Graphic of the campaign to free Suha Jbara

Imprisoned Palestinian Suha Jbara has reportedly suspended her 27-day hunger strike after the Palestinian Authority ordered her case be transferred to the PA’s special criminal court in al-Khalil. Jbara, 30, from the village ofTurmusayya near Ramallah and also a Panamanian and U.S. citizen, has been detained by the PA since 3 November.

Similar to fellow Palestinian women imprisoned by Israel, she is accused of transferring money to support Palestinian prisoners and the families of martyrs. She is the mother of three children, all of whom are also U.S. citizens; according to her sister in New Jersey, she had been planning to move back to the U.S. after their most recent school year.  She continues to face unjust imprisonment and political charges: you can help to take action to urge her release.

According to her lawyer, Mohannad Karajah, Jbara was transferred to a hospital from the Palestinian Authority’s central prison in Jericho; her health has deteriorating as maintained a hunger strike since 22 November to demand her freedom. She was told that continuing her strike put her life at severe risk, and instead of being brought to court on 17 December, she was instead taken to a hospital. Her defense lawyers say that she will receive treatment to restore her health and attend court herself in a struggle to expose the truth and achieve justice. 

Suha Jbara’s three children. Photo: Quds News

Jbara is reportedly being accused of providing funds to support prisoners and the families of Palestinians killed by Israel, particularly those involved with Hamas; as there is no reason for Palestinians to be concerned by this activity, many have highlighted the imprisonment of Jbara as part of the PA’s “security coordination” with the Israeli occupation.

Despite the ongoing killings and mass arrests of Palestinians as well as calls from leading Palestinian bodies like the PLO’s Central Council to end the practice, security coordination has remained firmly in place. Indeed, as Jbara remained imprisoned, PA official Hussein al-Sheikh met with Nadav Argaman, head of the Israeli intelligence service, reportedly to discuss “toning down tension” in the occupied West Bank and maintaining coordination. 

On Friday, 14 December, one day after the killing of four Palestinians by occupation forces, PA security forces attacked several demonstrations in occupied Palestine, seeking to disperse them. Participants at a demonstration in al-Khalil were beaten and several journalists who witnessed and filmed the attack were detained for hours. PA security also attacked demonstrations in Ramallah and Nablus.  The demonstrations were supported by Hamas, marking the 31st anniversary of its founding as well as commemorating the Palestinians kileld the day before.

Karajah, Jbara’s lawyer,  said earlier that the arrest of Jbara, a mother of three, was not handled properly according to the PA’s own legal procedures. Her home was invaded and she was seized without even a search or arrest warrant being issued by the PA’s public prosecution. In addition, Jbara suffers from heart disease and was not given appropriate medical treatment despite being transferred several times to the hospital.

While the PA’s “security committee” was announced to be dismantled by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in June 2018, representatives of the purportedly dissolved committee were reportedly present at Jbara’s interrogation. After all of these extralegal actions, the PA’s public prosecution then retroactively declared that she had, in fact, been arrested at the behest of its orders and that it was continuing a criminal investigation. 

It should be noted that the PA’s Jericho prison has become infamous for the detention of political prisoners, particularly those imprisoned as part of security coordination with the Israeli occupation. The most well-known of these are imprisoned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Ahmad Sa’adat and his comrades Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Majdi Rimawi, Basil al-Ahmar and Hamdi Qur’an, as well as Fuad Shobaki. All of them were seized by the Israeli occupation when it attacked the Jericho prison in a prearranged agreement with British and U.S. guards in 2006, claiming it feared that the PA would release these political prisoners after that year’s Palestinian Legislative Council election.

Jbara has received little help from the U.S. consulate, Suha’s sister Khadija Jbara told northjersey.com. She said that despite a visit from the consulate, nothing had changed for her sister. 

Amnesty International reported on the brutal conditions of her interrogation after representatives from the organization met her in Jericho prison on 4 December. She reported being dragged, barefoot, from her hospital bed after she had a seizure and lost consciousness at the time of her arrest. She slept on the floor of a van as they took her to the PA’s interrogation center in Jericho.

Jbara said that a male interrogator threw water in her face after she asked for a drink and that she was slapped, punished and threatened with violence. Throughout her interrogation, she was blindfolded and handcuffed, denied water and access to the toilet, Amnesty reported. She was also repeatedly threatened with sexual violence in an attempt to induce her compliance. 

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges the immediate release of Suha Jbara and the dropping of all charges against her. Her imprisonment and torture has clearly come in the context of PA security coordination with Israel, illustrating once more how dangerous it is to the Palestinian people. We urge Palestinians and supporters of Palestine around the world to take action to help support her release.

It is critical that official Palestinian institutions hear from Palestinian communities in diaspora and exile and from friends of the Palestinian people in support of Suha Jbara and against security coordination.

We urge you to CALL the Palestinian Mission to the United Nations at +1 212 288-8500 and EMAIL the mission at palestine@un.int.

  • Tell the mission that you are calling as a supporter of Palestine or as a Palestinian and your location, regarding the case of Suha Jbara, detained in Jericho in the occupied West Bank.
  • Tell the mission that you are urging the immediate release of Suha Jbara and the dropping of all charges against her.
  • Tell the mission that PA security coordination with Israel only hurts the Palestinian people, especially while Palestinians are facing Israeli extrajudicial assassinations, home demolitions and mass arrests on a daily basis.

We also urge you to CALL the office of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah at + 970 229 68989, or EMAIL the office at info@pmo.gov.ps. Please emphasize the same points above and the importance of the immediate release of Suha Jbara.