Israeli forces kill four in West Bank

Relatives mourn over the body of Yasir al-Masri, an Islamic Jihad commander who died on 1 June as a result of injuries sustained in an Israeli airstrike in May 2021 (Ashraf Amra - APA Images)

Maureen Clare Murphy

The Electronic Intifada  /  June 4, 2022

Israeli occupation forces shot and killed four Palestinians in the West Bank during the first two days of June, including a woman and a child.

Ghufran Warasneh, 31, was reportedly on the way to her first day of work at a local radio station when she was killed by Israeli soldiers at the entrance to al-Arroub refugee camp near Hebron on 1 June.

The Israeli military claimed in a tweet that an “assailant armed with a knife attempted to stab” a soldier.

“Our soldiers thwarted the attack with live fire to neutralize the assailant,” the military said, adding that the Palestinian killed “was imprisoned this year for attempting to stab an Israeli police officer.”

A photo of a kitchen knife with a clean blade lying on the ground accompanied the tweet.

Warasneh was newly hired as a news presenter at Dream Radio in Hebron/Al-Khalil.

Talab Jaabari, the director of the station, told The New Arab that “we were waiting for her to be the first to go on air as our new voice, but instead we received the news of her killing.”

An eyewitness told media that Warasneh was standing approximately two meters away from an Israeli soldier when she was shot, indicating that she posed no immediate threat to anyone’s life when she was killed.

No Israelis were reported injured as in so many other incidents in which a Palestinian was killed while allegedly attempting to attack soldiers and police. Human rights groups state that many of those fatalities may amount to extrajudicial executions.

Video of the incident shows Warasneh lying on the ground and Israeli soldiers firing their weapons in the air to forcibly disperse Palestinians who had gathered around her.

No attempt by the soldiers present to render first aid is shown in the video. Nor is the knife allegedly carried by Waranseh visible in the footage.

The following day, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Odeh Muhammad Odeh Sadaqa, 16, in Al-Midya village in the central West Bank.

A military spokesperson claimed that Sadaqa and “two others hurled Molotov cocktails at an Israeli force near the West Bank separation wall,” the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported.

Defense for Children International-Palestine stated that the teen was walking with two friends when soldiers opened fire toward them.

“As they attempted to flee, [Sadaqa] was struck in the back with a single bullet that struck his heart and exited through his chest,” the rights group added.

Israeli soldiers fired at Palestinians who attempted to come to the injured child’s aid.

Sadaqa is the 14th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces so far this year after five boys were shot and fatally injured in May.

Also on 2 June, Israeli forces shot and killed Ayman Ahmad Muhaisen, 29, outside his home during an arrest raid in Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem.

Palestinians confronted Israeli soldiers in the hour preceding Muhaisin’s killing.

While the troops were withdrawing, Israeli soldiers fired on Muhaisen without warning, hitting him in the chest. The slain man was a bystander who wasn’t participating in the confrontations, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Punitive home demolitions, which Israel only uses against Palestinians and never against Jews, are a form of collective punishment – a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Also in early June, Yasir al-Masri, a commander with the Islamic Jihad resistance group died at a hospital in Egypt as a result of injuries sustained in an Israeli air strike in Gaza in May 2021.

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada