During a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas, facilitated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, Israel released 39 Palestinians as part of a prisoner exchange program.
Among them was Israa Jaabis, a 37-year-old woman who had been in Israeli custody for eight years.
She was convicted of triggering a gas cylinder in her car at a checkpoint between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem, causing injuries to an Israeli police officer.
According to Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, they alleged that a traffic police officer observed Jaabis driving in the bus lane closely behind a police vehicle.
Shin Bet further claims that when a suspicious vehicle driven by Jaabis approached a checkpoint on the route to Jerusalem, the police signaled for her to stop.
Ms Jaabis exclaimed “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and activated an explosive device in her vehicle. Shin Bet also claims that handwritten notes were recovered from her person that voiced support for “Palestinian martyrs”.
The alleged car bombing resulted in injuries to both the Israeli police officer, Moshe Chen, and Israa Jaabis, leading to their transportation to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood.
Contrary to the Israeli claim of a car bombing attempt, Palestinian authorities challenge this narrative, asserting that Jaabis was innocent. According to them, she was carrying household items, including butane gas canisters for her kitchen.
The Palestinians argue that a mechanical failure in Jaabis’s car caused a fire that engulfed the butane canisters, trapping her inside the vehicle.
Born in 1984, Jaabis received an 11-year prison sentence in the same month as the incident.
Post-indictment, Jaabis emerged as a symbol of resistance for Palestinian liberation activists, with her partially burnt face featured in protests advocating for Palestinian independence.
In the latest development, she was among the first group of Palestinian prisoners released as part of the recently negotiated truce.
“I’m ashamed to talk about rejoicing when the whole of Palestine is wounded,” Ms Jaabis said as quoted by news agency AFP. “They must release everyone.”
This marks a notable Israel-Palestine prisoner exchange, comparable in significance to the event in 2011 when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for Gilad Schalit, an IDF soldier who had been seized by Palestinian militants close to the Israeli border.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES