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Abu Al-Tein: A doctor, father, and a fighter

Jerusalem24 – On 14 October around 8.30am, news emerged that a doctor was shot in the head by Israeli forces during a raid on Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank.

For the first few hours after he was shot, the circumstances surrounding Dr. Abdallah Abu Al-Tein’s targeting were unclear. His colleagues’ attempts at resuscitation failed after several hours in Jenin Governmental Hospital’s ER.

At around 1.35pm, the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed the death of Dr. Abu Al-Tein, after initially reporting that Abu Al-Tein was killed by Israeli fire while performing his medical duties.

A second statement by the MoH on Facebook then said: “MoH announces the martyrdom of Dr. Abdallah Abu Al-Tein, head of the leave and licensing unit, as a result of being hit by a bullet that pierced his head fired by the occupation soldiers in front of Jenin Governmental Hospital this morning.”

Two narratives

A Palestinian paramedic told Palestine TV during a live interview that medical crews were targeted during the raid. Dr. Abu Al-Tein was in the vicinity of the hospital, which is located towards the entrance of Jenin refugee camp, while an Israeli military jeep was closing the main street leading to the hospital.

“He suddenly fell face down. The paramedics – who were also in the proximity of the hospital at the other end of where the Israeli military jeep was located – tried to evacuate the doctor, who was eventually dragged into the hospital yard by other doctors.”

However, Al-Arabiya news network gathered another narrative from eyewitnesses and sources they preferred to reserve.

According to an eyewitness, Dr. Abu Al-Tein was in the hospital when Israeli forces stormed the city of Jenin and its camp. He then allegedly exited the hospital, grabbed an M16 in his car, pulled a mask over his face, and engaged in a fire exchange in proximity of the hospital.

Video footage obtained by Al-Arabiya Palestine claims that the gunman in the video is Dr. Abu Al-Tein. Jerusalem24 has been unable to independently verify this claim.

Double life

News of Dr. Abu Al-Tein’s killing speak quickly through Palestinian formal and informal information channels, and speculation arose as to whether he was killed in his capacity as a doctor, or as an armed fighter.

Dr. Wissam Baker, Dr. Abu Al-Tein’s friend, tells Al-Arabiya that his friend lived a double life.

“Abdallah is a true Palestinian human, a person who possesses a job with a high position, but he’s also a revolutionary. He works as a doctor during the day, and as a fighter at night.”

A Palestinian fighter in Jenin corroborated the account that Dr. Abu Al-Tein used to work undercover. “He used to work quietly in the camp, he activated the work of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ brigades, and he provided financial and moral support to the brigades,” the fighter told Al-Arabiya.

Dr. Abu Al-Tein was an active member of the Jenin regional Fatah chapter and the head of the local resistance unit, according to the Secretary of Fatah in Jenin, Ata Abu Rmileh.

Dr. Abu Al-Tein was an only child, married to a dentist with whom he had two sons.

Targeting medical crews

In the absence of CCTV evidence, it may be difficult to determine whether or not Dr. Abu Al-Tein was targeted in his capacity as a doctor.

However, Palestinian medical crews are indeed regularly targeted by Israeli fire, and were in fact targeted during the very same raid on Jenin.

During the raid, Israeli forces shot multiple times at paramedics who were trying to evacuate 26-year-old Mateen Dabaya, who was later pronounced dead, from the alleys of Jenin’s refugee camp. The incident was filmed and footage widely distributed on social media.

Later on Friday, Israeli settlers attacked an ambulance in the town of Huwara south of Nablus, injuring nurse Hala Halima in the face.

On 7 October, Israeli soldiers prevented medical personnel and civilians from coming to the aid of 17-year-old Mahdi Mohammad Abulmuti Ladadwa who was shot in the pelvis by Israeli forces during confrontations that erupted in the village of Al Mazraa Al-Gharbia north of Ramallah. The same soldiers then assaulted the ambulance crew. Mahdi was later pronounced dead at Al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah.

On 2 October, Israeli soldiers attacked a medical crew in Beit Furik, south of Nablus, hitting them on the head with the butt of their rifles, which led to several severe injuries. The army later detained the paramedics at the entrance to Beit Furik.

The Palestine Red Crescent society condemned the attack and said that international humanitarian law strictly prohibits targeting medical missions, including individuals, vehicles, and facilities, which perform humanitarian tasks, and stresses that they must be protected and not be exposed to anyway danger, attack, or interfere with their work.

A statement shared on the Red Crescent Facebook’s page said: “Violations committed since the beginning of 2022 until mid-September against Palestinian Red Crescent Society crews and vehicles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory reached 383 violations, distributed as follows: 19 violations against the Society’s ambulances, 19 cases of obstruction of ambulances and 331 cases of preventing ambulance crews from reaching their destination, and 14 cases of physical assault on ambulance crews.”

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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