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Israel-Palestine war: Israeli army kills elderly Palestinian after taking PR photo on 'safe corridor'

Bashir Hajji's granddaughter says he was shot in the head and back after a photo showing soldiers helping him was taken
Bashir Hajji, a 79-year-old resident of Gaza City shown here in an Israeli military propaganda photo, shortly before he was executed (Israeli military)

The Israeli army released a propaganda photo of one of its soldiers helping an elderly Palestinian man with a walking stick in an attempt to showcase its “safe corridor” for civilians fleeing northern Gaza. 

Shortly afterwards, Bashir Hajji, a 79-year-old resident of Gaza City's Zaytoun neighbourhood, was executed in cold blood by Israeli soldiers, according to Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. 

The photo published on social media by the Israeli army was taken on 10 November, as Hajji walked on the Salah al-Din Road, the main route towards southern Gaza. According to his family, he was alone and had difficulty walking. 

Hajji’s granddaughter, Hala Hajji, told the Euro-Med Monitor team that he was executed after the photo was taken with one bullet to the head and back.

"He died tired, cold, thirsty & hungry," she wrote in a post on Instagram, confirming her grandfather's death. 

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A photo of Hajji's body was also circulated by the human rights organisation. 

Mass executions

There is growing evidence that such executions are far from lone events. 

On Monday, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said that it had documented the execution of dozens of Palestinians by the Israeli army during their displacement from Gaza City and its north to central and southern areas of the Gaza Strip, even though they did not pose any threat.

The rights group said that Palestinians had been deliberately targeted with live bullets and sometimes artillery shells as they attempted to flee at the request of the Israeli army to the area south of Wadi Gaza.

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The monitor has received reports from displaced people reporting killings at military checkpoints set up by the Israeli army on the so-called “corridor” along the main traffic artery, Salah al-Din Road, between 9 am and 4 pm during the day.

It also condemned on Tuesday “Israel’s systematic, widespread and growing trend of humiliating, torturing and ill-treating Palestinian detainees with impunity”. 

It has called Israel’s actions towards Palestinian prisoners “appalling” in a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Israel continues to publish footage that deliberately aims to degrade and humiliate Palestinians detained, tortured and ill-treated in the West Bank for war propaganda,” said the rights group.

“We have documented multiple similar incidents that violate the Geneva Convention about the treatment of detainees.” 

Since the Hamas attacks on 7 October, the Israeli military has conducted widescale raids and arrest campaigns across Palestinian towns and cities in the occupied West Bank.

At least 2,570 Palestinians have since been detained for no apparent reason. Around 196 Palestinians have also been killed by Israeli forces and settlers.

EuroMed also renewed its calls for the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to “open an urgent independent investigation into the execution crimes to which displaced Palestinians have been and are still being subjected to, to hold those who ordered such crimes accountable, and to achieve justice for the victims.”

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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