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Hundreds march in funeral of 16 year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israeli forces

May 17, 2017 8:16 P.M. (Updated: May 18, 2017 2:20 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians from the village of Qarawat Bani Zeid, located in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, marched in the funeral procession for 16-year-old Fatima Hjeiji, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces earlier in the month under disputed circumstances.

Hjeiji’s body was transferred from Israeli authorities on Tuesday evening to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in Jerusalem’s Abu Dis University, where the body was autopsied.

Following the autopsy, the teen’s body was transferred to the Palestinian Medical Complex in Ramallah, where her body was prepared for burial and wrapped in a Palestinian flag, in accordance with Hjeiji’s wishes, which she outlined in a goodbye letter that she left behind for her family.

The funeral set off from the medical complex, where Hjeiji’s body was carried in an ambulance, and eventually offloaded onto the shoulder of mourners, who carried her body towards a hunger-strike solidarity tent in Ramallah’s Yasser Arafat Square.

Hundreds marched in the procession, through Ramallah city’s streets, shouting slogans that against Israeli forces, Israeli settler, and the ongoing security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Mourners then carried on to Hjeiji’s home in Qarawat Bani Zeid village for final farewells, and then to the village’s mosque for funeral prayer before laying the teen to rest in the village’s cemetery.

Dalia Hjeiji, Fatima’s mother, told Ma’an that her daughter’s “wish to become a martyr was answered by God,” while the girl’s father, Afef Hajiji, highlighted that his daughter was shot 21 times, “confirming that Israeli forces deliberately execute Palestinian children.”

Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP) condemned Hjeiji’s killing in a statement Monday, saying that as “international law prohibits the use of direct, intentional lethal force unless absolutely unavoidable,” the teen’s killing “warrants impartial investigation”

“Last year was the deadliest in a decade for Palestinian children in the West Bank, with Israeli forces and guards killing 32 children. While 24 of those killed were accused of committing an attack, DCIP evidence and Israeli internal investigations in several cases determined the child did not pose a direct mortal threat at the time they were killed,” the statement said.

DCIP highlighted the Israel’s policy of excessive use of lethal force on Palestinian civilians, with impunity for the forces who shoot and kill Palestinians accused of committing attacks, noting that “accountability is extremely rare,” and that “Nadeem Nawara, who was killed by an Israeli border policeman on May 15, 2014, marks the single instance where a member of the Israeli forces was indicted for the death of a Palestinian child since 2014.”

According to Ma'an documentation, Hjeiji is the 20th Palestinian to have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of the year, seven of whom were minors. Seven Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.
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