Skip to main content

West Bank: Palestinian woman en route to cancer treatment killed by Israeli driver

Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh says the incident was a crime of 'organised state terrorism'
Ghadeer Anis Masalmeh, 63, was buried in her home town of Sinjel on 24 December (Social media)

Palestinian woman was killed on Friday after she was run over by an Israeli settler at the entrance to the town of Sinjel, north of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The woman, identified as 63-year-old Ghadeer Anis Masalmeh, was crossing the street with her husband, as she was heading for cancer treatment at a nearby hospital, when she was run over by an Israeli settler in a car, according to local reports.

Sinjel's Mayor Hazem Tawafasha told al-Araby al-Jadeed that it was not clear whether the accident was intentional or not, and that Israeli police are investigating the matter.

Her funeral was held later on Friday, with scores of mourners in attendance. Her body, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, was carried from the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah towards her home in Sinjel, where she was buried in the town cemetery.

Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh offered his condolences for the family and condemned the incident, saying it was a crime that falls within the framework of "organised state terrorism".

The Times of Israel newspaper cited Israeli police as saying that the driver who hit Masalmeh has been briefly questioned by police then released pending further investigation.

Increased settler attacks

Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian villages and towns have dramatically increased in 2021, with incidents more than doubling in the first half of the year, compared to 2019 and 2020.

Late last month, settlers carried out five different attacks on Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and their neighbouring villages in just under 24 hours.

The violence varied in intensity, from blocking off roads and setting vehicles on fire to spray-painting anti-Arab slogans and attacking people in their homes.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned about the rise in settler violence in November, reporting that there had been 410 attacks by settlers against Palestinians in the first 10 months of this year.

In 2014, an Israeli settler ran over two girls near the same area in Sinjel, leading to the death of one while the other was left permanently disabled.