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Israeli forces detain 14-year-old Palestinian girl at Qalandiya checkpoint

May 20, 2017 2:24 P.M. (Updated: May 21, 2017 11:49 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained a teenage Palestinian girl at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem on Saturday, with Israeli police claiming she had attempted to carry out a stabbing attempt on Israeli forces.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that security forces at the checkpoint noticed a Palestinian girl approaching them while walking down the vehicle lane. They ordered her to stop, but she reportedly ignored their directives and continued to walk towards them.

When Israeli forces noticed the knife in her hand they began to detain her "without any injuries," al-Samri said.

Al-Samri added that the girl was 14 years old and was transferred for questioning with Israeli authorities.

Hebrew-language media sources said that the teenager had attempted to stab the soldiers before Israeli forces used pepper spray on the girl and detained her.

In a video of the arrest taken by a bystander from inside a vehicle and circulated on social media, a man is heard pleading with Israeli soldiers, first in Arabic and later in Hebrew, not to shoot the girl. "Don't shoot her! That's enough! Don't shoot! She is young, just tie her!" as she sits crouching on the pavement with her head in her hands.

Then addressing the girl, the same man shouts, "Just stay there as you are, girl," as a soldier tackles her to the ground to handcuff her, and at least one other soldier stands by, aiming his gun at her at close range. Another person can then be heard saying in Arabic that there is a knife in her bag, though a knife is not apparently visible in the footage.

Al-Samri later reported in a statement, presumably after the teen was interrogated, that "it was revealed during investigation that the girl left her house with a knife in her possession intending to carry out a terrorist stabbing attack again security forces, to retaliate for the death of the terrorist who carried out an attack at Damascus Gate about two weeks ago" -- referring to the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Fatima Hjeiji, which witnesses described as a "cold blooded killing."

Israeli forces have detained scores of Palestinians for allegedly being in possession of knives in recent months following a spate of alleged and actual small-scale knife attacks by Palestinians that surged in Fall 2015. Rights groups have also routinely accused Israeli authorities of implementing a "shoot to kill" policy that has resulted in the deaths of scores of Palestinians, most of whom could have been detained without Israeli forces responding with live ammunition.

In 2016, 112 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and settlers, while 23 Palestinians have been killed since the start of 2017.

While Israel alleges many of those were attempting to attack Israelis when they were shot, Palestinians and rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases, with eyewitnesses also attesting to have seen Israeli forces plant knives at the scene of alleged attempting knife attacks.
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