Israel to release senior PFLP member Khalida Jarrar from prison
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Israel to release senior PFLP member Khalida Jarrar from prison

Former Palestinian lawmaker, arrested on terror suspicions, to be freed after 19 months in administrative detention without charge

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Prominent Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar greets speaks to reporters in her hometown, the West Bank city of Ramallah, following her release from an Israeli jail on June 3, 2016. (Abbas Momani/AFP)
Prominent Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar greets speaks to reporters in her hometown, the West Bank city of Ramallah, following her release from an Israeli jail on June 3, 2016. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Khalida Jarrar, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), will be released from Israeli prison on Thursday, an Israel Prisons Service spokesman said on Wednesday.

Jarrar, 56, was arrested by Israeli security forces in July 2017 on suspicion of “involvement with terrorist activities and violent public disturbances,” the IDF said in a statement at the time, but was never formally charged.

Jarrar, who has long advocated for Palestinian prisoners, was a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the PA parliament, when she was arrested.

Israel, the United States and the European Union consider the PFLP, one of several member parties of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to be a terrorist organization.

For more than the past 19 months, Jarrar has been held under administrative detention, a measure that allows Israel to hold Palestinians without indicting them or presenting details of the accusations against them.

Israeli security officials have defended the measure, arguing that issuing an indictment could force them to reveal sensitive security information. Palestinians and international rights groups, however, have criticized the practice, contending that Israel abuses it.

The Prisons Service spokesman said he did not know why authorities had decided to set Jarrar free.

The IDF said it was looking into the matter, while the Shin Bet security service did not respond to a request for comment.

A Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) rally in Gaza City in 2010. (photo credit: Mustafa Hassona/Flash90)
A Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) rally in Gaza City in 2010. ( Mustafa Hassona/Flash90)

Ghassan Jarrar, Khalida’s husband, criticized Israel’s decision to hold his wife under administrative detention.

“It was an illegal move against basic human rights,” he told The Times of Israel.

Jarrar also did a stint in prison in 2015 and 2016 after an Israeli military court convicted her of incitement to violence and “promoting terror activities.” She has denied those charges.

Israel also has long barred Jarrar from traveling abroad. For more than two decades, she has not left the West Bank.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the PLO’s Executive Committee, called earlier this month for the PFLP member’s release.

“Free Khalida Jarrar. She is a remarkable leader and decent human being,” he wrote on Twitter on February 16.

Ghassan Jarrar, who owns a children’s toys factory, said he was looking forward to his wife’s release.

“It will be a joyous day for us,” he said. “We are excited for her return.”

Ghassan Jarrar said he was informed Khalida will be released near a checkpoint in the northern West Bank around 1 p.m. on Thursday.

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