Israel seizes Palestinian women leaders

By Joe Catron
July 9, 2017

Israeli occupation forces seized at least 11 Palestinians in a series of pre-dawn raids across the occupied West Bank on July 2.

They included Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Khitam Saafin, president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and a member of the secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Women.

After a raid on Jarrar’s home, her daughter Suha reported: “I kept demanding they allow me to see my mom, so the female soldiers called male soldiers into the room and they handcuffed me with plastic ties, hit me in the head and made me get on my knees in the middle of my bed.

“They made me sit like that, without proper clothes, for more than half an hour. If I moved even a bit to get comfortable they would point their guns and scream at me.” (

Israel previously held Jarrar, now the thirteenth PLC member in its prisons, for 14 months in 2015 and 2016, using both charges of “incitement” and affiliation with a banned organization — the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which she represents in the PLC — and “administrative detention,” or internment without charge or trial.

“The legal system [in the occupied Palestinian territories] is a comprehensive system of military law devoted to suppressing activists’ rights and violating their dignity at every stage of the detention process,” Jarrar said after her 2016 release. (

A prominent advocate for Palestinian political prisoners, she chairs the PLC’s commission on prisoners and is vice-chair of Addameer Prisoner Support and the Human Rights Association’s board of directors, as well as the group’s former executive director.

After Jarrar’s detention, Addameer called it “an attack against Palestinian political leaders and Palestinian civil society as a whole.”

In a statement, the PFLP urged “the Palestinian masses to escalate the popular movement to support the struggle of the brave prisoners in Israeli jails, for Jarrar and Saafin and the prisoner Muhammad Allan, on hunger strike for 25 days.”

July 7 will be the 30th day of Allan’s strike. To support his demand for freedom, Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network will protest that day outside the Best Buy store in New York’s Union Square, at 4th Avenue and East 14th Street, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The store sells products made by Hewlett Packard, which holds extensive contracts with Israel’s prison system, military forces and other occupation infrastructure.