Ibrahim Jaber’s modesty made everyone respect him. People loved his courage and willpower and he was passionate about secrecy when necessary. He worked hard to make a living and provide for his family. Prisoner Ibrahim Fadel Nemir Jaber, Abu Fathi, is one of the heroes of the city of Hebron; he was detained by the Israelis on 8 January, 1982.
Born on 20 August, 1954, Ibrahim Jaber studied at the Ibrahimi Mosque school in Hebron, where he developed his understanding of the situation enveloping his country. This made him take part in resistance work, in secret, to avoid capture by the Israeli occupation forces post-1967. He travelled to Amman to join Fatah, where he was recruited by the Martyr Abu Jihad al-Wazir for military action.
Once married, he was blessed with three children; he worked as a plasterer to provide for his family. Despite the occupation, he refused to be humiliated.
His arrest was unexpected as he was not politically active. People were surprised when they heard what he had been charged with.
His wife was pregnant with their child when Ibrahim was sent to prison. They called the boy Faraj (relief) hoping that the Almighty would provide relief for the family through Ibrahim’s swift release. That, however, was not in his destiny and he is still behind bars serving three life sentences.
According to Ibrahim’s eldest son, Fathi, “In September of 1989, my father carried out an operation in Jaffa Street, in which he killed three Israelis and wounded about 26. In October the same year, he threw several grenades at Jewish worshippers at the Wailing Wall, wounding 15 settlers.”
After these operations, said Fathi, the Israeli occupation forces arrested his father. On 19 January 1982 he was detained but escaped two months later, only to be recaptured.
Following his re-arrest, the Israelis threw Ibrahim Jaber’s family out of their home and demolished it.
In 2001, the Israelis arrested Fathi and sent him to the Negev prison where his father is imprisoned. Ibrahim’s pain of being in prison was mixed with the joy of being able to be with his son. Fathi says: “Throughout this period, I lived with the care and tenderness of my father, of which I had been deprived since childhood. I was with him until my release in 2008. During those seven years with him, instead of me supporting and comforting him, it was he who supported me. He was optimistic that he would be released and used to ask me if I wanted him to do anything for my kids. But fate dictated that I was released early and I left my father behind. I was inspired by his patience and morale.”
Abu Fathi is one of the most respected Palestinians within the prisons and other prisoners ask him about historical, national Palestinian and global events.
Ibrahim Jaber starts each day with the dawn prayer and then works out until breakfast time. After breakfast, some prisoners watch the news and some read. Recreation time is followed by evening prayers and dinner. Prisoners can then read or discuss specific issues before going to sleep.
Fathi says that his father is putting a lot of hope on a prisoner exchange deal. He hopes that the resistance groups won’t fail old prisoners or exclude them from any deal, as has happened in the past.