September 22, 2015: Hadil al-Hashlamun, 18, was killed by Israeli soldiers in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.
The Israeli military initially claimed the woman was shot in her legs, and later said she is in a critical condition.
She was moved to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem where she died of her wounds. According to her family Hadeel was a first-year student at the Hebron University.
The Palestinian government issued a statement condemning the killing of Hadeel and demanded and international and independent investigation into the incident.
Al-Hashlamoun was shot dead at a checkpoint in Hebron city; pictures of the circumstances that led to her fatal shooting, in addition to eyewitness account collected by Amnesty show that the young woman posed no threat to the soldiers, who had no legal justification to use deadly force. The army claimed she carried a knife.
Amnesty International said: “The killing is the latest in a long time of unlawful killings carries out by the Israeli forces in the West Bank, with near total impunity’.
Amnesty added the young woman posed no threat to the lives of the soldiers, and that the army had no justification for the use of lethal force, especially since she froze when the soldiers pointed their guns at her.
It also stated that even if the young woman had a knife, as the army claims, the soldiers, who are wearing body armors, and heavily equipped with advanced weapons, could have could have controlled the situation and arrested her without threatening her life.
“Even if al-Hashlamoun did have a knife, Israeli soldiers, who are protected with body armor and heavily equipped with advanced weapons, could have controlled the situation and arrested her without threatening her life,” Amnesty said.
It added that after al-Hashlamoun was shot the first time, the soldiers shot her multiple times, as she was lying on the ground, an issue that indicates her killing was an extrajudicial execution.
The Israeli Information Center For Human Rights In The Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) said:
“The military’s account of the incident, as reported in the media, is that “a metal detector went off when the Palestinian woman walked through the checkpoint. The soldiers called on her to stop and fired a few warning rounds toward the ground after she continued”. Then, the soldiers claim, “she pulled out a knife, and that’s when they fired shots at her legs. The soldiers said they opened fire for a second time after the woman tried again to raise the knife”.
B’Tselem’s investigation raises doubts as to the veracity of this description.
According to B’Tselem’s information, al-Hashlamun approached the checkpoint from the direction of the neighborhood of Bab a-Zawiya in H1.
She was wearing a Niqab, which covers the entire body, and holding a concealed knife. She aroused suspicion among the soldiers, and they told her to open her purse. For an unknown reason, al-Hashlamun froze and did not respond to their calls.
One soldier shot at the ground, next to her. Fawaz Abu ‘Easheh, a resident of the neighborhood of Tel Rumaidah, who arrived at the scene, thought the young woman did not understand the soldiers’ instructions and tried to help her leave. As she was leaving the checkpoint, with a 1.2 meter metal barrier between her and the soldiers, a soldier called her to stop as he was shooting at the ground next to her, and then at her leg. According to Abu ‘Easheh’s testimony Al-Hashlamum fell, and as she was falling, her right hand was revealed to be holding a knife.
She did not get up, but the soldier shot her again, in the other leg, and seconds later in the torso. Some of the incident was caught on camera by an international volunteer who was at the scene.
The circumstances of the incident indicate that the soldiers at the checkpoint acted disproportionately. They did not try to subdue al-Hashlamun and take her into custody without resorting to live fire.
The claim that al-Hashlamun tried to stab soldiers, repeated by the media, cannot be reconciled with the fact that there was a metal barrier between her and the soldiers at the time of the shooting.
Furthermore, the soldier who opened fire continued shooting after she had been hit in the legs and no longer posed a danger. The military has video documentation of the incident from the checkpoint’s security cameras and should publish it in if it stands behind the soldiers’ version of events.
The military command’s knee jerk defense of the soldiers, as expressed in the military’s response to the incident, sends soldiers on the ground a clear message that when it comes to using force, including lethal force, against Palestinian civilians – there are very little limitations.