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Israa Jaabis: Six years passed in Israeli jails while her burns still bleeding

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Today, October 11, 2021, the Palestinian mother prisoner Israa Jaabis has completed a total of six years behind Israeli prison bars although she requires urgent medical care.

Who’s Israa Jabbis?

Israa Jaabis, who on July 22 became 37 years old, was arrested on October 11, 2015 by Israeli occupation authorities, who accused her falsely of attempting to detonate a bomb in order to harm Israeli forces in front of al-Zayyim checkpoint in Jerusalem.

However, Jaabis and her family have said that she was in the process of moving house to retain her Jerusalem residency when a faulty cylinder of cooking gas burst into flames 500 metres from the checkpoint.

Jaabis, who has a 14-year-old son, was severely injured in the blaze, with 65 percent of her body burned, including major wounds on her face and hands.

After she was arrested, she was taken to Hadassah Medical Centre where eight of her fingers were amputated.

In 2017, she was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the central court in Jerusalem on charges of attempted murder.

She cannot lift her hands up all the way because her underarm skin is stuck together.

Her right ear is almost nonexistent and in a constant state of inflammation.

And her nose has a gaping hole on one side; she breathes mostly through her mouth.

She also suffers from nervous breakdowns, shock, and severe psychological crises.

Before the accident, Jaabis was working at a nursing home, volunteering her time at charities and schools, and dressing up as a clown to entertain the children at a hospital in the occupied Jerusalem.

Jaabis needs at least eight surgeries, including a skin graft around her right eye and facial reconstruction.

Israeli occupation provides her with an ointment for burns, which she uses up within three days, and painkillers.

“I cannot put burn dressing [on] as I find it hard to put it [on] myself,” she is quoted as saying in a letter she sent to her sister and lawyer that is being distributed on social media as part of a campaign calling to release her.

“I have dry eyes and I feel severe pain whenever I’m exposed to air or whenever I wash my eyes with water. My eyes need urgent treatment but no one listens.”

Despite Pressure, Israa Is Still Behind Bars

Palestinians and pro-Palestine activists have been launching several social media campaigns calling to release Jaabis from the Israeli jails. However, the occupation authorities didn’t respond or even take any move regarding her case.

The hashtag #SaveIsraa has been circulating social media, aiming to raise awareness and pressure the Israeli authorities to release her to get the required and necessary medical treatment.

Israa Is Not The Only Mother

Israa is not the only mother or woman held inside the Israeli jails and deprived of their families, children and an honorable life.

There are 39 Palestinian female prisoners held in Israeli jails, among them 9 mothers.

Palestinian women are usually held mainly in Hasharon and Damon prisons, both of these prisons are located outside the 1967 occupied territory, in direct contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an Occupying Power must detain residents of occupied territory in prisons inside the occupied territory.

In addition to the illegality of Israel’s practices under international law, the practical consequence of this system is that many prisoners have difficulty meeting with Palestinian defense counsel, and do not receive family visits as their attorneys and relatives are denied permits to visit on “security grounds”.

Moreover, both Hasharon and Damon prisons lack a gender-sensitive approach and, as such, women prisoners often suffer from harsh imprisonment conditions including medical negligence, denial of education, denial of family visits, including for mothers with young children, solitary confinement, overcrowded cells which are often filled with insects and dirt, and lack natural light.

Personal health and hygiene needs are rarely addressed by Israeli prisons authorities, even in cases involving the detention of pregnant women.

Moreover, the majority of Palestinian women prisoners are subjected to some form of psychological torture and ill-treatment throughout the process of their arrest and detention, including various forms of sexual violence that occur such as beatings, insults, threats, body searches, and sexually explicit harassment.

Upon arrest, women detainees are not informed where they are being taken and are rarely explained their rights during interrogation.

These techniques of torture and ill-treatment are used not only as means to intimidate Palestinian women detainees but also as tools to humiliate Palestinian women and coerce them into giving confessions. While Israel’s prison authorities and military forces recruit women soldiers to detain and accompany women prisoners during transfers, the female soldiers responsible for these procedures are no less violent towards Palestinian detainees than their male counterparts.

Since the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice in 2000, which focused in part on the special needs of women as criminal justice personnel, victims, offenders and prisoners, many studies have shown that women’s needs in prison deserve special attention from the United Nations, policy-makers, and practitioners. Among the set of needs specific to women prisoners, issues pertaining to health care require urgent attention, a right strategically denied by Israeli Prison Service (IPS).

A study conducted by Addameer in September 2008 revealed that approximately 38% of Palestinian female prisoners suffer from treatable diseases that go untreated.

The poor quality of food and lack of essential nutrients cause women detainees to suffer from weight loss, general weakness, anaemia and iron deficiency. They are also exposed to harsh treatment (such as routine practices of physical and psychological punishment and humiliation) from both male and female prison guards, who demonstrate little to no regard for their well-being or special needs, even when ill or pregnant.