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Jordanian-Palestinian Woman on 9th Day of Hunger Strike in Israeli Prison

A young Jordanian woman of Palestinian descent has been illegally detained by Israeli forces and is currently on her 9th day of a hunger strike. The Western media would have been expected to have picked this story up, but unfortunately there is deafening silence. 

On the 20th of August, Israel detained 24 year old Heba al-Labadi, on the King Hussein Bridge, whilst on the way to attend a family wedding in the West Bank city of Nablus. Heba is a Jordanian citizen and of Palestinian descent, she was travelling with her mother at the time of her detainment.

The Israeli authorities have offered no explanation as to why Heba was detained and sentenced her to 5 months in administrative detention. Administrative detention is essentially being held without charge or trial. Israel has the ability to detain Palestinians indefinitely if it so chooses.

Reports have also surfaced, claiming that Heba, who is being kept in Petah Tikva Israeli intelligence detainment centre, has been subjected to various forms of torture. Heba’s family were also forbade access to a hired lawyer.

The times of Israel reported, upon statements made by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, that a Jordanian diplomat in Israel had visited Labadi, in order to “provide support”.

Sufyan Qudah, a spokesperson for Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has stated on several occasions that Jordan is working to ensure the freedom of its recently detained citizens. Yet it seems to have been to no avail.

Hatem al-Labadi, Heba’s brother spoke to the al-Mamlaka news outlet of his sister’s detainment, stating that Israel had not given the family any specifics as to why Heba was detained, only stating that her arrest was due to “security reasons”. Hatem explained that his sister has a Palestinian Authority issued I.D., meaning that despite her Jordanian citizenship, she is placed under Israeli occupation rule when entering the West Bank.

The young 24 year old woman holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has previously worked in the United Arab Emirates. Now she remains in an Israeli jail cell and relies on pressure applied to the Israeli government to ensure her release.

Heba has for 8 days been on a hunger strike, in protest of her detainment, joining Ahmad Ghannam (42yrs old) who was diagnosed with cancer and has been on hunger strike for over 80 days and also Tarek Ghaddan (46 years old) who has been on hunger strike for more than 60 days.

According to the latest statistics released at the end of January, 2019, by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem a total number of 413 Palestinians were held in Israeli administrative detention alone.

A lack of action

This case seems to represent well the value that is placed upon a Palestinian life internationally. 

In Heba al-Labadi we have a clear case of the abuse of a young woman’s life. She has been kidnapped for no stated reason, she has been reportedly abused and she has not been granted the rights that any human-being is supposed to be whilst detained.

Despite being a Jordanian citizen, she is allowed by Jordan’s lack lustre action against Israel to be held as if she was an animal. 

King Abdullah of Jordan recently spoke at the United Nations General Assembly on the basic human rights that he urged be respected of the Palestinian people, yet he is not looking to intervene over a woman who was sitting in an Israeli jail cell at the very moment he delivered his speech.

Often women’s rights groups in West will do great work on campaigns for women abused by the state, but it seems like there are no women’s rights groups in the West that are yet to develop a campaign for the likes of Heba and other Palestinian women who currently strive for their freedom.

Whether it is the devaluing of Palestinians lives, because they are not of a specific origin or just a general lack of care all together, the sad reality is that if the world continues to allow Israel to get away with this type of action, it will.

If the United Nations and Human Rights Organizations also refrain from acting against Israel for these types of violations of human rights, Israel will not change and these international organizations may as well not even exist.

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Author Robert Inlakesh is a special contributor to 21WIRE and European correspondent for Press TV. He has reported from on the ground in occupied Palestine. See more of his work here.

READ MORE PALESTINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Palestine Files

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