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Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Opinion: Dissidents in Iran – and in Palestine

Why are Palestinians who attend weekly protest marches along the border fence less courageous or less justified than Iranian protesters?

by Gideon Levy   4 January 2018      Haaretz

Khalida Jarrar in the courtroom of the Ofer detention facility, in May.Khalida Jarrar in the courtroom of the Ofer detention facility, in May. AP

We must call a spade a spade. The Palestinians and the handful of Israelis who are struggling against the occupation are dissidents. That’s what they should be called. They are dissidents who oppose the regime. They are dissidents just like anyone who rises up against any tyrannical regime, and they deserve as much respect and appreciation as we’ve accorded dissidents throughout history, from Nelson Mandela to Andrei Sakharov; from Lech Walesa to Natan Sharansky.

The regime against which they are struggling and whose downfall they hope for is no less cruel than the tyrants against whom history’s most famous dissidents fought. This regime has no connection to the democracy that Israel is so proud of and that the world applauds. How can it be called a democracy if this is what’s going on in its own backyard?

Khalida Jarrar is a dissident, and the regime’s response to her just proves that we’re talking about an unbridled dictatorship. She’s a member of the Palestinian parliament, age 54, a mother of two daughters, a legislator who was chosen in democratic elections, and she’s being sent repeatedly to jail, generally without trial. Jarrar has never hurt a fly. She’s a political activist. The agents of darkness who are responsible for her incarceration know that. But Jarrar is a determined dissident, so her place is in jail, with or (mainly) without trial.