Third Murder at Gush Etzion Junction in 2021, Elderly Palestinian Woman Shot Dead by IOF in Alleged Stab Attack
Date: 03 May 2021
Time: 09:00 GMT
On Sunday evening, 02 May 2021, an elderly Palestinian woman succumbed to her serious wounds after IOF directly opened fire at her, claiming she attempted to carry out a stab attack near the “Gush Etzion” settlement junction, south of Bethlehem. According to PCHR’s investigations and in a footage published on Israeli social media, the old woman posed no imminent danger to the soldiers’ lives and could have been controlled without lethal force.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 02 May 2021, a woman dressed in a black abaya and wearing a medical mask was carrying a bag while walking on the pavement of “Gush Etzion” junction, she slowly and hesitantly approached 2 Israeli soldiers, who were 4 meters away from her, with a knife in her hand. The 2 soldiers yelled at her in Hebrew only few moments before they directly shot her. As a result, she was wounded, fell on the ground and was taken by IOF to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in critical condition. At approximately 20:00, she was pronounced dead and was identified as Rehab Mohammed Mousa Za’oul (60) from Husan village, west of Bethlehem.
Following the incident, many footages went viral on social media documenting IOF’s shooting at Za’oul’s lower body and how Za’oul was hesitantly and slowly approaching, posing no imminent threat or danger to the lives of the soldiers, who were several meters away from her. The footages showed that she could have been neutralized and controlled with less lethal force.
The incident is part of IOF’s shoot-to-kill policy of using lethal force against suspects at checkpoints and near areas where IOF is usually stationed, particularly Gush Etzion Junction, which has been the scene of recurrent Palestinian deaths. Za’oul is the third Palestinian killed by IOF at the Junction in similar circumstances out of the total 8 Palestinians killed by IOF since the beginning of the year, according to PCHR’s documentation.
PCHR reiterates its call on the international community to act immediately to stop the IOF crimes and renews its call on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e. 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. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions on the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).