Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers traveling in a civilian car opened fire at a group of people at the entrance to al-Arrub refugee camp south of Bethlehem.
Lubna Munir Hanash, 22, was shot in the head and died from her injuries, medics said.
Suad Yusuf Jaara was shot in the hand and transported to Ahli hospital in Hebron.
Witnesses told Ma’an that after the shooting Israeli soldiers prevented an ambulance from arriving at the scene for around 10 minutes.
Locals said there were no clashes in the area at the time.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that “soldiers were attacked by Palestinians who hurled multiple firebombs at them while they were traveling near al-Arrub. Soldiers returned fire and the circumstances of the incident are currently being reviewed.”
Israeli soldiers searched the area and found several firebombs ready for use, she said, adding that no soldiers were injured in the incident.
It’s important to keep in mind that, as Ali Abunimah stresses, “such Israeli claims are routinely made to justify arbitrary killings of Palestinians and almost never result in credible investigations.”
On the same day that Lubna was killed, 15-year-old Salih al-Amarin died after nearly a week in the hospital battling a gunshot wound to the head, courtesy of Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem last Friday.
Prior to Salih’s death, Israeli forces had shot dead four unarmed Palestinians in under a week (January 11 to January 15). All were killed while in close proximity to Israeli-imposed separation barriers, though “none of them posed any risk to Israeli soldiers or civilians,” according to 972 Magazine.
Among them was 16-year-old Samir Awad. Samir was killed last Tuesday (January 15) after Israeli soldiers opened fire on him and his friends in Budrus, a West Bank village near Ramallah. His body was pierced by four bullets to the head, chest and leg. Israeli forces shot Awad from behind as he was running away. He and his school mates were hanging out near the separation wall after completing their midterms.
Budrus was featured in a 2009 documentary for being the first West Bank village to hold weekly demonstrations against the wall that was set to cut through Palestinian land. In fact, Samir had been jailed three times for his participation in the protests. The Guardian reports that “his family had lost more than five acres of land and 3,000 olive trees when the separation barrier was constructed on Budrus land.” Now they have lost Samir as well.
Samir was the fourth unarmed Palestinian to die by Israeli gunfire this month. Charlotte Silverprovided details surrounding the first three state sanctioned murders at the Electronic Intifada:
On 11 January, 22-year-old Anwar Mamlouk was reportedly just outside the Jabaliyarefugee camp in Gaza when Israeli soldiers gunned him down.
The next day, Odai al-Darawish, 21, was shot to death at three o’clock in the afternoon while crossing Israel’s wall in the West Bank to get to work in Israel. Initially, Israeli sources claimed the soldiers shot al-Darawish in his legs, in accordance with the “rules of engagement” (“Israeli troops kill Palestinian trying to cross barrier,” The Chicago Tribune, 12 January 2013).
But medical sources quickly revealed that he was hit in the back, indicating that he was likely shot while trying to run to safety (“Israeli forces shoot, kill worker south of Hebron,” Ma’an News Agency, 12 January 2013).
Al-Darawish was from the village of Dura, near Hebron, where in September last year a man attempted to immolate himself in a desperate protest of the dire economic conditions Palestinians face in the occupied West Bank (“Palestinian man attempts to set himself on fire in West Bank village of Dura,” Haaretz, 17 January 2013).
Mustafa Jarad was aged 21 and a farmer from Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. He was shot in the forehead by an Israeli sniper on 14 January while working his land. But despite the Israeli gunman’s skillful marksmanship, Jarad was not killed immediately.
Doctors at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City tried to remove the bullet from his severely injured brain, but Jarad died after surgery (“Mustafa Abu Jarad, murdered in Gaza, by the Israeli army,” International Solidarity Movement, 15 January 2013).
These deaths come on top of the unforgettable murder of 17-year-old Muhammad al-Salaymeh in December. The Hebron teen was shot dead on his 17th birthday by an Israeli soldier whose claims that Muhammad was armed and threatening to take a soldier hostage were exposed as lies by video footage of the killing.
When state-sanctioned killings become as routine as they have in Palestine, the victims morph into statistics that barely register in the media. But these are people just like us. They have family and friends who they loved. They had hopes and dreams. They laughed and cried. But unlike us, their lives were cut short by an occupying force that wants them gone.