Palestinian Territory - The Israeli army bears full responsibility for the life and safety of Wafa Nayef Jarrar, who was arrested and detained for four hours in a dangerous area of violent clashes and whose life wasdeliberately exposed to grave danger. What Jarrar, age 49, was subjected to from the first moment of her arrest until her release reflects the repeated and systematic violations faced by Palestinians during their detention by Israeli forces, including arbitrary arrests, abuse, use as human shields, torture, and denial of medical care. The Israeli army continues to evade responsibility for the suffering and harm caused by its crimes and serious rights violations.

Jarrar was taken into custody by the Israeli army on 21 May from her home in Jenin, in the northern West Bank. The army later claimed that Jarrar had been seriously injured in an explosion while inside the military vehicle, where she was kept detained for four hours. Despite its claim, the army issued an administrative detention order against her before releasing and turning her over to the Palestinian Liaison Office, even though her health was in critical condition. This is a clear effort by Israel’s army to avoid taking responsibility for the serious injuriesJarrar sustained during her detention, which resulted in the amputation of her legs above the knees as well as damage to her spine and lungs, and to avoid its legal obligation to provide the necessary medical treatment.

Israel’s arrest of Jarrar was arbitrary from the start, as there was no legal basis to justify her detention. However, it comes as part of the Israeli army forces’systematic arbitrary arrests of individuals and groups of Palestinian men and women, wherever they arefound. During her detention, the Israeli army violently stormed Jarrar’s house, destroyed most of her family’sbelongings, and stole all of the money and gold jewelry that were inside. Jarrar’s family has not yet been able to retrieve any of these items. 

Instead of taking her to a detention or investigation centre, the Israeli army detained Jarrar in a military jeep for four hours in a dangerous area that waswitnessing the violent exchange of fire and detonation of explosive devices. This suggests that the Israeli army deliberately kept her in this area, despite knowing that it would put her at risk of death and/or injury. Furthermore, it seems that the Israeli army was attempting to take advantage of Jarrar’s presence in the vicinity of its military attack in Jenin in order to facilitate its military operations.

Jarrar, a mother of four, is a local activist, and the coordinator of the Association of Families of Martyrs and Prisoners of Jenin. Detained since 7 February 2024, her husband Abdul Jabbar Muhammad Ahmed Jarrar, 58, is serving a six-month administrative detention order. Notably, he has been arrested more than once and has spent a total of 16 years in Israeli jails. 

Hudhayfah Jarrar, Jarrar’s son, provided the following information to the Euro-Med Monitor team:

“On 21 May, after besieging our home and firing at the security cameras surrounding it as well as the neighbouring home, an Israeli force broke into our home. The soldiers violently stormed the house and demanded my mother’s ID card and gold before starting to destroy the house’s contents and turning it upside down. They were asking about the gold or any money and they started celebrating after finding it. After drawing the Star of David on [the walls of] each room and tampering with the closets and clothes, they chanted, ‘We will trample on you’. The soldiers then arrested my mother. One of the neighbour’s hiddencameras captured Israeli soldiers arresting and taking her into a military jeep at 6:25 p.m. 

In the [early hours of the morning], news began to circulate about a large explosion in Jenin that had injured a female soldier at 12 a.m. The news was later updated to say that it was a female Palestinian prisoner in the military jeep who was seriously injured and was transferred for treatment. She was the sole female prisoner arrested that day, and after verifying with multiple sources, her injury was confirmed at 2 a.m., at which point she was moved to the Rambam in Haifa. The next day in the morning, the Israeli army issued a statement about an explosion occurring in Jenin and the injury of a Palestinian female prisoner, denying any injuries among its soldiers. Later, her leg amputation was reported by the Israeli media. 

On 22 May, an attorney was allowed in the hospital as a strict military control was imposed on her. The medical staff was also threatened with arrest if they leaked any information or pictures of her. She was in critical care that evening when the lawyer saw her, but her condition was stable. We were told that she had injuries to both of her legs, but that her left leg had been saved, and that she would not need to have her leg amputated. She was also told that she would get a CT scan and [we were told] that she is currently still under anesthesia so that her body could heal and deal with the injury. After doing a CT scan the following day, they found a spinal injury and shrapnel in the abdomen, which they removed. They informed us about her leg injury on Monday 23 May. 

The hospital contacted us on the following day, Friday, informing us that Wafa Jarrar’s operation had failed and that the blood had not reached her legs. They requested that the family sign documents authorising the amputation of the legs. The family was shocked, especially after they said that she was in stable condition. After they refused to provide us with any medical reports, we requested that the family doctor or a family member check her condition. This problem persisted until we reached a breaking point, at which point the doctors warned us that if the amputation was not carried out, the patient would likely die from gangrene and blood poisoning. We signed the papers,and the operation was supposed to take place on Monday morning. When we sent the signed papers, they informed us that the right leg would be amputated below the knee and the left leg would be amputated above the knee, depending on the extent of the injury. After several hours of waiting, the attorneys finally saw her, and found out that the amputation would be below the knee. 

When she was undergoing the procedure, the Israeli authorities placed her under administrative detention for four months. Yesterday (Thursday), we were surprised by an Israeli decision to release her and disavow responsibility for her medical treatment. We spoke with all organisations that could provide assistance in this case, as well as a number of parties, including Doctors Without Borders, the Prisoners’Society, and the Prisoners’ Association. The Israelis insisted on moving her and denying any responsibility for her medical treatment, despite our demands from the very beginning for them to release her so we couldtake charge of her health situation and medical care,which they had refused. Our problem since the first day has been the Israeli narrative of the situation. 

On Thursday evening, we received her medical report and found that all the information in it was wrong. In addition to having both of her legs amputated above the knees, she also suffered from blood poisoning, a fracture in vertebral node no. 12(4) of the spine that could result in paralysis, and broken ribs from lung bruises. She was connected to a breathing machine, and we were unaware of the lung damage during her incarceration until yesterday. She was scheduled for an MRI on 23 May. It was evident that the hospital was affiliated with the army and that deliberate medical negligence had occurred, amid ongoing settler incitement. A protest was held at the hospital door, with settlers carrying her picture and demanding that she be removed from the hospital, slamming the Israeli Chief of Health for treating ‘terrorists’. 

We managed to get the papers ready for her transfer, but due to the lack of a treatment plan and the delay in receiving the papers, we requested that she be transferred to a doctor. We also told the media that, given her poor health and need for follow-up care, transferring her without a doctor would be considered an assassination attempt, because she had been in intensive care and was not conscious. Her family picked her up today, Thursday, at the Salem checkpoint. She was driven there in an ambulance by a doctor, and Palestinian medical personnel then took her to the Ibn Sina Hospital.” 

Jarrar’s arbitrary arrest, her hours-long detention inside a military jeep without being taken to an investigation centre, and her transfer to an area where clashes were occurring are indicative of the severity of the violations she was subjected to, particularly the Israeli army’s deliberate attempt to put her life and safety in danger. It seems that she was also used as a human shield, especially considering that the Israeli army haspreviously repeatedly used civilians, including children, as human shields during Jenin Camp and Balata Camp in Nablus raids.

In an effort to protect its forces and military operations in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army has been using Palestinian civilians as human shields, i.e. purposefullypositioning them in front of military targets and in key locations. During ground incursions and military attacks, the Israeli army has purposefully used Palestinian civilians to guard its forces’ assembly and movement points. It has also made them walk in front of military vehicles when it has stormed homes and buildings it believed were booby-trapped.

It is strictly forbidden to use civilians as human shields during armed conflicts because they are protected individuals under international humanitarian law, which is governed by written and customary rules, including those outlined in the Geneva Conventions and their First Protocol. According to the Rome Statute, using civilians as human shields is a war crime that falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Consequently, justice for all victims must be served and international judicial accountability for the perpetrators of these crimes must be initiated.

All of Jarrar’s experiences are examples of the Israelipolicy of torture and abuse to which Palestinian detainees, regardless of gender, are subjected, in addition to the denial of necessary and life-saving medical care and the disavowing of responsibility for these crimes. Despite this, the Israeli army is legally required to ensure the safety of those detained in its prison and detention centres. Therefore, it must fully commit to Jarrar’s medical care and compensate her for the harm she has endured. The way in which she was released suggests that her initial detention was unwarranted, and was simply part of Israel’s campaign of reprisal directed towards the Palestinian people.

Israel’s responsibility towards Wafa Nayef Jarrar and her medical treatment did not end once she was released. The international community must takeimmediate action to end to these crimes and hold the Israeli army accountable for all crimes it has committed against civilians throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israel remains fully responsible for the life of the released prisoner Jarrar, and the severe injuries she sustained as a direct result of the numerous crimes the Israeli army committed against her.