Jerusalem24 – 26-year-old Eman Odeh was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers stationed at a military checkpoint in Huwara south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Thursday afternoon, hours after three Palestinian men were killed in an Israeli raid on the old city of Nablus.
The Israeli military said she attempted to carry out a stabbing attack, and that one of its soldiers was “lightly injured” in the shoulder before shooting her.
Odeh was shot in the chest and initially denied medical treatment, according to eyewitnesses and the Red Crescent Society. The Ministry of Health said Odeh was eventually transferred to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus in critical condition, and resuscitation efforts failed to save her.
Odeh is the second woman to have been shot and killed by the Israeli military this year, after 61-year-old Majida Obaid who was killed during an Israeli invasion and massacre of residents in Jenin in January.
Israeli forces and settlers have now shot and killed 107 Palestinians including 20 children in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem since January, in addition to three in Gaza including a 10-year-old boy, and three inside Israel. Two detainees have also died due to medical negligence in Israeli custody, bringing 2023’s death toll to 115.
“They just left her there”
The Red Crescent issued a statement following the shooting saying their ambulance was at the site and was being denied access, and their crews prevented from treating Odeh.
According to the Fatah Secretary in Huwara, Kamal Odeh, who reached the scene before Odeh was transferred, the soldiers “left Odeh bleeding” even as they provided medical care to an Israeli soldier lying nearby.
“They just left her there, covering her body with a shader [a rudimentary cover used to shade the checkpoints],” he told Quds News Network. “It wasn’t really clear that there was another person who is injured in the same place.”
Shawan Jabarin, Director General of Al-Haq, says that denying an injured person medical treatment, resulting in their death, is a war crime.
“Preventing medical treatment and not providing it after shooting and injuring someone is a war crime,” Jabarin tells Jerusalem24. “They [soldiers] also shoot the injured to make sure they are killed.”
Jabarin adds that shooting-to-kill or simply delaying treatment for the injured until they are beyond saving is part of a wider Israeli policy. “Israeli soldiers are almost never held accountable or charged, which encourages them more. They feel like they have the impunity to do whatever they want.”
“She would never leave them”
Despite the Israeli military’s statement that a soldier was lightly injured and hospitalized, and Palestinian eyewitness confirmation that a soldier was treated at the scene, Odeh’s family are rejecting the claim that she carried out a stabbing attack.
Odeh was a mother to three children aged 9, 4, and 2, with 4-year-old Abdelrahman suffering from seizures and requiring special care.
According to Odeh’s family, on the morning of Thursday, she went to 9-year-old Mohammad’s school to receive an update on his performance and grades.
Odeh’s brother Abdelrahman told Felesteen News that his sister would always tell Mohammad’s teacher to take care of him, and that she would make sure he was an honors student.
“This debunks the Israeli claim that she attempted to carry out a stabbing attack,” said Abdelrahman. “Eman took care of her kids, she would never leave them. Her son Abdelrahman suffered convulsions, she would stay in Jerusalem hospitals for two weeks at a time. And her 2-year-old child, Sakher, was very attached to her. She would never leave them.”
According to Abdelrahman, Odeh had recently started training in a beauty salon. “She was happy, she even started making future plans for herself.”
Felesteen News reported that 9-year-old Mohammad ran to their house asking where his mother was, after being told by a child in the neighborhood that she had been “killed by the soldiers.”
Abdelrahman said that Mohammad is under shock. “It hurt me when I asked him to kiss his mother’s forehead as she lay before being buried. Mohammad stood still and didn’t speak a word.”
“These military barriers imposed on Palestinian residents are a crime in themselves,” he said. “There are over 15 military points in Huwara. Students, residents, parents, people coming from out of town… Everyone faces Israeli assaults and harassment on a daily basis.”
Huwara is one of the only Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank that is traversed by a road used by Israeli settlers. Both settlers and soldiers are a constant presence in the small town as a result.
Huwara and its neighboring villages are still reeling from a mob attack in February when over 400 settlers killed one Palestinian, injured hundreds, and burned down dozens of homes and businesses. “I call on the people of Huwara to always be in the streets and to not let settlers do whatever they want,” said Odeh. “It’s our town.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli army announced on Tuesday, two days before Eman Odeh’s killing, that it had completed a series of “security measures” around Huwara in order to “reduce terror and tensions”, including 13 additional “defensive posts” and increasing security checks on Palestinians.
According to the newspaper, the measures are “temporary” until a new settler road is completed in 18 to 24 months which will bypass Huwara completely.