and rarely seen, in the US and most other places. With the exception of a highly publicized few like Ahed Tamimi and Rasmea Odeh.


The story of political Palestinian prisoners begins with Military Order 101 – “Order Regarding Prohibition of Incitement and Hostile Propaganda” instituted in August 1967, just two months after the beginning Israel’s colonization of Palestine at the end of the ‘67 War.


According to Addameer, Prisoner Rights and Support Association:


"This order criminalizes civic activities including organizing and participating in protests; taking part in assemblies or vigils; waving flags and other political symbols; printing and distributing political material. In addition, the order deems any acts of influencing public opinion as prohibited 'political incitement'.

Article 285 of the Order empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six-month renewable periods if they have 'reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.' On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed." This process can be continued indefinitely.


Because they are categorized as “security detainees” Palestinian people can be arrested, detained convicted, and imprisoned on numerous allegations in military courts. With no or inadequate legal representation and due process. The prisoners routinely face deplorable and inhumane conditions, from torture and solitary confinement to lack of health care and long-term separation from their families. In June 2021, Addameer issued a report concerning the violent military raids into prisoners’ cells within prisons. Can you imagine?


Overall, there is very little news and notice of this aspect of life of the Palestinian people outside the country. Even less is known and understood about women prisoners.


Goal of this two-part series is to reveal the multiple layers of incarceration itself, the experiences of women prisoners, and the harmful impacts on them, their families, and wider Palestinian society. We will also discuss the various creative ways their families and Palestinian people cope and resist.


Today, in Part 1, I’m in conversation with Khalida Jarrar, who was released in September after her 2-year incarceration, one of several throughout her life of activism on behalf of Palestinian people and Palestinian women.


To listen, click here. 58 mins.

About Our Guest

(excerpted from wikipedia)

Khalida Jarrar  is a lifelong activist and an elected official. As a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine she was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006 and has continued to serve as an elected representative ever since. She is also the Palestinian representative on the Council of Europe and currently head of the Prisoners Committee of the PLC. She played a major role in Palestine's application to join the International Criminal Court.


She has been arrested multiple times by the Israeli authorities. Several of these arrests resulted in administrative detention without any charges being brought. She has also been charged with "incitement and involvement in terror" by an Israeli military court. The incitement charge refers to public statements she made in 2012 in which she criticized the Israeli occupation. The court sentenced her to 15 months in prison, of which she served 6, before being released after an international campaign on her behalf. 


In March 2021, after having been held without charge since 2019, she was sentenced by an Israeli military court to two years in prison after a plea bargain, in which she declared herself guilty of membership in an organization, the PFLP, which Israel regards as a terrorist group. She has gone on record to state that her plea bargaining is due to the excruciatingly protracted nature of legal proceedings, lack of faith in Israel's military courts, and the threat, unless she admits guilt, of serving a 7 year sentence. She was released in September, 2021, but was refused permission to be with her gravely ill daughter and view her body after her death, despite her impending release.

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