When Israel arrested Ahed Tamimi, a convicted criminal, it made headlines around the world. However, when a Palestinian woman who is currently on a hunger strike in a Palestinian jail, is being routinely tortured by Palestinian security personnel, the world is silent.
Suha Jbara is a name you will not be familiar with. Unlike Ahed Tamimi, there is very little written about her in the Western media. In fact, at the point of writing this article, her story has only been covered in Israeli media outlets and few others.
Suha Jbara is a social justice activist. She holds Palestinian, American and Panamanian citizenship and is the primary carer for three children. She works to support the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. By all accounts, she should be a key ally of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel and “human rights” activists around the globe. She is one of them after all. Yet, they ignore her plight as she is tortured, emotionally and physically, and denied her basic human rights inside a Palestinian jail.
Surprisingly, it is Amnesty International, an organisation that is known for its anti-Israel stance that has helped to shed light on Jbara’s plight.
Amnesty International met with Suha Jbara in prison on 4 December and gained first-hand testimony detailing her brutal treatment at the hands of her interrogators.
According to Suha Jbara, she was interrogated for three consecutive days during which she alleges she was tortured by several male interrogators. She told Amnesty International that she was severely beaten on her chest and back, shaken and slammed against the wall, and threatened with sexual violence. “He insulted me all the time, used very dirty and violent sexual language, threatened to bring a doctor to look into my virginity saying that I was a whore, and threatened to hurt my family and to take my kids away from me,” Suha Jbara told Amnesty.
Jbara is accused of “collecting and distributing money in illegal ways,” a charge which she denies.
Saleh Higazi, the deputy director for Amnesty in the Middle East and North Africa, released two statements on the situation regarding Jbara.
“Suha Jbara has described her torture in harrowing detail. In her testimony she gives an account of ruthless interrogators who have shamelessly flouted Palestine’s obligations to treat prisoners humanely and violated the absolute prohibition under international law of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” said Saleh Higazi’s statement.
“The Palestinian authorities must urgently carry out an independent and impartial investigation into these allegations. Any officials identified as responsible must be immediately suspended, prosecuted and brought to justice,” the statement said.
“Instead of punishing her for embarking on a hunger strike, which is a legitimate form of protest, the Palestinian authorities must immediately take steps to ensure that Suha Jbara is guaranteed a fair trial and that she is protected from torture,” Higazi demanded.
Amnesty International also called on international donors to review their assistance to the Palestinian security sector in order to ensure that it is not facilitating human rights violations and adheres to international standards.
The World’s Double Standards
The world is silent when the Palestinians carry out human rights abuses against their own people. By contrast, when Israel arrests criminals, the media spreads this news far and wide.
Ahed Tamimi was filmed repeatedly attacking Israeli soldiers and is on film calling for Palestinians to carry out stabbings, suicide bombings and other terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Despite all this, the media and anti-Israel activists painted her as an innocent victim and accused Israel of numerous false actions, from torture to human rights abuses. None of these things were true, but that did not stop them from being spread around the world.
In reality, Ahed Tamimi, was given a lawyer, a fair trial in court, was allowed to continue her education inside prison and was released after she had served her sentence (Suha Jbara has been given none of these things). When released Tamimi spoke to Arab media channels about Israel’s alleged “abuses”, which were nothing but lies.
How do we know this? Because Tamimi has said so herself.
After her stint in prison, Ahed Tamimi was interviewed by RT where she was asked what she did in prison. She appears to have momentarily forgotten her anti-Israel narrative, replying, “I did a lot of things: a legal course, we spent a lot of time on that, and matriculation exam studies; I read books,” Tamimi shared. “We would sing; we even had joint breakfasts of the entire wing – we would go outside, every room would bring its things, and we would eat together. We also ate lunch together most of the time.”
“We also had parties; we would sit and sing, and dance. There were a lot of things that we did to pass the time: We watched TV, for example, we jumped around in the rooms and did silly things,” Tamimi says of her “hard time” in prison. Tamimi also came out of prison 20lbs heavier, with her weight gain being very noticeable in pictures.
Tamimi’s arrest, trial, imprisonment and release were all covered by international media stations, from the BBC to CNN and everyone left, right and centre of those channels. And the lies and accusations against Israel were spread around the world. Tamimi is now an icon of Palestinian resistance who has been immortalised by those who claim to love the Palestinian people. The reality is that Tamimi, like so many others, is simply a tool to be used to demonise Israel.
You see, if so-called “human rights activists” truly cared about the Palestinian people, they would call out all abuses of the Palestinians.
They would condemn Hamas, for example, for its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people in Gaza. They would call out Egypt for its “blockade” of Gaza. They would condemn the United Nations for funding educational programmes that incite children to terrorism and keeps them locked in a cycle of violence. They would speak out for Palestinian Christians whose numbers are in rapid decline, not because of Israel, but because of Islamic extremism within Palestinian society. And they would condemn the Palestinian Authority for brutally torturing a young Palestinian woman and denying her her basic human rights.
Unfortunately, the world does not care about the Palestinian people. It only cares about demonising Israel and using Palestinians in order to do this. Until the world starts caring more for the Palestinians more than it hates Israel, the plight of the Palestinians will continue. We can only pray that people will listen and that the truth will be spread far and wide. For the sake of both Israel and the Palestinians.