IOF Kill Palestinian Woman at Military Checkpoint in Husan
Date: 10 April 2022
Time: 19:30 GMT
Yesterday evening, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed a Palestinian woman after opening fire at her near an Israeli checkpoint in Husan, western Bethlehem, southern West bank. IOF unjustifiably targeted the woman under the pretext of approaching soldiers and not responding to their call to stop.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), on Sunday morning, 10 April 2022, IOF established a checkpoint near eastern Husan village, western Bethlehem, to search the passers-by and check their IDs. At around 12:15, Ghada Ibrahim ‘Ali Sabatin (47), who was wearing glasses and abaya, crossed the street towards the Israeli soldiers who were on the pavement; 2 were behind a cement cube and one was in front of them. Video footage showed the woman walking on the pavement when she was targeted, and her hands were empty and did not carry anything. She approached where 3 soldiers positioned; two were behind cement cubes and one in front of them. The latter opened fire at the woman, wounding her in the left thigh, and she fell on the ground.
According to the investigations, when the passers-by attempted to help her, the soldiers forcibly pushed them away and fired teargas canisters at them. Meanwhile, the soldiers thoroughly searched the wounded woman and cut her clothes without giving her first aid. When they were sure she did not have any knife or tool, they allowed the passers-by after half an hour of severely bleeding to take her in a civilian vehicle to Beit Jala Hospital to receive treatment. Few minutes later, the medical crews at the hospital pronounced her death after succumbing to her injury caused by a bullet that penetrated the leg artery and massive blood loss due to being left to bleed for half an hour at the scene without offering her first aid.
PCHR’s investigations confirm that Sabateen was visually impaired and she did not pose threat or danger to the Israeli soldiers’ lives, and they could have controlled her without resorting to excessive force. Sabateen’s family affirmed that she had a visual impairment, and she was a widow and mother of 6 children from Husan village. The family added that Sabateen was heading to her relative’s house in the village. According to eyewitnesses, she approached the soldiers, although they warned her, perhaps because she was confused and stumbled while passing by the street adjacent to the soldiers, who did not give her enough time to obey their orders and immediately opened fire at her.
Later, the Israeli Spokesperson said in a statement that: “The woman approached a military force in a suspicious manner near Husan village. The force opened fire as part of a suspect arrest procedure that included firing into the air. After she did not stop, the soldiers fired at her lower body. The force provide first aid to her and she was then taken to the hospital for treatment. The incident is being investigated. “
Contrary to the IOF’s claims, the information collected by PCHR’s fieldworkers emphasize that the woman posed no threat to the Israeli soldiers’ lives; hence, opening fire at her was without any justification. Also, the soldiers did not even provide her first aid and left her bleeding for half an hour. After that, the soldiers allowed passersby to transfer her after she bled extensively.
This incident is part of IOF’s recurrent policy of using excessive force, especially “shoot to kill” policy near checkpoints and areas with military presence. Moreover, PCHR previously documented the killing of Palestinians, including women and children, on Israeli military checkpoints and other areas with military presence, mostly for alleged stab-attacks without the presence of a meaningful threat to soldiers’ lives.
She is the first Palestinian woman killed by IOF’s fire since the beginning of this year; hence, the Palestinian death toll rises to 22, including 5 children and a woman, in separate incidents in the West Bank; most of those killed and wounded were hurt in incidents of IOF excessive use of force against peaceful protests and gatherings. .
PCHR reiterates its call upon the international community to take immediate action to stop the Israeli occupation’s crimes and reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the OPT.