Israeli forces kill Palestinian journalist near West Bank camp

Ghufran Harun Warasneh (31) was fatally shot by an Israeli soldier while she heading to work on 1 June 2022 (Twitter)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  June 1, 2022

Family of Ghufran Harun Warasneh, 31, say she was heading to her new job with a local media network when she was gunned down by an Israeli soldier.

Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian journalist on Wednesday as she was heading to her new job with a local media network in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron/Al-Khalil.

Ghufran Harun Warasneh, 31, was shot through the torso near the Al-Arroub refugee camp and pronounced dead later in the hospital, the Palestinian health ministry said.

An unnamed eyewitness told Palestinian news agency Wafa that Warasneh was walking towards the main road when two soldiers manning a military checkpoint asked her to approach them before one of them shot her. 

The Israeli army claimed in a statement that “an assailant armed with a knife advanced toward a soldier who was conducting routine security activity on Route 60. The soldiers responded with live fire.”

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli forces on the scene had blocked its medics from reaching Warasneh for 20 minutes before they managed to transfer her to Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron.

Warasneh had joined the local news agency, Dream, this week and Wednesday was supposed to be her third day at the new job.

A graduate of the journalism school at Hebron University, Warasneh had worked with a few local media networks before joining Dream.

Her mother told Wafa that Warasneh was previously arrested and imprisoned for three months over her coverage of a pro-Palestine rally in January and her camera equipment was destroyed.  

“Ghufran left the house early to get to work on time,” Warasneh’s mother, who was not named, told Wafa.

“But it did not take long until we heard that the occupation fatally shot a woman at the entrance of the camp, but we did not know that it was my daughter until later.

“The news came to us like a shock.”

Targeting female journalists

Palestinian journalist Merfat Sadiq told Middle East Eye that Ghufran’s death was “painful” and a part of an escalation against Palestinian reporters in the past year.

“It seems that women journalists, in particular, are deemed an easier target. We have witnessed this two days ago with repeated attacks against female journalists covering the flag march in Jerusalem and in Nablus,” Sadiq said.

“Journalist Ranin Sawaftah was directly hit with a barrage of teargas.

“The allegation of an attempted stabbing is irrelevant, the soldier could have arrested her or scared her. She was close to them yet she was hit in the upper body as the images showed. It was a premeditated killing,” she added.

The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the killing as a “field execution”.

“She was en route to her work and there were no incidents there or danger to the criminals,” it said in a statement.

So far this year, Israeli forces have killed more than 50 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including prominent journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

On Friday, Israeli forces shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian near Bethlehem, after confrontations erupted between Al-Khader’s residents and the soldiers who stormed the town to “secure an intersection near the illegal Jewish settlement of Efrat,” according to Israeli media.

Ghonaim is the 15th Palestinian teenager to be killed by Israeli fire this year. 

Two days earlier, 16-year-old Gaith Yamin was killed by Israeli soldiers as they secured the arrival of Jewish settlers at Joseph’s Tomb, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, a site revered by Muslims and Jews and a regular flashpoint between Palestinians and Israelis.