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

| Amira Hass pour Haaretz |

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’


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.