Majida Obaid, killed by Israeli forces in Jenin, was ‘very loved’

The 61-year-old grandmother among nine who were shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Majida Obaid had just finished praying when she was shot “indiscriminately” by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, her daughter says.

Kifaya Obaid said she saw her mother, 61, sitting down, looking out of her bedroom window after completing her prayers on Thursday. Kifaya went downstairs and moments later, she heard several gunshots.

“As soon as I went downstairs, I heard a heavy thud,” Kifaya told Al Jazeera.

“My mother had just finished praying and she was sitting in her room in front of the window. I went up, I found that she had fallen off the chair and she was injured in her neck,” the 26-year-old said.

Palestinians examine a damaged house after Israeli forces conduct a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu]

Kifaya placed her hand on her mother’s bleeding neck and heard her reciting the “shahada” (profession of faith). She held her in her arms until a group of young men rushed in to rush her to the nearest medics, but she died shortly afterwards.

Kifaya said that prior to the shooting, she had seen soldiers on the rooftops of buildings surrounding the family home.

Obaid was one of nine Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday. She was the only woman killed on one of the deadliest days in the West Bank in recent memory. A 10th Palestinian was later shot in a separate incident in the town of al-Ram, north of Jerusalem.

Israeli forces said they were looking into reports of Obaid’s death, but have yet to issue further statements.

At least 20 others were wounded with live ammunition during the raid in Jenin, described by Palestinians as a “massacre”.

The Palestinian health ministry accused Israeli forces of obstructing ambulances and medics in Jenin.

Obaid was “very loved and was a cheerful person,” Kifaya said. She always supported and encouraged the young men of the camp by praying that they be protected and “emerge victorious” when Israeli forces raided the camp.

The frequency of Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank have increased over the last year, particularly in Jenin and Nablus. Many raids have resulted in the killing and mass arrests of Palestinians. At least 200 Palestinians have been killed over the last year.

The raids are part of an Israeli campaign called “Break the Wave”, aimed at crushing armed Palestinian resistance to the occupation. The Israeli government has said it is targeting fighters affiliated with armed groups such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) al-Quds Brigades, and Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

‘Deeply alarmed’

“She knew about the first martyr yesterday before she died,” Kifaya said, referring to the first victim who was killed on Thursday. “She … was upset that every time the army comes in [to the camp], there are wounded people or martyrs.”

Kifaya said her mother lived through Israel’s invasion of Jenin in 2002, during the second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising. Back then, Jenin was also a centre for Palestinian armed resistance, and during a weeklong battle, at least 52 Palestinians were killed.

“We were young,” Kifaya recalled. “She would hold us all and say that if there is a rocket, I want it to hit me, not you.”

Obaid was a mother to five daughters and one son, and had 12 grandchildren.

According to Kifaya, Israeli troops continued firing shots towards her mother’s bedroom “even after we got to her”.

“You want to tell me that the sniper that shot her didn’t know that she is a woman just looking out the window,” she said.

Israel launched several air attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip on Friday, saying it attacked after two rockets were fired from the enclave. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rockets.

INTERACTIVE - Israeli forces raid Jenin

Israel has previously launched several onslaughts on Gaza, home to more than two million Palestinians living under a crippling Israeli siege.

Tor Wennesland, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said in a Twitter post he was “deeply alarmed” and “saddened” by the recent events. He added he was engaged with Israeli and Palestinian authorities to “de-escalate tensions, restore calm and avoid further conflict”.

Israel’s far-right Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir hailed Israeli forces on the Jenin raid. Ben-Gvir is part of newly reinstated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which has repeatedly pledged to further entrench its illegal occupation.

The nationalist-religious government has already banned Palestinian flags in Israel and in occupied East Jerusalem. It is also seeking to expand illegal settlements in the West Bank and annex the territory.

Additional reporting by Zena Al Tahhan.

Source: Al Jazeera