Call to Action: Join the Campaign “Palestinian Women Behind Israeli Bars”


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Go in depth on the cases of #KhalidaJarrar  #KhitamAlSaafin  #IsraaJaabees  #ElyaaAbuHijleh:

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Thursday 29 April, 7pm Spanish Time (8pm Palestine):


“Palestinian Women Behind Israeli Bars”  

  • Since the beginning of the occupation, over 10,000 Palestinian women have been arrested and detained by Israeli occupation forces (IOF).
  • In the past year, and just like previous years, Palestinian women and girls are routinely arrested from the streets, Israeli military checkpoints, and during violent night raids on their homes.
  • By the end of March, 37 Palestinian women prisoners were held in Israeli prisons and detention centres, including mothers, injured and sick prisoners and administrative detainees held without charge or trial.
  • Palestinian women are subjected to many forms of physical and psychological ill-treatment throughout the processes of arrest, detention, interrogation and incarceration.
  • Israel, the Occupying power, continues to systemically and unlawfully deport Palestinian prisoners outside of the OPT. These transfers, unlawful under IHL, are  used as a tool to control prisoners and their families, creating “significant barriers to the families of prisoners”, according to the UN

Palestinian women in Israeli prisons represent all facets of society. In the prisons of the Occupying Power, there are women parliamentarians, teachers, students, activists, social and political leaders, feminists, journalists, mothers and daughters, merely for exercising their fundamental civil and political rights and voicing opposition against Israel’s colonization and apartheid regime, embodied in a myriad of unjust policies and measures against Palestinians.

No Palestinian is exempt from Israel’s policy of arbitrary arrest and detention, intimidation, punishment, threats, and even torture and ill-treatment while in custody, regardless of their gender or age. Israel has long employed different tactics to crush all forms of Palestinian nonviolent resistance and pursuit for the respect and exercise of basic human rights, including through arbitrary arrests and administrative detention.

Most Palestinians face trial in Israeli military courts, where the conviction rate is up to 99%   of those charged and where most forms of political expression and protest of Palestinian civil society are criminalized and prosecuted under Military Order 101 (issued by the Israeli military commander two months into the occupation, in August 1967). Activities such as organizing and participating in protests, assemblies, processions or vigils, waving flags and other political symbols, printing and distribution of political material and any act of influencing public opinion are considered “political incitement”. All forms of political organising, including political parties and student movements, are also criminalized and persecuted by Israel.

The Israeli occupation uses administrative detention (AD) as another policy to further impose control over Palestinians, and to maintain its illegal occupation and apartheid regime. Administrative detention is the arrest of a person without charge, based on secret information and for an indefinite period, making a fair trial with procedural guarantees impossible according to international standards, as neither the detainees nor their legal counsel are aware of the nature of the charges, impeding Palestinians ability to defend themselves.

440 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in administrative detention. The arbitrary use of AD is a serious violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, particularly articles 66, 72 and 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which provide protected persons with the right to fair trial unless “imperative security reasons” exist. Recognising its “promiscuous use” by the Israeli authorities, UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk recently issued a statement calling upon Israel to “abolish its practice of administrative detention, release those detainees it presently holds, and strictly follow international law in the application of its security operations”.

Palestinian female prisoners arbitrarily held in Israeli prisons and unjustly convicted by Israeli military courts are subjected to harsh living conditions, isolation, medical negligence, and continuous violation of their human rights contrary to international human rights and humanitarian laws.

4 Cases of “Palestinian Women Behind Israeli Bars”                          

Israel’s Criminalization of Political Activism: the case of Khalida Jarrar

Israel’s Persecution of Human Rights Defenders and Feminists: the case of Khitam Al-Saafin

Denying Palestinian Prisoners the Right to Medical Care: the case of Israa Ja’abees

Criminalising female Palestinian university students : the case of Elyaa Abu Hijleh

Call to Action

We call on the international community to denounce the situation of Palestinian prisoners, namely Palestinian women held arbitrarily and subject to Israel’s illegal policy of administrative detention. Israel must end its systemic practice of arbitrary detention and  persecution of Palestinian women; mothers, leaders, political activists, feminists and students of Palestine.

In this respect, we denounce the Israeli occupation’s ongoing and systemic violations of international law commited in Israeli prisons against Palestinian political prisoners, and call on the international community, namely the European Union, to urge Israel to:

  • Urge Israel to release all Palestinian political prisoners including Palestinian female prisoners and detainees, and end the persecution of female political leaders, activists of feminist and student movements, and women human rights defenders.
  • Demand Israel release of all Palestinian political prisoners placed under Israeli administrative detention, who are detained indefinitely without charge or trial, in contravention of international law.
  • Urge Israel to ensure the protection of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israel’s custody and      safeguard their rights to health, life and well-being, especially during a health emergency and pandemic, as guaranteed by provisions of international human rights and humanitarian law.
  • Unanimously condemn and in a public statement Israel’s practice of administrative detention against Palestinian human rights defenders and activists, such as Khitam Al-Saafin.
  • Take concrete measures, including by  breaking the European Union Association Agreement with Israel until Israel complies with its obligations under international law towards the protected Palestinian population, including Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israel’s custody.
  • Promote the effective and active participation of Palestinian women in countering/ending Israel’s prolonged occupation and in  peacebuilding process as dictated by UN Resolution 1325.

In addition, we call on civil society across Europe/the EU to:

  • Urge their national and local governments to reinforce the previously listed calls for action, demanding the release and protection of Palestinian prisoners, including women prisoners and those held in administrative detention;
  • Write a letter to the High Representative/Vice President Joseph Borrell and the EU Special Representative for the MEPP Susanna Terstal urging for action concerning the plight of Palestinian prisoners and against Israel’s systemic practice of administrative detention against Palestinians, including Palestinian women and human rights defenders; and calling for the release of all those held under administrative detention without trial or charge.