British recruit involved in killing of Palestinian teen

Israeli occupation forces fatally shot a Palestinian teenager on Tuesday.

The Israeli army claimed Atallah Muhammad Harb Rayan was attempting a stabbing attack when he was killed at a junction near the Barkan settlement near the occupied West Bank town of Salfit.

Rayan was from the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan near Salfit. He was 17 years old, Defense for Children International Palestine confirmed. He is the first Palestinian child Israel has killed this year.

Local media circulated a picture of a computer science exam the 12th grader had taken earlier in the day.
One of the soldiers involved in the incident is reportedly a British citizen.

“L.” – as she was identified by the Israeli army and media – said she “knocked him back with my weapon,” and that “he went back and forth between me and my commander, trying to stab us.”

The Jerusalem Post identified “L.” as a lone soldier from London in the Israeli army. The publication appears to name “L.” as Lian Harush in the caption of the main image in the article – the same picture of “L.” posted by the Israeli army.

Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper confirmed that 22-year-old Lian Harush came to Israel by herself from Britain to join Israel’s occupation army.

Israel systematically recruits Jews from around the world to join its army and participate directly in the occupation of Palestinian land.

It even engages in such recruitment in Canada, where it is illegal.

Harush’s commander, named “Y.” by The Jerusalem Post, said that as Rayan “began assaulting” the British lone soldier, “she knocked him back with her weapon a few times,” before the commander loaded his gun and shot him once.

“After which we kept hitting him with our weapons,” he said.

Local news sources published pictures and video of the aftermath of Rayan’s shooting. They show a person lying by a fence with heavily armed soldiers surrounding him.

There is no apparent effort to provide first aid.

In one video, a man tries to approach the soldiers and Rayan’s body, but soldiers yell at him and he walks away.
“L.” reportedly “called her parents in London from the scene” to tell them that she was fine.

As in many previous cases in which an alleged Palestinian attacker was killed, no Israeli soldiers or civilians were injured during the incident.

While Israeli forces kill Palestinians with distressing frequency, shootings involving female Israeli soldiers are rare.

Rayan’s killing is reminiscent of the 2012 slaying of 17-year-old Palestinian Muhammad al-Salaymeh at a checkpoint near his home in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Nofar Mizrahi, the female soldier who fired the fatal shots, claimed that al-Salaymeh was holding a pistol to the neck of another soldier when she shot him.

Video that emerged afterward revealed her account to be a lie.

Ali Abunimah contributed reporting.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since initial publication.

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A 17 year old boy with, apparently, a knife. Even if it is true that Rayan was attacking the IDF soldiers, how hard is it for heavily armed men and women to tackle a lone youth without having to kill him? At the very least, why not shot him in the leg or the foot? Will we ever know what happened? Did Rayan really attack with nothing but a knife, on his own? Didn't he know that by so doing he would end up dead? Soldiers with protective gear and weapons have little to fear from a single youth with a knife. To disarm him and arrest him should have been easy. But, of course, he was a terrorist. He'd have been a terrorist if he'd been sucking a lollipop. Police forces across the world encounter people with knives every day. Few incidents result in a fatal shooting, for obvious reasons. We will probably never know what happened, but unless Rayan had a death wish it seems unlikely he would have decided to take on a plurality of soldiers on his own with nothing but a knife. Another young life taken. Another egregious example of overweening Israeli arrogance. Armed to the height of its paranoia, Israel sees threats on all sides, but the real threat comes from its racism, brutality and fear of democracy.

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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.