Less than a month after killing Shireen Abu Aqleh, Israeli forces shot and killed another Palestinian reporter in the West Bank.
On this Wednesday and in the occupied West Bank, Israeli security forces shot a 31-year-old Palestinian reporter which caused her death. The reporter, Ghufran Hamed Warasneh, was shot in the chest by an Israeli soldier at the Arroub refugee camp in the southern Israeli-occupied West Bank.
On May 11, less than three weeks ago, Israeli forces also killed Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Aqleh while she was covering a military raid on the northern city of Jenin in the West Bank.
Israel said the woman caused her own death as she was the one who tried to attack the Israeli forces first. In a statement after the incident, the Israeli army said “an assailant armed with a knife advanced toward an IDF [Israeli army] soldier who was conducting routine security activity and our soldier had no choice but to react to defend his life”.
Despite the above words, however, eyewitnesses told Al Jazeera news agency that the way they saw how the killing happened was different from Israel’s account. In their view, they said, Warasneh had posed little to zero threat to the Israeli security forces, adding also that the knife was too small to kill an armed-to-the-teeth- soldier.
After identifying the dead woman as Ghufran Hamed Warasneh, the Palestinian health ministry said that she had been shot in the chest and at a very close distance.
Eyewitnesses also noted that the time Warasneh was shot was before 8 am (5:00 GMT) and it happened at the entrance to the camp, which is located between Bethlehem and Hebron. This is where Israeli security forces have a permanent presence.
The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) transferred the half-alive body of Warasneh to al-Ahli hospital in Hebron minutes after she was shot. However, she couldn’t survive the severe bleeding and despite efforts to resuscitate her, died shortly afterward. The PRC also said Israeli security forces had obstructed their ability to access Warasneh in a shorter time and it took them more than 20 minutes to go upon her body and treat her.
But the doctors who were trying to restore her life at the hospital said the bullet she was shot with had pierced her heart. This probably means that she may have not been able to come back to life even if she was taken to the hospital sooner
Israel is under strong criticism
The killing of another reporter after Al Aqleh in less than a month raised many criticisms from local and international rights groups against Israel.
They have specifically rebuked Israel’s excessive use of force and “shoot-to-kill policy” against the people of Palestine.
Many also blame Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s new policy of letting and encouraging the use of lethal force against Palestinians even if they do not post an imminent threat.
In this regard, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has noted in several reports that Israeli forces “often use firearms against Palestinians on mere suspicion or as a precautionary measure, in violation of international standards”.
Born and raised in a large traditional family in a village called al-Shuyukh, Warasneh used to be a prisoner in Israeli jails for some time during the past months.
That’s why after the news of her death got viral, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) issued a statement mourning her killing and saying that Warasneh had recently spent three months in Israeli prisons, and was released last month in mid-April.