EXPLAINER: What Happened to the Hebron Women and Why Palestinians Are Vowing Revenge

Five women were forced to strip naked by Israeli soldiers using attack dogs in Hebron. (Image: B'tselem website, PC)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

According to an investigation conducted by the Israeli rights group, B’Tselem, and reports by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli soldiers forced Palestinian women to undress, while attacking them using army dogs.

Palestinian reactions continued following the abuse of five Palestinian women from the city of Al-Khalil, Hebron by Israeli soldiers.

The calls for revenge followed an investigation conducted by the Israeli rights group, B’Tselem, and reports by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

According to the reports, Israeli soldiers forced Palestinian women to undress, while attacking them using army dogs.

The incident took place on July 10, according to the investigation, published on Tuesday.

Palestinian Reactions 

Several Palestinian attacks were already reported in Jericho and other Palestinian cities as a response to the abuse of the women. 

More such attacks are expected.

Hamas Explains Motive Behind Latest Resistance Operation Near Jericho

Various Palestinian groups, including the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, have vowed revenge. 

In response to a Palestinian attack on Israeli occupation soldiers in the Jordan Valley on Tuesday, Hamas said that the operation “was carried out by the rebellious youth in response to the crime of the occupation .. (in) Al-Khalil (Hebron).”

A Hamas spokesman had earlier said that the Resistance would continue its strikes against the Israeli occupation and its settlers until they pay for their crimes against these women.

Hamas considered the incident a dangerous escalation, stressing that all these crimes and violations practiced by the occupation would fail in front of the steadfastness and determination of the Palestinian people and their Resistance, Aljazeera Net reported. 

The Islamic Jihad movement also called on the people of Hebron and other Palestinian cities to “escalate the confrontation with the (Israeli) occupation in retaliation for the women against whom this grave violation was committed.”

In the Gaza Strip, a women’s group affiliated with the Islamic Jihad organized a vigil to denounce the “crime of attacking the women of Hebron.” 

A spokeswoman for the women’s collective said the incident would not go unnoticed, insisting that the Palestinian Resistance “will not stand idly by in the face of this heinous incident.”

For its part, the Palestinian Resistance group, the Lions’ Den issued a statement declaring that it will avenge the women of Hebron, by attacking Israeli occupation soldiers “anywhere they are found.”

The Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine also declared that “assaulting women in Hebron is a major crime that will not go unpunished.”

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh described the attack on the women as “shameful” and reflecting the nature of the “occupation’s criminal practices.” 

What Happened

The investigation by B’tselem was entitled “​​Soldiers enter homes of extended ‘Ajlouni family with dogs, separate children from their parents and steal items. Female soldiers strip search women.’ 

It said that scores of Israeli soldiers and army dogs broke into the home of the Palestinian ‘Ajlouni family in Hebron.

They separated the men from the women and children who were being held in the living room of the house. 

The soldiers took one of the women to a room where her children, who woke up terrified, were sleeping.

Two other masked soldiers prevented the mother from approaching her children and threatened her with the dog they were holding if she did not completely undress in front of them.

The mother was forced to undress and turn around in front of them completely naked.

Then, the soldiers took the boys to the living room while taking three other women and a girl naked for body searches.

Excerpts from the Report 

Here are excerpts from the report, published by the Israeli organization: 

“On Monday, 10 July 2023, at around 1:30 A.M., dozens of masked soldiers, with dogs, entered homes belonging to the extended ’Ajlouni family in the neighborhood of Khallat al-Qaba in southern Hebron. 

“They threatened, using their weapons, 26 members of the family who were home at the time, and confined them to one of the apartments. 

“The soldiers handcuffed three family members, one of them a 17-year-old boy, blindfolded them and took them to another apartment. They then separated the remaining men from the women and children, who were kept in the living room and searched them in a separate room. 

“The soldiers then took one woman to the room where her children, ranging in age from four to seven, were sleeping. The children woke up in a fright. Two masked female soldiers kept the mother from going up to them, and threatened to set the dog they had with them on her if she did not strip naked in front of them. The mother had no choice but to undress and turn around in front of the soldiers, and her frightened children, unclothed. (…)

“The soldiers left at around 5:30 A.M., at which point family members found two relatives locked in a room in one of the apartments handcuffed and blindfolded. (…)  

“The family filed complaints about the theft with the Kiryat Araba police that same day, and the jewelry stolen by the soldiers was returned to them the next day, with the excuse that it had been taken by mistake.” 

What Will Happen Next 

“This shall prove to be a watershed moment in an already escalating resistance throughout Palestine,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said. 

“For Palestinian culture, the humiliation of women and mothers is a great and unforgivable offense, and all Palestinian groups are expected to shoulder the responsibility of responding to the violations of women’s rights,” he added. 

“Quite often, Palestinian groups issue statements and make declarations that are not followed up with action. This time is different since Palestinian society is very sensitive to these kinds of violations, and it expects that some action will be taken in defense of these women, and rapidly so.” 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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