Israeli settlement guards kill young Palestinians

Mourners carry the body of Ruqayya Abu Eid during her West Bank funeral on 24 January. The 13-year-old girl was shot dead by an Israeli settlement security guard the day prior.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Two young Palestinians were shot dead by a security guard in an Israeli settlement after allegedly stabbing two women on Monday. One of the women, 24-year-old Shlomit Krigman, died from her injuries the following day.

The incident took place at a supermarket in Beit Horon settlement near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israeli media reported that Ibrahim Usama Allan, 23, and Hussein Abu Ghosh, 17, were shot as they ran, suggesting the two may have been extrajudicially executed.

The incident came two days after Ruqayya Abu Eid, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, was shot dead by a security guard after she allegedly tried to stab him in the Anatot settlement near Jerusalem.

A Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, condemned the girl’s slaying.

“Even if she had a knife, it would have been possible to arrest a girl that age instead of killing her,” Esawi Frej of the Meretz party said.

“Instead of attacking the Swedish foreign minister and claiming that her comments are detached from reality, Netanyahu should check what’s happening in his country and how children are being killed without a trial,” Frej added.

The Israeli prime minister and other top officials lashed out against Sweden earlier this month after its foreign minister, Margot Wallström, called for an investigation into the slayings of dozens of Palestinians in recent months.

Abu Eid was buried in the village of al-Karmel east of the West Bank town of Yatta, near Hebron, on Sunday.

West Bank attacks

A 15-year-old from Yatta was detained on suspicion of stabbing and killing an Israeli woman, 39-year-old Dafna Meir, in the settlement of Otniel last week.

Also last week, Othman Muhammad Shaalan, 19, from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, was shot and injured after stabbing and injuring a pregnant Israeli woman in the Tekoa settlement.

A security guard fired at Shaalan, wounding the boy in his leg.

Nabil Halabiya, 17, from the village of Abu Dis near Jerusalem, was killed on Saturday when a bomb he was carrying exploded.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said that medical personnel were delayed for two hours before being allowed to evacuate Halabiya’s body, the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported.

The following day, an unknown assailant fired on a vehicle being driven by an Israeli near the Dolev settlement. An Israeli army spokesperson told the Ma’an News Agency that no injuries were reported.

More than 160 Palestinians and approximately two dozen Israelis, as well as a US citizen, have been slain in a spike of deadly confrontations since the beginning of October.

Most of those Palestinians slain were shot dead by Israeli soldiers and police during alleged attacks. Dozens of others were killed during protests.

Human rights groups have criticized Israel for reflexively using lethal force when alleged attackers do not pose an immediate threat to anyone’s life.

That appears to be the case in the slaying of Wisam Qasarwah, 21, at the Huwwara military checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on 16 January.

Describing it as a “crime of excessive use of force,” the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported that Qasarwah had thrown a knife towards soldiers stationed at the checkpoint, injuring none.

Snipers stationed in a military tower immediately shot the young man dead. A medical examination found that Qasarwah was hit by 10 bullets throughout his body, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Slain on way to class

In other cases, Palestinians may not have been attempting any attack when they were slain.

An investigation by Haaretz found that 17-year-old Adnan Mashni was shot dead by Israeli soldiers at Beit Einoun junction near the West Bank city of Hebron while on his way to physics class on 12 January.

Mashni had traveled to the junction in a taxi van and crossed the road and entered into a second van when another young man in the vehicle jumped out and yelled “God is great” while brandishing a knife or hatchet, according to Haaretz.

The armed young man, Muhammad Kawazba from the village of Sair, was immediately shot and killed.

The driver of the van from which Kawazba emerged “tried to drive away as fast as he could, for fear that he too would be shot,” Haaretz added.

“The soldiers, seeing the vehicle pulling out, opened fire at it, though they had no idea who was inside it.”

The driver managed to escape on foot while Mashni, still inside the van, was struck in the upper right side of his body and died soon after in hospital.

This story was updated on Tuesday, 26 January.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.