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Israeli settler shot dead after allegedly attempting to stab Israeli forces at checkpoint

May 2, 2017 4:48 P.M. (Updated: May 9, 2017 10:05 A.M.)
Israel's Hizma checkpoint, north of Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot dead a 19-year-old Israeli settler, mistaking him for Palestinian, after the young man allegedly attempted to carry out a knife attack on Israeli soldiers Tuesday on the occupied East Jerusalem side of Israel's Hizma checkpoint, which leads to the occupied West Bank.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in an initial statement that a Palestinian attempted to cross "from Jerusalem to Palestinian lands," and "apparently attempted to stab a security officer" at the military checkpoint.

Israeli forces noticed the man approaching, and "immediately neutralized him without any injuries being reported among them," she said, referring to the fact that no Israeli security guards were injured in the alleged attack, and failing to confirm in clear terms that the alleged assailant was shot.

A short while later, al-Samri declared that the man succumbed to fatal gunshot injuries.

However, Israeli police then revealed that the slain main was not in fact a Palestinian, but a 19-year-old Jewish Israeli from the illegal Pisgat Zeev settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, which is adjacent to the Hizma checkpoint.

Al-Samri released another statement, describing the incident in slightly different terms, saying that the man 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 neutralizing him and seizing a knife that he was carrying," she said.

Al-Samri released a photo of a pocket knife purportedly found on the young man.

The shooting represented an rare case of Israeli forces taking lethal action on an Israeli, since Israel has become the target of international condemnation for implementing a "shoot-to-kill" policy on Palestinians who allegedly or actually carry out attacks, while simultaneously fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Last year, Israeli police also accidentally shot dead an Israeli when they opened fire on and killed two Palestinians in Jerusalem.

In the wake of Tuesday's incident, director of the human rights organization al-Haq Shawan Jabarin argued that the killing exposed an Israeli policy of opening fire on Palestinians who do not pose a lethal threat, which is routinely followed by a fabricated statement from Israeli authorities claiming the victim had intended to carry out an attack.

Eyewitnesses have also said in a number of cases that Israeli security forces planted knives on slain Palestinians to claim that they were acting in self-defense during an alleged stabbing attack

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Palestinian government spokesman Yousif al-Mahmoud as saying that the Hizma checkpoint shooting was “a clear indication of the falsehood of the Israeli narrative.”

He said that “when we call for international protection for our people, we do that because we live under the injustice of the Israeli occupation, and today’s incident of the killing of an Israeli settler because they believed he was Palestinian was clear proof of that.”

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