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'Want to know what I'm accused of? Me too.'

Hiba al-Labadi has been on hunger strike for 35 days after being imprisoned by Israel since August without trial. Now Palestinian and Israeli activists are trying to raise awareness about the case.

Hiba al-Labadi, who has been in Israeli administrative detention since August. (Courtesy)

Hiba al-Labadi, who has been in Israeli administrative detention since August. (Courtesy)

Palestinian and Israeli activists launched a viral campaign on Sunday demanding the release of a Jordanian citizen who has been on hunger strike for the past month after being imprisoned by Israel without trial since August.

Hiba al-Labadi, a 24-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian national, was detained by Israeli forces on August 20th at the Allenby Bridge border crossing while traveling from Jordan with her mother to a wedding in the West Bank city of Jenin. Her arrest was reportedly related to meetings she allegedly had with Hezbollah affiliates during a previous visit to Beirut, where she was visiting her sister.

Al-Labadi has been on hunger strike for 35 days.

On Sunday, activists in Israel launched a 30-hour long protest action in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square during which several women sat handcuffed to a chair inside a transparent box meant to resemble al-Labadi’s interrogation cell. The action caused passersby to stop and take photos of the display, with several of them calling the police to report an “elderly woman tied to a chair.” Two officers arrived on the scene to look into the complaints.

Administrative detention is a practice which Israel uses to detain Palestinians (and occasionally some Jews) without charge or trial — indefinitely. Administrative detention orders are reviewed every six months, but the detainees are not told of what crimes they are being accused or shown the evidence against them. The result is that it is virtually impossible to defend oneself against an administrative detention order.

An Israeli activist part in a protest action against the administrative detention of Hiba Al-Labadi, a Jordanian-Palestinian who has been in Israeli custody without charge since August, October 27, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli activist part in a protest action against the administrative detention of Hiba al-Labadi, a Jordanian-Palestinian who has been in Israeli custody without charge since August, October 27, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

“This is a young woman who has been imprisoned since August with no indictment and no one in Israel is talking about it,” said Sigal Avivi, a prominent political activist and one of the organizers of the initiative. According to Avivi, the activists decided to take action after reading about both the torture al-Labadi faced and harsh conditions in which she is being held. Avivi said al-Labadi’s arrest was also an opportunity to strengthen the protests against the practice of administrative detention. “We can no longer be silent. Time and time again we see Israel use this tool, which is in violation of international law.”



Over the weekend, activists in Israel launched an internet campaign that included a photo of al-Labadi with the caption “Have you heard of me?” in Arabic and Hebrew, in order to draw attention to her administrative detention. The Hebrew-language Facebook page that provides information about her arrest and the struggle to release her has been shared hundreds of times since its launch.

Al-Labadi will be brought before Ofer Military Court for a hearing on her administrative arrest on Monday. Activists plan to hold a protest vigil outside the courthouse.

On Saturday, dozens of Palestinians demonstrated on Salah a-Din Street in East Jerusalem, demanding the Israeli army release al-Labadi. The police forcefully dispersed the crowd and arrested two protesters, while officers were filmed throwing the demonstrators to the ground and sitting on them during the arrests. Activestills photographer Faiz Abu Rmeleh was manhandled by an officer while filming the clashes.

Attorney Juwad Bolous, who visited al-Labadi during detention, said that since her arrest she has been interrogated for 16 days straight without being allowed to see her lawyer. Most of the interrogations lasted hours, taking place as she was handcuffed and tied to a chair. According to Bolous, the interrogators cursed at and spit on her, threatening to arrest her sister and her mother. “All the means of torture and oppression were used to force her to sign a damning confession. But despite the cruel investigation, she did not confess,” Bolous wrote over the weekend.

Al-Labadi rejects the accusations against her, which were not made public aside from a statement by the Shin Bet, according to which she was arrested under “severe security circumstances.” The Shin Bet statement hints that she was arrested for posts she published on her private Facebook page, which expressed support for Hezbollah as well as violent attacks in the West Bank.

According to reports by Palestinian journalists, al-Labadi was transferred from Jalma Prison to a hospital in Haifa for treatment, but was remanded in custody soon thereafter.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Al-Labadi’s age. It has been amended to reflect that she is 24 years old.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    1. Bruce Gould

      Partial comparison between the U.S. and Israeli justice systems: First off, in the U.S. being imprisoned without charges or trial – for citizens OR noncitizens – would be considered outrageous. Here in the U.S. most people convicted of terrorism have been tried in Federal civilian criminal courts, not secret military courts –

      “Federal civilian criminal courts have convicted more than 660 individuals on terrorism-related charges since 9/11. Military commissions have convicted only eight…”


      Reply to Comment
    2. itshak Gordine

      But finally, if she has had contacts with Hezbolla that aims to destroy the state of Israel, it is absolutely normal that our security services take care of her. In Israel, it’s like that. I do not understand that people can be offended. The safety of our children comes first even if it is temporarily at the expense of some.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        We have seen elsewhere in these pages what false charges get trumped so that even Peter Beinart could be accused at Ben Gurion of doing such things as meeting with “Hezbollah affiliates” because a “Hezbollah affiliate” is anyone who opposes the occupation and is Arab or Persian. Beinart was an American Jew so the thugs went easy on him. But the thugs of the intelligence services have no such compunctions about more defenseless people. We have seen what they did to the poet Dareen Tatour. We have seen what they have done, including torture, to any number of unjustly accused people, all of them basically political prisoners.

        “…it is absolutely normal that our security services take care of her. In Israel, it’s like that. I do not understand that people can be offended…”

        In this language we see revealed the cold amoral fanatic. We have absolutely no illusions about you and those like you. We know that there is absolutely no conversation to be had, that there is no point in engaging in any kind of rational discussion of distinctions, nuances, context, legitimate resistance, etc. to a person who is sure that any and all resistance, violent and non-violent, is to be put down with whatever it takes. It is convenient to hide behind the “Hezbollah” bogey man but we know that you equally support brutal repression of those who resist the occupation peacefully. We know that you think settlers beating olive pickers and rabbis with crow bars is just an “unfortunate mishap.” We know that force will be necessary, as it is with an fanatic apocalyptic cult.

        Yes, we know that you cannot fathom the woman who sat handcuffed to a chair inside a transparent box, just as you cannot understand the Jewish woman of “Mothers Against Holot” seen here in the picture captioned “An activist with “Mothers Against Holot” holds a sign….”:

        Provide asylum seekers with heaters, rights groups demand in court

        Reply to Comment
        • Dan Kelso

          Ben must not know.
          Hamas and Hezbollah recruit children for terror activity

          In 2001 after a Palestinian homicide bomber massacred 20 Israeli teens at the
          Discotech massacre in Tel Aviv.
          In response to this attack Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah congratulated the Islamic Jihad leaders for this attack

          Daniel Carmon who lost his wife in the Israeli embassy bombing in Argentina in 1992 when Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists blew up the Israel embassy and murdered over 80 civilians in Argentina.
          Daniel Carmon has great message for Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists.

          Today & every day we remember our beloved Eli (Eliora) Carmon, my wife mother of our five kids. She was murdered by Terrorists who attacked & destroyed our Embassy in Buenos Aires under instructions from Iran on 17.3.1992. RIP 7thMarchMassacre WillNotForget WillNotForgive

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Do not condescend to and patronize me by teaching me what Hezbollah is about. None of it excuses this woman being the subject of clandestine rendition, held without charges or trial, and tortured. None of it excuses the Shin Bet’s basement torture chamber abuse abuse of people that it justifies by using a term it can apply to anyone who opposes the occupation: “Hezbollah affiliates.” And “having meetings” “with affiliates.” You have tried to apply a heavy dose of emotionalism and victimology here, aging 18 and 27 years now, to distract from every main point of the article. One of your sites says it is concerned that “children who work for terrorist organizations are exposed to high-level violence and exploitation.” The Palestinian children routinely kidnapped by Israel and held in indefinite detention are “children who are exposed to high-level violence and exploitation.” Doesn’t concern you one bit, does it?

            Reply to Comment
          • Duh

            Haganah recruited minors into a Youth Battalion (Gadna – Hebrew acronym) who, among other things, dug anti-tank trenches in Jerusalem during 1948 (see Hebrew wiki page on Gadna).

            Irgun also recruited teenagers:

            During the Yishuv rebellion against the British children would confront soldiers who stormed kibbutzim to make arrests (see Anonymous Soldiers 281). Israel’s apologists have no business getting self-righteous on this point.

            Reply to Comment
          • “A people which fights the usurpation of its land will not tire easily.” -David Ben-Gurion

            Reply to Comment
          • Duh

            Like much of what Ben-Gurion said, the full context for that quote is a masterpiece of double-speak con-artistry.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Doctor Lou

      Many questions, not the least of which is what was she talking to Hezbollah about?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Dan Kelso

      Ben, you mentioned Peter Beinart.

      Peter Beinart is so radical he tried to show his hatred towards Sheldon Adelson not supporting BDS Jihadists after Jews were murdered in the Pittsburgh Synagogue.
      The best response to Beinart

      At least you could have waited until they cleaned the blood from the floor of the synagogue

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        When I see someone saying that the thoroughly decent Peter Beinart is “so radical” I know we are down a far right rabbit hole wherein any effective opposition to right wing extremist Israel is deemed “radical” and the intent is to normalize right wing extremism and pathologize ordinary democratic, liberal center-leftism. By a sleight of hand maneuver like yours. If I were Peter Beinart, every time I hear someone call me “radical” I would substitute for “radical” the words “effective and honest and so we have to demonize him.” That you think “the best response” to Peter Beinart (and what he really said, not the distorted version you offer) is “at least you could have waited until they cleaned the blood from the floor of the synagogue,” says a whole lot about you not Peter Beinart.

        Reply to Comment
      • carmen

        You know hasbara is desperately seeking relevancy when they accuse Peter Beinart of being ‘radical’. ;^p Also attempt to change the language we use. Peter Beinart is not ‘radical’, but as the young folks say, Peter Beinart is finally ‘woke’. #HASBARAFAIL

        Reply to Comment
    5. She must have trial before going to jail it’s not fair this beautiful girl all alone.
      only god knows what they do for her there.
      I hope they release her soon.

      Reply to Comment
    6. average american

      Isn’t Hezbolla a democratically elected government?

      Reply to Comment
    7. average american

      Isn’t holding someone without charge a sign of totalitarianism, reminding us of Stalin and Mao? Or are just to bow our heads and look away again because it is the almighty Israel doing it?

      Reply to Comment