Israa al-Jaabis, 37 years-old, has spent seven years in Israeli prisons, during which she has experienced severe health problems, as exacerbated by deliberate medical negligence of the Israeli authorities.
Israeli occupation forces arrested Israa al-Jaabis after her car caught fire. Due to the fire, she suffered first, second and third degree burns on 50% of her body and lost eight of her fingers. The burns left severe scarring on her face and back.
Jaabis has not received the necessary treatment to relieve her pain, and has suffered severe infections throughout her time in prison.
At the time of her arrest, Jaabis was in her second year of college in Beit Hanina, in East Jerusalem (or al-Quds, as it is known in Arabic), specializing in special education needs (SEN) teaching. At the time, Jaabis was a careworker with the elderly. She is married, and has an eight-year-old son.
On 11 October 2015, Jaabis was travelling from Jericho, in the occupied West Bank, to her workplace in al-Quds. Having recently moved houses, she was transporting various household possessions, including a gas canister and TV.
As Jaabis arrived at the village of al-Zayyim, near the illegal Israeli Ma’ale Adumim settlement, the driver-side airbag exploded, igniting the car. Jaabis managed to exit the car, and requested that the Israeli police forces present call an ambulance. However, instead of calling for aid, they requested more police and other security personnel.
Initially, police announced that it was a normal traffic accident, though the Hebrew-language media represented the incident as an attempted attack on Israeli soldiers. However, investigators subsequently confirmed that the explosion was of the car’s airbag, not the gas canister.
Jaabis was arrested and initially held in hospital due to her critical health condition.
Court deliberations lasted for a year. In October 2016, Jaabis was sentenced to 11 years in prison and a fine of 50,000 shekels for attempted murder. The occupation has since withdrawn her access to health insurance, and prevented family visits, including that of her son, on several occasions.
Approximately 4,850 Palestinians are currently held across 23 prisons and detention centers. They include 225 minors, 41 women, and 520 “administrative detainees”, or prisoners held by military order without trial.