Israel accused of releasing Palestinian detainee with amputated legs to evade treatment

Wafaa Jarrar has been severely wounded in an explosion during her arrest in Jenin last month

Fayha Shalash

Wafaa Nayef Zuhdy Jarrar, 49, has sustained serious wounds following her arrest by Israeli forces last week (Arab48)
Wafaa Nayef Zuhdy Jarrar, 49, has sustained serious wounds following her arrest by Israeli forces last week (Arab48)

Israeli prison authorities have released a wounded Palestinian detainee soon after her arrest to evade responsibility for her serious medical condition, her family and a rights group told Middle East Eye.

Wafaa Jarrar, 49, was violently detained by the Israeli army during an incursion into Jenin in the occupied West Bank on 21 May.

An explosive device hit the military vehicle transferring Jarrar to the al-Jalama military camp near Jenin, causing severe wounds in her legs, according to the Israeli army.

The circumstances of the explosion remain unknown, and no further details have been announced by the Israeli army about the incident.

While in detention, Jarrar underwent the amputation of her legs in the Israeli Afula Hospital, and during that time, an Israeli court issued a decision to transfer her to administrative detention for a period of four months, subject to renewal.

After several tests, it was found that Jarrar had suffered other injuries, including one in the spine and lungs, so Israel announced her immediate release and transfer from Afula hospital to hospitals in the occupied West Bank, which her family considered a renunciation of treatment.

She is currently at the intensive care unit at Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin.

Her husband, Abdul Jabbar Jarrar, had been in Israeli custody since February and is not aware of his wife’s condition.

Home ransacked

Huthaifa Jarrar, her son, told Middle East Eye that the storming of the house was “brutal”.

“The soldiers deliberately smashed the furniture, vandalised the contents, and painted the Star of David on the walls,” he said. “They also shouted at my mother several times, demanding that she hand over any sum of money she had.”

“When the soldiers didn’t find any money, they stole her gold jewellery and celebrated inside the house, chanting racist slogans,” he added.

‘Israel is the direct cause of Jarrar’s serious health condition and bears full responsibility for her subsequent fate’

– Amani Sarahneh, Prisoners’ Club

The son said that then the soldiers detained his mother and prevented her from changing her clothes, so she was forced to go out in her prayer outfit.

“She was transferred to the military vehicle and the conditions were unstable throughout Jenin due to the Israeli incursion, then a strong explosion was heard and we didn’t know that my mother had been injured until several hours later,” he said.

Israeli authorities are usually secretive about the health conditions of prisoners.

Jarrar’s lawyer was able to visit her the day after her arrest, but according to her son, the army threatened the medical staff not to leak information about Jarrar’s injuries. The lawyer assured the family that her legs had not been amputated and that she was about to undergo surgery.

However, two days later, the family received a call from the hospital informing them that she would undergo amputation of her legs due to the failure of the surgery. 

A CT scan showed that she also had a severe injuy in her spine and shrapnel in her abdomen.

The Israeli army vehicle where Jarrar was being transferred, pictured after the explosion on 21 May 2024 (supplied)
The Israeli army vehicle where Jarrar was being transferred, pictured after the explosion on 21 May 2024 (supplied)

The family was shocked and tried to obtain permits to visit her or bring in a Palestinian doctor to examine her, but to no avail.

Then they were surprised by the decision to release and transfer her from the hospital without any medical follow-up from the doctors supervising her condition.

‘Israel is guilty of medical negligence against my mother’

– Huhaifa Jarrar

The family also tried to keep her in hospitals inside Israel, but Israel insisted on transferring her to the occupied West Bank.

“Israel is guilty of medical negligence against my mother and didn’t give her the necessary examinations or scans from the beginning, and there was incitement against her from settler groups because of her presence in Afula hospital,” Huthaifa said.

Upon her release, the Israeli authorities didn’t attach any medical papers or treatment plan. The family holds Israel responsible for any complications that might occur to her as a result of her direct transfer from intensive care.

It turned out that Wafaa also suffers from fractures in her rib cage and bruises in her lungs, but according to her son, the only story of what happened to her is the Israeli army’s version, which the family doubts, especially since the explosion occurred four hours after her arrest.

Amani Sarahneh, the spokesperson of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, also cast doubt on the Israeli version about the incident, particularly due to the lack of any further information about what happened to other soldiers in the armoured vehicle that was hit by the explosion.

She pointed out that the information provided to the Prisoners Club from the Israeli side was insufficient. 

“After Jarrar arrived at Ibn Sina Hospital, we were surprised that her health condition was much worse than the description we had received about her health condition,” she added.

Sarahneh accused Israel’s prison authority of attempting to dodge responsibility for Jarrar’s condition by releasing her from administrative detention before completing her treatment.

“It is a complex crime against Wafaa,” Sarahneh told MEE. “It is very rare to reverse such a decision for any Palestinian prisoner, which means that Israel understands Wafaa’s serious health condition.”

“Israel is the direct cause of Jarrar’s serious health condition and bears full responsibility for her subsequent fate.”

‘We won’t leave her alone’

Jarrar, a mother of four, is known in her city of Jenin for her extensive social work, especially with the mothers of Palestinians killed by Israel, known in the community as “the martyrs”.

Many of them gathered outside Jarrar’s hospital room waiting for her to regain consciousness. 

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Abeer Ghazawi, whose sons Muhammad and Basil were executed by Israeli soldiers disguised as medics at Ibn Sina Hospital in January, said she was grateful to Jarrar for supporting her during her ordeal.

“She came to my house and spoke to me about patience, and the effect of her words was like a medicine that heals wounds. The mothers of the martyrs were very saddened by what happened to her,” she added.

“We will not leave her alone, and we will stay by her side to help her as she helped us.”

As of the beginning of May, the Prisoners Club said that Israeli prisons hold an estimated 9300 Palestinian prisoners, including more than 3400 administrative detainees. 

Since 7 October, Israeli forces have arrested more than 8825 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, including 295 women.

Ramallah, occupied West Bank

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