Prominent Palestinian lawmaker arrested on terrorism charges
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Prominent Palestinian lawmaker arrested on terrorism charges

PFLP political head Khalida Jarrar, released from prison last year after serving 14 months for encouraging attacks, held on suspicion of involvement in terror activities

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

In this Thursday, May 21, 2015 file photo, Palestinian Parliament member Khalida Jarrar of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine attends a court session charged with inciting violence, at the Israeli Ofer military base near the West Bank city of Ramallah (AP/Majdi Mohammed, File)
In this Thursday, May 21, 2015 file photo, Palestinian Parliament member Khalida Jarrar of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine attends a court session charged with inciting violence, at the Israeli Ofer military base near the West Bank city of Ramallah (AP/Majdi Mohammed, File)

A well-known Palestinian lawmaker and activist was arrested Saturday night near the West Bank city of Ramallah as part of a joint operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet Security agency, a year after she was released from custody and feted by Israeli lawmakers.

Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar and fellow Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Khitam Khatib were among the 11 individuals arrested “on suspicion of involvement with terrorist activities and violent public disturbances,” the army said in a statement.

Jarrar was elected in 2006 to the PLC as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but the Palestinian parliament has not met since 2007 after elections were won by the Islamist terror movement Hamas.

Jarrar was heavily involved in cementing the Palestinian Authority’s bid to join the International Criminal Court, a PLO spokesperson said in 2015.

The PFLP, a Marxist party considered a terrorist organization by Israel, is second-largest faction in the legislative body after Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah. Jarrar serves as the group’s political leader.

According to the army, her arrest on Saturday “had nothing to do with her membership in the Palestinian Legislative Council.”

In 2015, Jarrar was arrested and later sentenced to 15 months in prison for encouraging attacks against Israelis.

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)

She was released a year ago, a month early, due to overcrowding in Israeli jails, according to the Israel Prisons Service.

Upon her release she was greeted by MK Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint (Arab) List party, and dozens of supporters.

In a Facebook post on his page at the time, Odeh described Jarrar as a “freedom fighter and Palestinian member of parliament.” He wrote that he felt a “duty” to welcome her upon her release from prison and that he “had the honor of being next to her on her way to elections.”

עברית ↡المناضلة خالدة جرار عضو المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني تتحرّر الآن من السجن البغيض.اعتقلت إداريًا دون محكمة! وفقط بع…

Posted by ‎Ayman Odeh – أيمن عودة‎ on Friday, 3 June 2016

Odeh declined to comment Sunday on Jarrar’s latest arrest.

Jarrar has been jailed multiple times, and still had a five-year suspended sentence upon her release last year, according to Palestinian rights organization Addameer.

Her husband Ghassan Jarrar, himself jailed multiple times, said upon her release that her last stint in prison was “very hard for her,” adding proudly that she “set up a school in prison and five girls were able to pass their exams through it.”

AFP contributed to this report.

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