Border Policewoman who shot a Palestinian in Hebron pointing a gun at her colleague. "I rushed out of my position realizing that I had only a number of seconds because my fighter was in mortal danger. I saw that the two were struggling with each other. I found an angle that allowed me to open fire quickly and I fired off one round" • After investigation, handgun turned out to be fake.
Yori Yalon, Efrat Forsher, and Israel Hayom Staff
The Border Policewoman who shot the Palestinian boy in Hebron.
Photo credit: Oren Nachshon
Scenes from the start of a Third Intifada? IDF troops in Hebron on Thursday.
"Your end is near." Soldier's photo published with a threat.
Photo credit: Facebook
Fresh riots broke out in the flashpoint city of Hebron on Thursday as a Palestinian youth shot and killed by Israeli Border Police on Wednesday was buried. Dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at IDF troops, who responded with crowd dispersal munitions. The Palestinians report five people injured in the protest.
An Israel Border Policewoman, 19, shot and killed a Palestinian youth on Wednesday night in Hebron after the latter pointed a handgun at the head of another Border Policeman at a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs.
It was only after police forensics teams investigated the scene that it was discovered that the gun the Palestinian youth was brandishing was fake, Border Police commander Maj. Gen. Amos Yakov told Army Radio on Thursday morning. Yakov said that any Border Police officer would have acted the same way, as the handgun looked real. Yakov said the policewoman acted quickly and correctly when she assessed that her colleague's life was in danger.
"We're talking about Hebron, which is a volatile area. And it was dark and cold. So when you look at the gun used, in daylight it looks very real, so in the darkness in a tense situation it looked very real," Yakov added.
The Palestinian Maan News Agency identified the man as Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah,17. Salaymah's brother was reportedly a terrorist released in the Gilad Schalit prisoner swap deal and banished to the Gaza Strip.
Riots broke out after the incident, with scores of Palestinians hurling stones and firebombs at troops stationed near the Cave of the Patriarchs. The IDF is on high alert in Hebron, a flashpoint city with a long history of confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians. Tensions are running high in Hebron and other areas of the West Bank. The incident in Hebron is the latest in a series of confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank since Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received nonmember state status from the United Nations General Assembly on November 29.
According to a report on Israel Radio on Thursday, the IDF is no longer denying that there is a signifcant escalation of violence in the West Bank. The IDF has been carrying out more arrests and raids recently, the report stated. Earlier in the week an IDF patrol was confronted by Palestinian Authority Police in Hebron, after which a riot broke out and the unit had to extricate itself. On Thursday and Friday, Hamas is set to hold rallies in the West Bank with the approval of the Palestinian Authority. The rallies are also likely to raise tensions in the area. Also on Thursday, police arrested three Palestinian teenagers, residents of east Jerusalem, on the suspicion that they attacked a Jewish man near the Nablus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday. The victim suffered light wounds, and the Palestinians reject the suspicions against them. Furthermore, stones were thrown at Israeli vehicles in northern Samaria on Wednesday night, causing no injuries but vehicles were damaged.
A military source told Israel Radio on Thursday that the IDF does not limit soldiers' authorization to open fire when necessary. "We obligate every soldier to think about whether he or she feels a threat, and if they do, they are authorized to open fire. A soldier in a life threatening situation needs to use his weapon."
The source added that in the last year there have been more incidents involving unnecessary fire than incidents in which soldiers withheld fire.
From an initial investigation into Wednesday's incident, the Border Police said Wednesday that at around 6:30 p.m. a Palestinian youth approached a Border Police station 160 between the Cave of the Patriarchs and Kiryat Arba, and aroused the suspicion of the police officers. The latter ordered the Palestinian to identify himself, who then produced an ID card. Shortly afterward, the Palestinian pulled out a gun and rushed one of the policemen, aiming the gun at the policeman's head. A Border Policewoman stationed at the post opened fire at the Palestinian, fatally wounding him. Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for Israel Police, said that "a Palestinian pulled a pistol in front of border police on patrol in Hebron" near a flashpoint holy site after darkness fell. "Police opened fire at him, critically injuring him. He was later pronounced dead at the scene," Rosenfeld said. Rosenfeld said an initial investigation indicated "he pulled a fake pistol. They [officers at the scene] thought it was real ... it's not clear why he did that."
The policewoman who shot the Palestinian said that she saw the Palestinian pointing the gun at her colleague. "I rushed out of my position realizing that I had only a number of seconds because my fighter was in mortal danger. I saw that the two were struggling with each other. I found an angle that allowed me to open fire quickly and I fired off one round. Once that separated them, I fired two more rounds. The Palestinian dropped, with his gun. I wasn't afraid and I didn't hesitate and I did the right thing. I think that any other fighter in my place would have done exactly the same thing. I acted as is expected of me. We're here to protect and to serve, and the life of my friend was in danger," the policewoman said. The Border Police spokesperson said that sappers discovered that the pistol was fake and made of metal.
While Israeli newspapers published a photograph of the policewoman on their front pages with her face blurred, some photos of the woman appeared on Arabic Facebook pages with her face shown. Under the photo is the following caption: "Wanted for international justice — we demand that this murderer be tried at The Hague Court."