The inhumanity of the Israeli regime

Political prisoner Khalida Jarrar. Image: social media via Palestine Chronicle

JVL Introduction

Israel’s Prison Service refused to allow Khalida Jarrar, serving a two-year political sentence for being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to attend the funeral of her daughter who died of a cardiac arrest.

In two articles from Haaretz below, veteran Israeli journalists Gideon Levy and Amira Hass protest in outrage.

Levy points the finger at everyone who was party to the decision: those in the prison service, the ministers in the new government, the Israeli media (apart from Haaretz) who didn’t care a damn.

“Israeli malevolence,” he concludes, “how awful it is.”

Hass writes about the follow up. A user posted a letter from Khalida Jarrar written after her daughter’s funeral.

Facebook, outrageously, suspended the user’s account, claiming that “This post goes against our standards on dangerous individuals and organizations, so only you can see it.”

Khalida Jarrar’s moving letter includes these words: “The occupation takes from us everything, even the air we breathe, and bans everything, as it banned me from saying goodbye to my little bird Suha.”

Such words clearly violate standards on dangerous individuals …


Damn them all

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 15 July 2021

Damn them all. Damn Rafael Gana, the deputy head of the Israel Prison Service, who wrote to the interior minister: “Your request does not meet the prerequisites for consideration.” Damn Katy Perry, the head of the Israel Prison Service, who approved the decision. Damn Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, the heartless coward, who didn’t lift a finger to change this evil decision. And above all, damn the Shin Bet, which probably stands behind the decision, as it stands behind far more than we know.

Damn all those who are partner to this sadistic decision not to release Khalida Jarrar from prison to attend her daughter’s funeral. Damn this new government, which presumed to herald a change, and none of whose ministers acted to oppose the evil institutions that decided to leave Jarrar in prison. Not even ministers Merav Michaeli and Tamar Zandberg, who presumably have far more in common with the secular feminist freedom fighter Jarrar than with their colleague Ayelet Shaked.

And damn the Israeli media, which, with the exception of this newspaper, took no interest in the story, which was reported worldwide but not in Israel. Jarrar is a political prisoner. After a sequence of arrests without trial, she was sentenced to two years in prison for “belonging to an illegal organization,” in a land where there is no organization that is permitted to Palestinians. Jarrar is scheduled to be released September 25, about two months from now. All the existential dangers that lie in wait for the country upon her release will be ready to pounce in another two months.

On Sunday, her daughter Suha was found dead, apparently from cardiac arrest. Suha’s body was found about five hours after her death, after her sister in Canada was unable to reach her by phone and asked friends to break into the house. Suha’s father Ghassan was in Jenin at the time and rushed to her home. The Khalidas have two daughters: Suha, who completed a master’s degree in climate change in Canada and worked for the Al Haq human rights group in Ramallah, and Yafa, who completed a doctorate in law in Canada and lives there.

I will never forget that moment in the military court in Ofer in the summer of 2015: Yafa, Suha and Ghassan in the audience, Khalida in the dock, and the Israel Prison Service officer, Bassam Kashkush, suddenly allowed the two young women to approach their mother and embrace her. Even the warden teared up. It was forbidden, against regulations, but what Officer Kashkush dared to permit, in a rare moment of humanity and compassion, the State of Israel, the head of the Prison Service and the interior minister failed to do.

All that was needed was a tiny degree of humanity. All that was missing was a minimal amount of humanity. “He had a mother, after all,” wrote poet Nathan Alterman. They are also parents, after all, Katy and Omer and the Shin Bet agents. Are they capable of imagining what it means to lose a young daughter and not be able to go to her funeral? Not to be with her father and sister during their tragedy? To mourn in grief in a cell in Damon Prison? To hear about the death of their daughter on Radio Palestine?

What else? What else needs to be said about Israeli insensitivity, except for one thing: Jarrar is a human being. But to most Israelis, she isn’t. She’s a terrorist, although she has never been convicted of terrorism, and she is a proud Palestinian, and that is even worse, apparently.

The day after Suha’s death, when there was still hope that Jarrar would be released, the banquet hall in the center of Ramallah was filled with people. The entire secular left of the city came to be with Ghassan, who remained so alone in his mourning. He cried and cried, and everyone cried with him. Fadwa Barghouti, Marwan’s wife, who sat next to me, said their son Aarab was at this moment visiting his father in prison for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus. He is the only one in the family allowed to visit Marwan. Fadwa is not allowed to visit her husband, and Khalida is not allowed to attend her daughter’s funeral. Israeli malevolence, how awful it is.


Facebook Blocks Account That Posted Letter by Jailed Palestinian ex-MP

Khalida Jarrar wrote to her daughter, after the funeral last Tuesday: yours is ‘a life of a Palestinian who loves life and hope and freedom and hates slavery and colonialism’

Amira Hass, Haaretz, 17 July 2021

Facebook suspended for two months the account of a user who posted a letter from Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian political activist and former parliament member who is serving a prison sentence in Israel, written after Jarrar’s daughter’s funeral Tuesday.

Omar Nazzal, a close friend of the Jarrars, was notified this week that his Facebook account is suspended for two months, shortly after he had posted the letter.

On Monday, the Israel Prison Service refused Jarrar’s request to attend the funeral of her daughter, Suha, who died Sunday of heart failure at the age of 31. Another letter Jarrar wrote when she learned that she was not allowed to attend the funeral was read last Tuesday at the funeral and widely circulated on Facebook and other social media.

Nazzal, a close friend of the Jarrars, is a journalist, and has been held by Israel in administrative detention in the past. He posted the letter to his Facebook account on Thursday morning. About five hours later, an announcement in English from Facebook appeared on his account, stating: “You can’t go live or advertise for 60 days. This is because you previously posted something that didn’t follow our Community Standards.”

The announcement, which cut off Jarrar’s letter at the top, allowing only the first sentence to be seen, continued: “This post goes against our standards on dangerous individuals and organizations, so only you can see it.”

“Suha came into the world while her father was in jail, and she is leaving the world while her mother is in jail,” Jarrar’s letter begins. Suha’s father, Ghassan Jarrar, was held in administrative detention, without trial or charges, at the time of Suha’s birth.

The letter continues: “This is an intense human summary of the life of a Palestinian who loves life and hope and freedom and hates slavery and colonialism. The occupation takes from us everything, even the air we breathe, and bans everything, as it banned me from saying goodbye to my little bird Suha.”

It was Nazzal who found Suha’s body in her Ramallah home Sunday, after her father, who had spent a day in Jenin, and her sister, Yafa, who lives in Canada, were unable to reach her.

The Israel Prison Service refused Jarrar’s requests to attend the funeral, even after at least two Knesset members appealed to Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev.

Jarrar is serving a two-year prison sentence in Israel after being convicted of membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel banned and declared illegal. She has been held in Damoun Prison since her arrest in October 2019, and she is scheduled for release in about three months. She was previously arrested in April 2015 and sentenced to one year in prison after being convicted of incitement and membership in the PFLP. While she was detained at that time, her father died, and she could not attend his funeral.

 

Comments (5)

  • Joseph Hannigan says:

    Any show of humanity implies Palestinians are human…can’t have that can we,Bibi?

  • Catherine Newall says:

    This is cruelty and vindictiveness beyond measure. An absolute outrage! I can’t find any more words!

  • Paul Wimpeney says:

    Where were the comments in the UK media? Would Khalida Jarrar have to move to Hong Kong for her identity as a human being (and not “terrorist”) to be recognised? Is Facebook now just the coat-holder of the “mainstream media”? It’s hard to avoid an epidemic of inverted commas when what we thought were the minimal standards and definitions are swept away without comment.

  • Bernard Grant says:

    The hatred they have for the Palestinians has no bounds.
    They have no sympathy or empathy, not a tiny bit of normal human instincts to do what is the right thing, to not let this lady go to her daughter’s funeral, is the epitome of a lack of humanity and extreme hatred. One day these people will meet their maker, I’m sure they will regret their behaviour.

  • steve mitchell says:

    No criticism from the Labour leadership? What has happened to the Party I joined in 1956 as a Young Socialist. ? Shameful in the extreme.

Comments are now closed.