Prison service rejects nose job request from Palestinian bomber

Police officer who was injured when Israa Jaabis tried to blow herself up appealed to public security minister against funding procedure; IPS says treatment not critical for health

Israa Jaabis at the District Court in Jerusalem on November 7, 2016, for a sentencing hearing. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israa Jaabis at the District Court in Jerusalem on November 7, 2016, for a sentencing hearing. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israel Prisons Service decided against funding cosmetic nose surgery requested by a would-be Palestinian suicide bomber who was seriously injured when she tried to blow herself up, Hebrew media reported Tuesday.

Israa Jaabis had asked for the Prisons Service to grant the procedure saying the injuries she sustained in her attack prevented her from breathing through her nose, but a police officer who was injured in the explosion appealed to top officials against the move.

In a letter to injured officer Moshe Chen on Monday, the prison service said that medical treatments offered to prisoners, including to Jaabis, “would only be in provided in accordance with [its] obligations,” Hebrew media reported.

IPS guidelines only require it to provide treatment needed to maintain an inmate’s health and not for any cosmetic reasons, the Kan public broadcaster said, dismissing Jaabis’s claims that her surgery was needed for health reasons.

The prison service also denied media reports that it had even considered funding the operation, explaining that it must evaluate each request from an inmate as a matter of policy. It noted that the High Court of Justice had rejected a petition from Jaabis to force the prison service to cover the surgery.

Two weeks ago, Hebrew media reported that Jaabis had appealed to the High Court asking that the IPS pay for the treatment and that the prison service was considering her request.

Chen, who suffered burns to his face and chest, responded by sending a letter to Public Security Minister Omer Barlev and to Israel Prisons Service Commissioner Katy Perry urging against the funding.

Opposition MK Michal Woldiger of the far-right Religious Zionism party welcomed the reported IPS decision not to fund the procedure, saying in a statement it was “absurd” for the state to pay for the surgery, Israel Hayom reported.

“What next, hair transplants for terrorists?” she said. “The IPS did a good thing in rejecting the request and not being drawn into this disgrace.”

Jaabis was 31 in 2015 when she detonated a gas canister in her car after being pulled over by police near the Ma’ale Adumim settlement outside Jerusalem. She had been heading into Israel where she intended to carry out a suicide bombing, according to Israeli authorities.

The resulting fire caused burns to Chen’s face and chest and also seriously injured Jaabis.

Police and a forensic team at the scene of an attempted bombing near Ma’ale Adumim, just east of Jerusalem, on Sunday, October 11, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Following the attack, the Shin Bet security service said that Jaabis was found to be carrying handwritten notes expressing support for Palestinian “martyrs.” She was indicted on one count of attempted murder by the Jerusalem District Court and sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2016.

Jaabis has already had two previous operations to treat injuries to her hands, Kan reported.

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