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Thousands attend funeral of detained Palestinian leader’s daughter

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, Palestine: Thousands of Palestinians marched through Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday to bury rights activist Suha Jarrar, 31, as Israel refused to release her mother Khalida Jarrar from prison for the funeral.

Jarrar, 58, has been arrested and jailed many times and often held without charge in what Israelis call administrative detention.

Activists, politicians, feminists and people from all walks of life have gathered in came here today to show solidarity with the Jarrar family in Ramallah.

Khalida [Jarrar] has been in Israeli prison for almost the past two years. Israel has denied many requests to release [Jarrar] to bid her daughter goodbye, or let the body inside the prison so the mother can see Suha.

Palestinians and human rights organisations had pressed in vain for her release for her daughter’s burial.

Suha Jarrar was found dead in her Ramallah home on Sunday, according to the advocacy group Al-Haq where she worked.

Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin said the cause of death was not known and the family was waiting for autopsy results.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Jarrar’s repeated arrests are part of Israel’s wider crackdown on non-violent political opposition to its half-century military occupation of Palestinian lands.

“Depriving a mom long unjustly detained from saying goodbye to her daughter reflects pure cruelty, which underlies Israeli government’s apartheid,” Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, posted on Twitter.

Jarrar, 58, was sentenced to two years in prison in March 2021 for belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which Israel and the United States label a “terrorist” organisation.

The Palestinian politician was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council, or parliament, as part of the PFLP.

“This stand in front of the prison is to express our solidarity with Khalida Jarrar, who is going through the tragic death of a daughter, and also do demand immediate release of Khalida,” activist Abdullah Abu Rahma told news agencies.

“This is us putting pressure on Israel and so our voices can reach the human rights and international institutions to stop this arbitrary arrest, and this injustice, which the Palestinian people are subjected to.”

Suha Jarrar specialised in environmental and gender issues and briefed the United Nations on Palestinian access to water under Israeli occupation.

She studied in Canada and earned her Master’s in climate change science and policy in the United Kingdom.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, from the Six-Day War (1967) to the First Intifada (1988), over 600,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli jails for a week or more.
Rory McCarthy, The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, estimated that one-fifth of the population has at one time been imprisoned since 1967.

Since 1967, roughly 20% of the total population and 40% of the male population ie 800,000 Palestinians had been imprisoned by Israel at one point in time.

About 100,000 had been held in administrative detention. According to Palestinian estimates, 70% of Palestinian families have had one or more family members sentenced to jail terms in Israeli prisons as a result of activities against the occupation.