Jewish settler with knife mistaken for Palestinian is shot dead at West Bank checkpoint

Israeli forces accused of ‘double standard’ after initial police report identified assailant as Palestinian attacker 

Friday 05 May 2017 12:58
A member of the Israeli border police stands guard at Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank in this file photo from 13 December, 2016
A member of the Israeli border police stands guard at Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank in this file photo from 13 December, 2016

The Israel Defence Force (IDF) has shot dead an Israeli man who attempted a knife attack on soldiers at a checkpoint in the West Bank after initially mistaking him for Palestinian.

The 19-year-old from the settlement of Pisgat Zeev, who has not been named by police, allegedly tried to stab an IDF member on Tuesday at Hizma, near East Jerusalem, before he was shot.

A statement issued by police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said that a Palestinian attempted to cross “from Jerusalem to Palestinian lands” was noticed by the military approaching before he “apparently attempted to stab a security officer.”

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Israeli forces “immediately neutralised him without any injuries being reported among them,” the statement continued, without detailing how he had died.

A second statement from police noted that the dead man was in fact an Israeli citizen rather than a Palestinian, who had “approached security forces in a hurry at the Hizma checkpoint, coming from a main road from Pisgat Zeev, and was carrying an object in his hand.

“Forces noticed him and feeling that they were in real danger, they immediately started procedures to arrest him, ultimately neutralising him and seizing a knife that he was carrying.”

The alleged assailant died from fatal gunshot injuries, the statement said. A photo of the knife used in the assault accompanied the release.

The handling of the incident and its aftermath is being widely viewed by Palestinians as an example of double standards with which Israelis and Palestinians are treated by the IDF.

The shooting is “a clear indication of the falsehood of the Israeli narrative,” Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesperson Yusef al-Mahmoud told Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency.

“When we call for international protection for our people, we do that because we live under the injustice of the Israeli occupation, and [the] incident of the killing of an Israeli settler because they believed he was Palestinian was clear proof of that.”

The Independent’s request for comment from the Israeli military was not immediately answered.

It is rare for the IDF to use deadly force on Israeli citizens. Police accidentally killed an Israeli in Jerusalem when they opened fire on two Palestinian assailants in an incident in December 2015.

Rights groups and other observers, however, have long accused Israel of using “disproportinate force” and implementing a “shoot-to-kill” policy on alleged Palestinian attackers.

More than 150 Palestinians were fatally shot in cases where non-lethal force was not necessary in 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report.

Israel says that most of those killed were a danger to either security personnel or the public.

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