United Kingdom — An 18-year-old Palestinian girl has died from wounds sustained after she was shot by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday morning.
The teenager is the second Palestinian to be killed in 24 hours in the occupied West Bank after 21-year-old Dia al-Talameh was killed in the village of Khursa. An Israeli army spokesperson told Al-Jazeera the 21-year-old intended to throw a molotov cocktail at a military vehicle and it detonated on himself. Palestinian security officials claim he was shot by Israeli troops.
Initial Israeli media reports claimed the 18-year-old university student Hadeel Hashlamon was shot in her lower body after she attempted to stab a soldier at Hebron’s Shuhada Street checkpoint on Tuesday morning.
It later emerged that the teenager was shot several times, including in the chest. Locals deny she was carrying a knife.
Eye-witness Fawaz abu Aisheh said that teenager — who was carrying a large school satchel — froze because she didn’t understand what the soldiers were screaming at her in Hebrew.
“I tried to talk with her, she was terrified. She knew nothing,” he said. He described begging soldiers to let him to take her away from the checkpoint.
The impunity that Israel historically enjoys from prosecution for war crimes means we will probably never know what happened. Whether the young soldier was fearful the young student was carrying a bomb or simply panicked because she was fully covered in a niqab, she didn’t follow his orders — so he shot her.
“She was covered completely, there was no knife showing at any time. Even if she did have a knife he could have arrested her so easily. I was there, I could have talked to her, she cooperated with me in that very first moment,” Abu Aisheh told the International Solidarity Movement.
The ugly face of Israel’s dehumanisation of Palestinians was further revealed in a disturbing video by Palmedia that showed the aftermath of the shooting. Not only were paramedics prevented from approaching the teenager, but Israeli settlers laughed and pointed as she bled on the ground. Israeli soldiers are shown casually standing around and chatting before dragging her body out of shot by the feet.
Even if there was a knife, the answer to why the most moral army in the world didn’t employ an alternative than to use close-range, rapid fire straight into the chest of a Palestinian teenager lies in Israel’s long history of literally getting away with murder.
Young soldiers based throughout occupied Palestine — many of whom are 19-years-old themselves — are fully secure in the knowledge that there will be little to no recourse for their actions. After all, what’s another dead Palestinian? They would have only grown up to be a terrorist.