If you want to know why Israel is not, contrary to its
claims, a democracy, then the case of Khalida Jarrar says it all. Khalida, a secular and left-wing Palestinian,
a member of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is an
elected member of the Palestinian legislative assembly.
But she is a member of an ‘illegal organisation’
presumably the PFLP and therefore she is imprisoned by a military Tribunal,
another quaint example of Israeli democracy.
Settlers are subject to normal Israeli public law. Khalida, being a Palestinian
occupation, is subject to Military Law, which of course lacks even the
slightest element of justice. Military
courts have a conviction rate of over 99%.
A good leading article by Israel’s only sane newspaper, Ha’aretz.
Editorial Dec 09, 2015
Jarrar was sentenced to 15 months in prison this week for membership in an
illegal organization and incitement, but was her trial in a military court
Jarrar is a political prisoner. The Ofer Military Court, which on Monday
sentenced the Palestinian parliamentarian to 15 months in prison for membership
in an illegal organization and incitement, is a political court that punished
her for her political activity, and for that alone. Thus Israel, which pretends
to be a democracy, has political prisoners, political arrests and political
prison sentences, at least in the occupied territories.
trial once again proved the intolerable contradiction between the rule of law
and the principles of justice, on one hand, and the military justice system on
the other. The latter has no relationship to the former.
was arrested at her home in Al-Bireh in April. The defense establishment
claimed at the time that the reason for the arrest was her violation of a
military order that allowed her to live only in the Jericho area, far from her
home. No other crime was mentioned. Later, she was indicted on 12 different
counts, some of them ridiculous and even outrageous, like attending a book fair
and paying condolence visits. In the end, she was convicted on two counts in a
military court judge ordered her freed long ago; another ordered her kept in
prison until the end of her trial; and the military prosecutor threatened her –
and essentially the court as well – by saying that if she were released, she’d
be thrown in jail without trial, in other words placed in administrative
detention. This is not how the legal system of a properly run state conducts
the fact that Jarrar is a legislator, a member of parliament, an elected
representative of her people – a post that ought to grant her immunity from
political charges – didn’t give her a moment’s protection. Israel treated her
brutally, just as it treats every Palestinian it deems suspect.
it tried to keep her away from her hometown with a draconian military order.
Then it tried to put her in administration detention, which is no less
arbitrary. Finally, and only after public and international pressure for her
release had intensified, members of the military justice system were forced to
fabricate an indictment against her – most of which, as noted, collapsed.
Essentially, this was a Band-Aid, based at least in part on dubious evidence,
including vague hearsay evidence and testimony obtained under pressure.
fact that Jarrar was thrown into prison because of her political activity on
behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is first and
foremost an indictment of the State of Israel, which puts politicians on trial
because of their legitimate opposition to the occupation and even sentences
them to jail. Jarrar and her attorneys decided to accept the plea bargain in
order to shorten her trial, and thereby the length of her detention until the
end of proceedings. But the black flag that flies over the shameful
imprisonment of a Palestinian member of parliament will continue to fly over
the State of Israel, tarnishing her jailers and, above all, those who are
responsible for them.