The United Nations has demanded an inquiry into the coercive forced stripping of five Palestinian women by Israeli soldiers during a raid on their residence in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil. This action has also elicited strong condemnation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Israeli military forces entered the home of the Ajluni family in the early morning hours of July 10. Two female soldiers escorted the 53-year-old mother, her 17-year-old daughter, and the three daughters-in-law, all in their 20s, into the children’s room, where they were compelled to remove their clothing.
While carrying rifles and accompanied by an attack dog, the soldiers also issued threats of unleashing the dog if the Palestinian women did not comply with the order to undress. Notably, the soldiers conducted body searches of the men while they remained clothed.
When questioned about the incident, Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, stated, “We would stand against any form of collective punishment.” He further emphasized that this reported incident necessitates a comprehensive and thorough investigation.
Additionally, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, expressed her deep dismay over such occurrences, describing them as “utterly shocking” and stressing the imperative need to halt this ongoing assault on individuals and their rights.
Amal Ajluni, one of the women subjected to the search, shared her ordeal with the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, saying,
“I can’t forget what happened. The search and the humiliation I went through in front of the [female] soldiers, and the helplessness and shame I felt in front of my children. They are now afraid to sleep in their room at night and come to our bed. They don’t sleep well and wet the bed, and when they wake up, they are scared to go to the bathroom.”
In response, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a forceful condemnation of the incident and called on international organizations to exert pressure on Israel to cease its continuous violations of human rights in Palestine.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh denounced the shocking violation against the Ajluni family, characterizing it as a provocative, disgraceful, and morally bankrupt act that reflects a complete lack of human values.
The Palestinian parliament’s human rights committee issued a statement denouncing the strip search, describing it as a demonstration of the extent of the occupation’s brutality on the world stage. They urged the establishment of an international investigative committee.
The Hamas resistance movement vowed retaliation, considering the incident a perilous escalation that will not be overlooked by the Palestinian people and their resistance. They emphasized their steadfastness against the occupation’s transgressions until the last soldier and settler are removed from their occupied land.
Tarik Salami, a spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad resistance movement, called on Palestinians in al-Khalil and other West Bank cities to escalate their confrontations with the occupation and seek retribution for the assault.