It has been seven years since the Israeli extrajudicial execution of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun, a Palestinian student, at the Shuhada checkpoint in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).
Fateful Day in September
On September 22, 2015, 18-year-old Hadeel al-Hashlamoun made her way to the Shuhada checkpoint, which at the time was not as heavily militarized and fortified as it is today.
Little did she know that this seemingly routine crossing would turn into a nightmare. Israeli forces at the checkpoint began shouting at her in Hebrew, a language most Palestinians do not understand or speak.
Despite the presence of a Palestinian bystander who was translating between Hadeel and the Israeli soldiers, tragedy struck.
Hadeel was shot multiple times with live ammunition in her upper body, even though she was positioned five meters away from the soldiers and was separated from them by a metal fence. Under no circumstances could she have posed any threat to the soldiers.
Israeli authorities claimed that Hadeel was holding a knife at the time of the shooting. However, video and photo evidence contradicts this assertion. The footage clearly shows that she was far from the soldiers and was not approaching or moving toward any of them.
In a harrowing pattern seen in many such incidents, after Israeli forces shot Hadeel, she was left bleeding on the ground.
Shockingly, Israeli forces threw stun grenades at a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance outside the checkpoint, obstructing any attempt at providing medical treatment.
Video footage shows Hadeel being pulled by her feet on the ground, seemingly to prevent journalists from capturing images of the dying teenager. Settlers also gathered at the scene, taking their own photos and videos.
Hadeel was later taken to an Israeli hospital in faraway Jerusalem, even though a nearby Palestinian hospital in al-Khalil was just a five-minute drive away.
The Palestinian medical crew, who could have swiftly evacuated the seriously injured girl, was prevented from doing so.
Denial of Dignity
Unlike the fate suffered by the majority of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, Hadeel’s family was “granted” the right to bury their daughter.
However, it is worth noting that Israeli forces have increasingly denied this right to grieving families, often kidnapping the bodies and refusing to release them.
The chronicle of detaining the bodies of Palestinian and Arab martyrs has its origins in the aftermath of the 1967 Naksa, a pivotal event during which Israeli occupation forces held the remains of 256 Fedayeen martyrs in covert graves. Each martyr was assigned a mere number instead of their rightful name.
Over the ensuing decades, the number of detained bodies has swelled to approximately 370, either interred in graves identified solely by numerical markers or preserved within mortuary refrigerators.
Among this somber count are 55 martyrs hailing from the Gaza Strip, as well as prisoners who tragically met their end within the confines of the occupation’s prisons, victims of calculated acts of medical negligence.”