Palestinian revolutionary, Khalida Jarrar was recently released from spending 20 months in an Israeli prison. Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) spoke two weeks after her release about the cruel methods used by Israeli occupiers against Palestinians who have been jailed without charge.
Every few months, Israeli authorities would chain Jarrar’s arms and legs, put her in a cage at the back of a security truck known as a “bosta” and drive her and fellow Palestinian inmates to a military court for a secret trial.
“They would put us in a truck, which looked very nice from the outside but inside we’d be in handcuffs sitting in cages for hours,” Jarrar said.
“They wouldn’t allow us to stop and use the bathroom. Our only stop was the court. They’d take us out, we’d receive our sentences and then they would put us back in our cages and drive us back in the same condition.”
The hearings in Haifa meant another six-month extension to her administrative detention, a tactic used by Israel to incarcerate people without trial or charge, based on allegations that they might commit a future offence.
After the trials, Jarrar and her fellow inmates would return to Damon Prison, a maximum-security complex in the coastal Israeli city where she continued her revolutionary activity in defense of the Palestinian people.
Jarrar was sent to solitary confinement, barred from showering and left without the means to cook her own food.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member’s prison sentence was extended three times by an Israeli military court, on charges she could not defend because the Israeli authorities said that they were confidential.
Jarrar, 56, suspects the rolling sentences were added because of her work during her time in detention.
Officially, she was told it is administrative detention given through military order that can detain any Palestinian citizen for up to 20 months on no charges – a continuation of British colonial law, still in practice by the colonizing Israeli authorities.
“It’s a military order released without any charges or trial, without anything against you,” Jarrar said. “They don’t tell you anything, just that you are, for security reasons, under arrest and they can extend it based on that..
“They claim that we are so dangerous to their security, but how we are dangerous, they don’t explain.”
The Palestinian feminist and revolutionary continued her struggle within jail.
After rebelling against the constant camera surveillance, Ms Jarrar organised a 63-day protest in which inmates refused to leave their rooms until the authorities removed the cameras that were infringing on the privacy of inmates.
The Israeli authorities did not give in and the protest ended when she and the other protesting prisoners were transferred from HaSharon Prison to Damon Prison in Haifa.
“This prison barely functions as an environment for any sort of human life. The conditions were really difficult,” Jarrar said. “But we continued our protest against the imprisonment.”
In Damon, her family was allowed to visit twice a month for 45-minutes to speak to her by phone through bulletproof glass.
Jarrar was forced to shower in public, her books were confiscated and, at times, she was left in solitary confinement for days on end.
She said her imprisonment was one of many examples of the Israeli occupation’s disregard for human rights conventions and the impunity of their arbitrary detention of Palestinians.
491 Palestinians, including two women and two minors, were being held in administrative detention at the end of January 2019.
Less than two weeks out of prison, Jarrar says her focus remains on her work as a revolutionary.
She said it would not be stopped by her ordeal in an Israeli prison and the threat of being detained again.
“At the end of the day, I am a Palestinian and I will continue to point out the occupation’s violations,” Jarrar said. “I represent my people, people who suffer.
“I will not stop, of course, because I will defend my people.”