“An Israeli soldier holding the water bottle and helping the old woman drink as an example of the humanity of the Israeli army towards the civilians in the Gaza Strip,” he wrote.
But just moments after the photograph was taken, the elderly woman was shot dead by the same soldier. As Middle East Monitor reports:
During the Israeli bombardment and shelling of the Gaza Strip last summer, an Israeli soldier approached a 74-year-old Palestinian woman Ghalya Abu-Rida to give her a sip of water. He gave her the water, took a photo with her and then he shot her in the head from a distance of one metre. He then watched as she bled to death, the Palestine Information Centre reported.
The field executions were among the stories Ahmad Qdeh, a journalist in Al-Aqsa TV reported during the Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip. He said:
“Ghalya Ahmad Abu-Rida lived in the Khuza’a area in the east of Khan Younis city. I live in that area too and I made a television report on her story after the Israeli soldiers executed her during the aggression.”
“During the aggression, an Israeli soldier approached the old woman and took a photo for another soldier while giving her water. They then executed her by shooting her in the head from a distance of one metre and let her bleed until she died,” he added.
The incident was first reported by members of the community around Mrs. Abu-Rida, and later confirmed by the esteemed Middle East Monitor website using the Palestinian Information Centre as a source. It has also been reported by teleSUR news.
The story is painfully familiar to those of us who have been reporting on Israel’s activities in Occupied Palestine, and have borne witness to the terrifying escalation in brutality among Israeli troops. I have been traveling to and reporting from Israel-Palestine for more than 12 years now, yet during my time in Gaza for Operation Protective Edge I saw horrors on a scale I have never witnessed before.
- Snipers shot a woman’s son dead in her arms as she attempted to flee air strikes in Khuza’a.
- A father attempted to drive his family away from the Shujay’iyyah massacre, but an Israeli F-16 fighter jet shot a missile at their car. His wife was vaporized, his daughter was decapitated. He had to carry his headless daughter through the night to Al Shifa hospital ni Gaza city, while his shell-shocked 11-year-old son stumbled along by his side.
- The matriarch of one family I met was cooking dinner when a one-ton bomb landed nearby. All of the male members of the family were killed.
My fellow journalists like Max Blumenthal and Mohammed Omer captured equally horrifying stories, particularly from Southern Gaza. The alleged war crimes committed by IDF soldiers include:
- Using Palestinian civilians as human shields, keeping them for days at a time in humiliating conditions.
- The summary execution of Palestinian civilians.
- Asking if Palestinian civilians spoke Hebrew, and killing anyone that answered in the affirmative.
- Taunting Palestinian civilians before killing them – such as a Palestinian paramedic who was asked to hold his lighter in the air and stand on one leg before being shot dead on the spot.
You can see the testimony of Blumenthal and Omer at last September’s Russell Tribunal on Palestine below.