Israeli police kill 16-year old Palestinian girl in Jerusalem

International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) News, May 8, 2017

Updated: On Sunday afternoon, Israeli police shot and killed a 16-year old Palestinian girl near the Damascus gate in Jerusalem.

Although the Israeli police spokesperson claimed that the teen attempted to stab a security officer, that account has been disputed.

The child has been identified as Fatima Afeef Abdul-Rahman Hajiji, 16, from Qarawat Bani Zeid village, northwest of Ramallah, in the central part of the West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said Fatima was standing near the entrance of Bab al-‘Amoud (Damascus Gate), and was at least ten meters away from the near soldier or officer, and that one of the soldiers started shouting “knife, knife,” before five soldiers fired a barrage of bullets at the child.

Fatima killed (Ma'an image)They added that the Fatima was first shot with several live rounds in the chest, and the soldiers continued to fire at her after she fell onto the ground.

Many live rounds also struck a Palestinian Taxi, parked nearby, causing damage and puncturing one of its tires.

Photos of the deceased show that she was shot and killed at quite a distance from the guard post, so even if she had been holding a knife (which is disputed), no security officers were in danger at the time when she was killed.

Following the fatal shooting of the child, the soldiers used pepper-spray against dozens of Palestinians who gathered in the area, especially close to Fatima.

In addition, the soldiers assaulted many Palestinians, including children, in Sultan Suleiman Street, causing a child, identified as Mahmoud Abu Sbeih, 9, to fall from a high altitude after mounted officer chased him and many other Palestinians.

Hundreds of soldiers and mounted police officers were deployed in the area, closed many roads and alleys, and forced the Palestinians away.

Seven children and 13 adult Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2017. Although Israeli officials claim that most of these cases involved Palestinians attempting to attack Israelis, there have been multiple occasions, documented on camera, in which Israeli soldiers planted knives on or near the bodies of Palestinians they had killed.

Since October 2015, Israeli soldiers, settlers and police have killed 262 Palestinian civilians. 41 Israelis have been killed in the same time period.

Israeli Soldiers Execute Palestinian Girl in Occupied Jerusalem

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), May 8, 2017

As part of the Israeli policy to use excessive and lethal force against Palestinian civilians, who are suspected by Israeli soldiers of intending to carry out stab attacks against the soldiers, on Sunday, 07 May 2017, Israeli forces killed a girl at the southern entrance to the Damascus Gate “al-‘Amoud” in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns this heinous crime. PCHR stresses this crime was committed after the Israeli political and military leaders gave the Israeli soldiers the green light to shed the Palestinian blood in light of the international community’s policy to tolerate Israel for crimes committed by the Israeli soldiers against Palestinian civilians.

According to PCHR’s investigations and testimonies by eyewitnesses to PCHR’s fieldworker in occupied Jerusalem, at approximately 19:00 on the abovementioned day, Fatmah ‘Afif ‘Abdel Rahman Hjeiji (16), from Qarawet Bani Zaid village, northwest of Ramallah, was walking 10 meters away from a police checkpoint, which is permanently established at the southern entrance to the Damascus Gate. One of the soldiers suddenly screamed out, “knife”. Immediately, the Israeli soldiers stationed there opened fire at the girl. As a result, 30 live bullets hit her body; some of them penetrated her chest and waist from the right side. Therefore, Fatmah was killed on the spot. Eyewitnesses emphasized that after the girl fell on the ground, the Israeli soldiers continued shooting at her and not only attempting to wound or arrest her.

Following this, the Israeli police deployed in the area closed the scene and prevented anyone from approaching the girl, whose body had been on the ground for an hour. The police officers attacked and pushed dozens of civilians away. They chased Mahmoud Abu Sbeih (9) until he fell from height in the Damascus Gate area and was then taken to the hospital to receive medical treatment.

Luba al-Samri, the Israeli police spokesperson, published a statement claiming that “According to the preliminary information available, it was an attempt to a stab attack carried out by a girl that was neutralized without injuries among the police officers.”

PCHR condemns this crime that resulted in the killing of Hjeiji on grounds of suspicion of a stab attack, and:

    1. Calls upon the United Nations to offer international protection to the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and to guarantee that protection;

    2. Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to ensure that Israel commit to the application of Geneva Conventions in the oPt as a State Party to those conventions;

    3. Demands the states signing the Geneva conventions to fulfill their obligations to guarantee the application of the conventions by resorting to the principle of Universal Jurisdiction to prosecute the war criminals regardless of their nationality or place of the crime to pave the way for prosecuting the Israeli war criminals and stop the impunity they enjoy for decades; and

    4. Calls upon the state applying the principle of Universal Jurisdiction to not be affected by the Israeli pressure aiming at putting an end to the Universal Jurisdiction to keep the Israeli war criminals shielded by the impunity they enjoy.

#ObliteratedFamilies – Al-Najjar Family

During the 2014 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, 142 Palestinian families lost three or more members. Some of the families were wiped out entirely.

The #ObliteratedFamilies project tells the stories of some of these families, their loved ones who were killed and those left behind.

I don’t want to remember that day
Al-Najjar family, Bani Suheila, east of Khan Younis
19 people killed
26 July 2014

A tribute to the man I can’t forget
Based on the recollections of Anne Paq,
written together with Ala Qandil and Dylan Collins

More than a week into covering Israel’s offensive in Gaza, my body was on auto-pilot: grab the equipment, look for a high point, climb, hold camera steady, document. And, of course, get people’s names – it wasn’t always possible to get much more than that. Often, I had to choose between catching a few more shots and running after those I had photographed in hopes they would share their names with me despite the chaos of the rushed funerals, hectic hospital corridors, and morgues overflowing with bodies, blood, sweat, and tears of the bereaved. It was in the hospitals that we often learned the news about the latest attacks. This was also how we found out about the scale of the destruction and death in the village of Khuza’a: in Khan Younis hospital, in the southern end of the Strip.

The hospital courtyard was full of people who had just managed to escape nearby Khuza’a, a besieged village. Ambulances could barely get through the crowds. Some people were crying, some screaming, and everyone tried to ask the paramedics arriving in the ambulances about their loved ones. Many survivors had been forced to flee and leave injured and dead family members behind. They told us about scores of dead, of others still trapped by the relentless bombing, of ambulances unable to reach the injured, of the flattened houses of their village.

It was the end of July and we were not even close to realizing the full scale of the death and destruction the Israeli tanks, artillery, ground troops, and aircraft had wreaked upon Gaza’s border areas like Khuza’a. As the fighting intensified, the Israeli military declared the outer boundaries of the Gaza Strip to be “sterile combat zones.” The inhabitants, the majority of whom had been forced to flee, as well as medics and journalists, were barred from reaching the area. The intention behind the move, as noted by the UN’s independent commission of inquiry, was that “the people remaining in the area would no longer be considered civilians and thus benefit from the protection afforded by their civilian status”.

26 JULY 2014
Destroyed neighbourhood of Shuja'iyya, east of Gaza city
26 JULY 2014, Destroyed neighbourhood of Shuja’iyya, east of Gaza city

#ObliteratedFamilies – Siyam Family

During the 2014 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, 142 Palestinian families lost three or more members. Some of the families were wiped out entirely.

The #ObliteratedFamilies project tells the stories of some of these families, their loved ones who were killed and those left behind.

“She carried me in her arms from al-Abbasiyye”
Siyam family, Rafah
13 people killed
July 21, 2014

Obliterated. Her family was obliterated. Little Mayar, a noisy rascal of a girl, runs back and forth through the guest room, harassing the goats, sometimes aggressively demanding affection and attention from her grandparents Makhrous and Dalal, sometimes being a cutie and posing for the camera. She understands only to some degree what happened in 2014. She lost her parents, and her only sibling, 5-year-old Moin.

Nabil and his son Baderaddin, standing in the place where the Siyam family was attacked.

Nabil’s immediate family was obliterated too, but unlike his niece Mayar, the 36-year-old is acutely aware of the loss. He lost his wife Shirin and four little children: Gheidaa’, Mustafa, Abdel Rahman, and Dalal. Nabil and his now 7-year-old son Baderaddin are the only survivors. Both were seriously injured, and Nabil’s left arm was torn off in the explosion.

#ObliteratedFamilies – Al-Kilani Family

During the 2014 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, 142 Palestinian families lost three or more members. Some of the families were wiped out entirely.

The #ObliteratedFamilies project tells the stories of some of these families, their loved ones who were killed and those left behind.

“Don’t worry. This is routine for us.”
Al-Kilani family, Beit Lahiya
11 people killed
July 21, 2014

Fatma al-Kilani walks briskly into the room, gives it a quick glance, and locks her eyes on her son Saleh. She is mumbling a stream of barely intelligible words. Suddenly, she asks her son in a clear voice, “Saleh, did you find them?” When there is no answer, just an embarrassed, apologetic smile, she goes back to muttering and wandering around the house. She does not know how to sit still. Neither did her younger son, Ibrahim.

Fatma al-Kilani, always searching or waiting for her son Ibrahim to return home. Here, she embraces her eldest, Saleh.

Life in Gaza has always been consumed by war, says Saleh, remembering his childhood. When the planes were flying over their heads back in the ‘60s, he and his friends used to run to the nearest orchard. The kids hid under the fruit trees, looking up to the sky through the leaves, and picked sweet figs straight from the lower branches while waiting for the planes to leave. But so much has changed since 1967, including the destructive powers of the Israeli airfleet, now armed with cutting-edge technology field-tested on Gazans. The fruit orchards that used to shelter kids in Beit Lahiya, the town in the northern Gaza Strip where the Kilani family lives, were replaced with tightly packed houses. The nearby cemetery, previously a site of sparsely scattered graves, has filled up with the tombs of entire families killed in the Israeli attacks during the 2014 war. Saleh passes by that cemetery quite often.

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