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Palestinian woman with severe burns faces medical neglect in Israel jail

Palestinians protest in solidarity with Israa Jaabis, held prisoner by Israel, in the West Bank city of Hebron on 16 January.

A Palestinian woman left disfigured by an Israeli attack on her car is facing medical neglect in prison, exacerbating the severity of her injuries, according to the Palestinian Information Centre.

Thirty-two-year-old Israa Jaabis from Jerusalem has complained of the systematic medical negligence she has been made to endure in Israel’s Hasharon women’s prison, after being denied a burn soothing kit and painkillers. Following a prison visit, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Society said that Jaabis urgently needed to undergo cosmetic surgeries to her hands, ears, face and teeth to fix severe deformity.

Jaabis was detained by Israeli forces in October 2015 after the mother-of-one’s car exploded after a cooking gas canister she was transporting caused a fire in her car, leaving her with severe burns all over her body. Israel accused her of purposefully attempting to blow up her car and sentenced her to 11 years in jail on charges of attempted murder, imprisoning her before her treatment had been completed.

Eight of Jaabis’ fingers were amputated after they melted as a result of the burns and she breathes mostly through her mouth due to a gaping hole in her nose. She also suffers from nervous breakdowns, shock and severe psychological problems, intensified by her imprisonment.

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Before the accident, Jaabis worked at a nursery and volunteered at hospitals and schools, often dressing up as a clown to entertain children.

Jaabis’ family have denied that she sought to blow the car up. Palestinian human rights group Addameer have also corroborated that her car exploded as a result of a fault in the gas cylinder she was carrying.

“The Israeli version is that she tried to blow up her car at the checkpoint, but how could that be the case when the windows of the car were all intact?” said Mona Jaabis, Israa’s sister. “The exterior of the car did not even change colour. And if there was an explosion, Israa would have been blown up with it into many pieces.”

Whilst the prison used to allow Jaabis access to some medication, her recent requirements for painkillers have not been fulfilled, despite her family offering to pay for the necessary treatment. She has also not been permitted visits from her ten-year-old son as he does not have a Jerusalem ID because his father is from the occupied West Bank.

At an appeal in January, which was postponed until further notice, Jaabis protested her treatment at the hands of Israel authorities.

“Is there a pain greater than this? The pain is visible, and I don’t receive treatment,” she declared. “I have no fingers. I have been here for two years. I don’t see any justification for why I am here in prison.”

Data: Israel arrested more than 600 Palestinians in May

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