Video: Israeli soldiers fire at car, killing elderly woman

Tharwat al-Sharawi, a 72-year-old Palestinian woman, was driving her car normally when Israeli forces opened fire and killed her on Friday, video and an eyewitness confirm.

More than 70 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of October.

Also on Friday, 23-year-old Salama Mousa Abu Jami was shot and fatally injured by Israel occupation forces as he took part in a demonstration near the boundary fence with Israel east of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, Israeli forces shot dead Sulaiman Aqel Muhammad Shahin, 22, from the town of al-Bireh near Ramallah after he allegedly ran his car into a group of Israelis, injuring four people at a junction south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

Hours later, a Palestinian woman was shot and injured after she attempted to stab an Israeli security guard at the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit, near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Ma’an News Agency reported that security footage posted online shows the woman, identified as Hilwa Salim Darwish, pulling a knife from her purse and lunging at the guard, who suffered light injuries.

Also on Sunday, an Israeli soldier wounded after being hit by a Palestinian driver in Hebron last week died of his injuries.

Killed while driving

Tharwat al-Sharawi in an image circulated on social media.

Israel said its forces fired at Tharwat al-Sharawi’s car in Hebron on Friday after she tried to run over soldiers in the city.

The 11-second video above, circulated online on Saturday, appears to show the incident from the perspective of one of the Israeli soldiers.

As blogger Richard Silverstein notes, Israeli media reported that military officials were disturbed that the video leaked out.

Al-Sharawi’s car can be seen coming down the street at moderate speed. The camera appears to be attached to the helmet of a soldier who gestures at al-Sharawi, though it is not clear whether he intends her to pull over to the side of the road or to pass.

The video does not show that the soldiers had set up any clearly visible roadblock and it is possible that the elderly driver could have been impaired by tear gas media reported had been fired heavily in the area.

The video reveals that there are Israeli soldiers both to al-Sharawi’s right and to her left, on a median in the middle of the road.

Several Israeli soldiers standing in the street have no trouble moving out of the way. No one is hit by the vehicle.

But Israeli soldiers, including those on the median, immediately begin firing on the car.

A spokesperson for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem told Ma’an News Agency that al-Sharawi was dead on arrival.

Going to lunch

The Israeli army said it found a commando knife in al-Sharawi’s car, a claim treated with skepticism even by Jerusalem Post editor Seth Frantzman.

Al-Sharawi’s son Ayoub told media his mother had been on her way to lunch at her sister’s house.

Speaking to Israeli media, he ridiculed Israeli claims and asked what his mother could possibly have done to a large group of heavily armed Israeli soldiers even if she had had a knife.

Israeli media identified the soldiers who killed al-Sharawi as belonging to the army’s Kfir brigade.

Al-Sharawi, a mother of seven, was the widow of Fuad al-Sharawi, a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in 1988 during the first intifada.

Eyewitness

An eyewtiness who was injured by the Israeli gunfire works at a gas station near the scene of the incident.

He was interviewed by the publication Donia Al-Watan at Hebron’s al-Ahli hospital on Friday, before the video had emerged.

He said that there were confrontations in the area between Israeli occupation forces and youths.

When they came close to the gas station, the staff closed the station and went up to the second floor of the building.

The Israeli soldiers broke into the station and took its fire extinguishers in order to put out a fire that had been lit outside, the eyewitness said.

He said that the soldiers then went outside and at that moment al-Sharawi’s car approached towards the gas station from the direction of the Ras al-Jora area in what he called a normal manner.

The Israeli soldiers opened fire on it with volleys of bullets.

The eyewitness said al-Sharawi was likely trying to escape towards the gas station from the large amount of tear gas in the Ras al-Jora neighborhood when the soldiers riddled her car with bullets.

Occupation forces then barred medics from reaching her, he said.

More than half of the Palestinians killed since violence escalated at the start of October were killed during alleged, suspected and actual attacks that have killed 11 Israelis.

But videos of many of the incidents show that Palestinians were killed when they posed no immediate danger.

On 18 October an Eritrean man died after being shot and beaten by Israelis who mistakenly believed him to be an attacker at a bus station in Bir al-Saba.

Human rights groups have slammed Israel for executing Palestinians as part of a shoot-to-kill policy encouraged by its top leadership.

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Israeli soldiers have full impunity for these crimes, and lavish encouragement from the government, media and religious authorities.

It's clear from the video that the victim was simply driving through on her way elsewhere. Absurdly, the cowards who opened fire then planted the usual "evidence" on the scene. This is known in Britain as the "belt and braces" approach, ie an exaggerated set of security measures which only highlights the unrealistic anxiety at work. They're claiming she used her car as a weapon against heavily armed soldiers. But in a further effort to bolster the narrative of extreme danger, they add that "she had a knife". What do they expect us to believe, that the woman was shot in the act of stabbing men she was simultaneously running over?

To summarise- they killed her for driving while Palestinian. May Thawat al-Sharawi's family receive justice, support, and condolences from around the world. And Palestine be free.

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When will the International Court decide that Israel is guilty of war crimes, in 2014 and right now? Is it any wonder that Israel is getting away with murdering Palestinians at will, when democracies of the world stay quite. Obama entertains the 2 faced Netanyahu while Palestine burns.

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From the Democracy Now Website.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with President Obama at the White House today, marking the first talks between the two leaders since Netanyahu failed to block the nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu is seeking a major increase in U.S. military aid to Israel over the coming decade, beyond the $3 billion annually the U.S. already provides. The meeting comes as Israeli forces shot dead a young Palestinian woman at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, accusing her of drawing a knife.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.