Israel reportedly executes elderly Gaza man after using him for propaganda

Israel reportedly executes elderly Gaza man after using him for propaganda
Israeli forces have reportedly shot dead a 79-year-old Palestinian man fleeing his home in the Gaza Strip after taking photos with him for propaganda purposes
4 min read
15 November, 2023
Bashir Hajji was allegedly killed by Israeli forces in Gaza's al-Zaytoun neighborhood [Getty]

An elderly Palestinian man fleeing his home in Gaza who was featured in Israeli military propaganda was later found dead after reportedly being executed by Israeli soldiers, the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has said.

Bashir Hajji, a 79-year-old resident of Gaza City's Zaytoun neighborhood, was seen in a photo standing next to a soldier while travelling on the Gaza Strip's main Salah al-Din Road to southern Gaza, where Israel says it has established a “safe corridor”, allowing civilians to flee to the south of the besieged and bombed Palestinian enclave. 

However, later on photos emerged on social media reportedly showing that Hajji had died after allegedly being shot in the head and back by soldiers. The deceased man in the photos was wearing the same blue polo shirt and striped tracksuit bottoms in the earlier footage. 

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said it “strongly condemned” his killing by Israeli forces, as well as the treatment of other displaced Palestinians who are escaping Israel's ground assault on the northern Gaza Strip. 

“The soldier in the photo appears to be helping and protecting displaced Palestinian civilians... yet Hajji was subjected to a field execution on the morning of Friday 10 November, " the rights monitor said.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor called on 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." 

The rights group said that Hajji’s granddaughter, Hala Hajji confirmed her grandfather’s death to aEuro-Med team and stated that he was in the photo issued by Israel.

The organisation added this was "exposing the Israeli army's dangerous practice of flagrantly fabricating stories."

Israeli military and civilian officials have been caught spreading disinformation on several occasions since the beginning of the indiscriminate war on Gaza, which has killed over 11,000 people, most of them women and children. 

Euro-Med said that that they have reported cases of several displaced Palestinians who were attempting to flee to the south of Gaza, following Israel’s  evacuation order which called on 1.1 million residents of the northern Gaza Strip to move to the south of the territory, who were shot dead by Israeli soldiers or killed by artillery fire.

The United Nations Human Rights Council similarly documented the killing of Ghalia Abu Reda in 2014, a Palestinian 70-year-old woman in a wheelchair who was shot in her family home and later featured with an Israeli soldier in a social media post as having been served water before her death. 

Ahmad Qdeh, a journalist from the Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV, then claimed to have witnessed the event and reported his narrative of what happened. 

“Ghalia Ahmad Abu-Reda lived in Khuza’ area in the east of Khan Younis city. I live in that area, too, and I made a television report on her story after the Israeli soldiers had executed her during the aggression,” Qdeh said. 

“During the aggression, an Israeli soldier approached the elderly lady Abu-Reda and took a photo for another soldier while giving her water. They then executed her by shooting her in the head from a one-metre distance and let her bleed until she died.” 

About 200,000 people have fled from the north to the south of Gaza in recent days as Israel pursues a ground offensive and deadly bombardment of Gaza, the UN humanitarian office said Tuesday. Tens of thousands of people are believed to remain in the north.