Two women, child among 6 Palestinians killed

Mourners carry the body of Ahmad Naser al-Sa'adi (23) a resistance fighter killed in a firefight with Israeli forces, during his funeral in the Jenin refugee camp (Ahmed Ibrahim - APA Images)

Tamara Nasser

The Electronic Intifada  /  April 11, 2022

A Palestinian child and two women are among six Palestinians killed in attacks by Israeli forces since Friday.

Soldiers shot 16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Muhammad Qassim in the abdomen during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Sunday evening.

“Doctors found multiple bullet fragments in Muhammad’s pelvis and buttocks,” Defense for Children International–Palestine stated on Monday. Muhammad was pronounced dead shortly after 7 am this morning.

He is the sixth Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces this year.

Israel claimed the boy opened fire on Israeli forces who were raiding Jenin at the time.

Following the announcement of his death, the Islamic Jihad resistance group claimed him as one of its members.

However, the Israeli account is contradicted by an eyewitness, who told Defense for Children International–Palestine that an Israeli military vehicle entered Jenin around 5 pm on Sunday and began chasing a civilian car.

Muhammad “began running behind the Israeli military vehicle and appeared to be looking on the ground for stones to throw at it,” the eyewitness said, according to the human rights group.

“Suddenly, without any prior warning, an Israeli soldier fired three bullets from the military vehicle’s rear window, striking Muhammad from a distance of about four meters (13 feet) in the abdomen.”

The latest Israeli violence comes after Palestinians carried out several attacks inside Israel and the West Bank in apparent response to Israel’s ongoing military occupation and system of apartheid.

Anxious to show the Israeli public how tough it is, the Israeli government has been on a killing and arrest spree across the occupied West Bank.

Against the backdrop of recent tensions is the first anniversary of last year’s uprising across historic Palestine, when the Israeli military carried out an 11-day assault in the besieged Gaza Strip and across the occupied West Bank.

Mother of six shot dead

On Sunday, the Israeli occupation army extrajudicially executed a woman in the Palestinian town of Husan west of Bethlehem, also in the West Bank.

Israeli forces said Ghada Sbatin was acting in a “suspicious” manner as she was approaching them, so they shot her.

The woman turned out to be unarmed, according to Israeli media.

Israeli soldiers said that they had initiated an “arrest procedure” by firing in the air. When Sbatin did not stop, they opened fire directly at her.

Israeli forces often claim they were attempting an arrest procedure when they kill Palestinians.

Media outlets circulated footage of the incident:

The video shows three soldiers, two standing behind concrete barriers and a third next to them. The woman approaches the soldiers, who shoot her at point-blank range.

Sbatin is then seen lying on the ground, covered in cardboard.

She had lost a lot of blood upon arrival at a nearby hospital, according to the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry, and was pronounced dead. Sbatin was a widowed mother of six.

Later that day, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian woman near the Ibrahimi mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron, alleging that she had stabbed and lightly wounded an officer of Israel’s paramilitary Border Police.

She was identified by the health ministry as 24-year-old Maha Kathem al-Za’atari.

Also on Sunday, Israeli occupation forces fatally shot 19-year-old Muhammad Ali al-Ghunaim in the Palestinian town of Al-Khader, a village that neighbors Husan.

Trigger happy

The same day, an Israeli military commander shot and killed a man in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon who was allegedly trying to steal a soldier’s weapon.

The Israeli army said they “neutralized” him.

The man turned out to be a Jewish Israeli citizen who had escaped from a psychiatric ward, not a Palestinian.

“The initial suspicion was that it was a terrorist who was shot to death at the scene,” Ashkelon mayor Tomer Glam explained.

“A short while ago, it became clear that this was a Jewish citizen who committed the act, and the suspicion that he might be mentally ill was investigated,” he added, suggesting the army might have responded differently if they had known that the perpetrator had been an Israeli Jew rather than a Palestinian.

This incident illustrates the level of tension under which virtually anyone may be summarily killed on “suspicion” of “terrorism.”

But it also demonstrates the racist nature of Israel’s apartheid system, where any Palestinian resisting that system is automatically branded a “terrorist,” without investigation of their motives or condition, while Jewish Israelis are afforded the possibility of mental illness.

War on Jenin

Israeli occupation forces invaded the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank on Saturday to raid the home of the Palestinian gunman accused of shooting and killing two Israelis on Thursday.

Ra’ed Hazem, 28, was accused of killing the two Israelis and injuring 10 others on Tel Aviv’s bustling Dizengoff Street in the fourth such deadly attack in Israel in recent weeks.

He was killed in a firefight with Israeli forces while hiding near a mosque in the port city of Jaffa on Friday morning, Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported.

Hazem was from Jenin refugee camp.

During the raid on his family home on Saturday, armed Palestinians defended the camp against Israeli invasion, and one Palestinian resistance fighter was killed.

He was named as Ahmad Naser al-Sa’adi, 23, a field commander with the Jenin brigade of the Islamic Jihad resistance group.

At least 13 others were wounded with live ammunition, the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry said.

The Jenin brigade was formed in September 2021, when six Palestinians escaped from one of Israel’s most fortified prisons but were later captured.

Jenin remains a center for armed Palestinian resistance to Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, despite all efforts by Israel and the Palestinian Authority to suppress such resistance.

The town has become a focal point for recent confrontations between armed Palestinians and Israeli forces.

Israeli authorities are planning on demolishing the family homes of Ra’ed Hazem and Dia Hamarsheh – both Jenin area residents accused of fatal attacks in Israel.

This is a form of collective punishment Israel exclusively uses against the families of Palestinians accused of violence, but never against the families of Jews.

On Sunday, Israeli troops opened fire on a vehicle carrying Hazem’s two brothers, including a child, and their mother, the older brother told media.

Israeli soldiers first tried to crash into the car head-on, but when Hazem’s brother was able to avoid it, soldiers left their military vehicle and approached the car “directly” with the “intention of killing, not arresting,” the brother said.

It was during this attack that Israeli forces fatally shot 16-year-old Muhammad Qassim.

Collective punishment

Israeli authorities announced on Saturday a series of collective punishments not just directed toward the families of suspected attackers, but against the entire population of Jenin.

They include revoking work permits, preventing Israeli citizens from visiting Jenin and prohibiting Jenin residents from visiting family in Israel.

“The restrictions are expected to deal a hard blow to the local economy,” Tel Aviv daily Haaretz said, noting that the vast majority of the city’s purchasing power comes from Palestinian citizens of Israel.

“When you punish all of Jenin, prevent commerce and workers, you push people into a corner. Expect him to do anything,” Jenin’s mayor, Akram al-Rajoub, told The Times of Israel.

Two decades ago this month, the Israeli military massacred at least 52 Palestinians and injured scores of others in the Jenin refugee camp, according to a report compiled by the United Nations secretary-general at the time.

Israeli forces also shelled 150 buildings, leaving 450 families homeless. According to the report, 23 Israeli soldiers were dead by the end of the operation.

Israel’s escalation shows no sign of producing the pacification among Palestinians and the quiet occupation Israel yearns for.

Two Israelis entering the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Monday were lightly injured in a shooting by Palestinians, the Israeli army claimed.

The Israelis were on their way to Joseph’s Tomb, an archeological site considered sacred by Muslims, Christians and Jews, located in the heart of the city.

Jewish settlers make regular visits to the site under heavy escort from the Israeli army.

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada