Dozens of Palestinian political leaders gathered at the home of Legislative Council Member Khalida Jarrar Wednesday night, prepared for possible confrontation if Israeli troops had come to arrest her.
Early Wednesday morning some fifty Israeli soldiers surrounded the home of Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) political bureau, giving her a deportation order to Jericho for six months. Jarrar, given 24 hours to leave her home in Ramallah, refused to sign the order. As of now (12.45 p.m. local time), Israeli troops have not come to enforce the order or arrest Jarrar.
Jarrar, a long-time advocate for prisoner, women and human rights more generally, was defined in the military order as a “threat to the security of the area” although this order, as with other military decrees, provides no explanation and is grounded in “secret” evidence held by the Israeli authorities.
Jarrar is currently (Thursday morning) in meetings to take political decisions following Israel’s deportation order.
“This attack on a prominent Palestinian political leader comes now in response to the PFLP’s active role in Gaza resistance” says Nassar Ibrahim, a Palestinian political activist. “It is part of the occupation’s ongoing attacks on the elected Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and its targeting of Palestinian resistance in general”, added Ibrahim.
Palestinian civil society groups, particularly human rights organizations and women’s committees, as well as the Legislative Council and political parties, have emphasised their solidarity with Jarrar.
The PLC’s leftist Abu Ali Mustafa Bloc, which helped organize last night’s sit-in at Jarrar’s home, issued a statement saluting Jarrar’s refusal of the “illegal, inhumane and unjust order by the forces of Zionist aggression.”
Shawan Jabarin, executive director of the Palestinian rights group Al Haq, stated that the “Palestinian Authority must take a clear stand on this blatant violation of international human rights law and the Geneva Conventions”.
However, the prisoner rights group Addameer, of which Jarrar is a former director and current board member, notes that the Palestinian Authority itself allowed for this expulsion.
PLO Executive Committee Member Saeb Erekat on Wednesday said in a statement that the order for Jarrar “effectively amounts to attempted forcible transfer, unlawful confinement and persecution, all of which are crimes punishable under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and under the universal jurisdiction provisions of the majority of States.”
Erekat added that 36 members of the PLC are currently held in Israeli prisons.
Israeli mainstream media is not reporting on the imminent deportation of Jarrar.
This is not the first time that Israel forcibly expels PLC members. Addameer notes that in 2010 three PLC members – Mohammad Abu Teer, Ahmad ‘Atoun and Mohammad Totah – as well as Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khalid Abu Arafeh, were deported from their homes in Jerusalem to Ramallah. Later all four were arrested by Israel and placed under administrative detention.
The deportation order has again highlighted calls for the Palestinian leadership to reconsider negotiations with Israel. “Israel blatantly disregards the sovereignty of the democratically elected representative body of the Palestinians, the PLC. It arrests members and places most of them in administrative detention without charges or trial. It limits the movement of PLC members and prevents many of them from travelling abroad, including Jarrar”, a political activist told the AIC. “Israel does not respect agreements. the PA should undertake a comprehensive review of the path of negotiations and peace with Israel”.
*This article was edited on 22 August: a quote from the prisoner rights organisation Addameer was deleted and the title was changed.