Unarmed Palestinian girl, 13, shot at Israeli checkpoint

Palestinian police said she was shot when she tried to run away, but Israel’s defence ministry claimed she refused to stop at a checkpoint

JERUSALEM // An unarmed 13-year-old Palestinian girl was shot and moderately wounded by Israeli guards on Wednesday in the latest incident in an upsurge of violence.

Palestinian police said she was shot when she tried to run away. But Israel’s defence ministry claimed she refused to stop at a checkpoint near the Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashe and the Palestinian town of Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank.

The ministry said the girl was not carrying a weapon and had told Israeli investigators: “I came to die.”

A relative of the girl was killed in the same place last year while allegedly trying to stab soldiers, according to Palestinian police.

Israeli authorities said the girl arrived “on foot with a suspicious bag at the vehicle-only lane of the Eliyahu crossing which is not open to foot traffic”.

“Guards at the crossing called for her to stop several times and then fired warning shots into the air. When this did not stop her, a single shot was fired at her leg.”

A new surge of violence began on Friday after Palestinians wrapped up the Muslim celebration of Eid Al Adha and as Israel tightened security ahead of major Jewish holidays in October.

There have been nine attacks or attempted attacks by Palestinians against Israelis since then, according to Israeli authorities.

The upsurge has shattered several weeks of relative calm.

The attacks included one on Monday in which a Palestinian stabbed two Israeli police officers outside Jerusalem’s Old City, leaving one in serious condition and another moderately wounded.

The assailant in that case was shot and seriously wounded.

Violence since last October has killed 230 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.

Israel claimed most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks. Others were shot dead during protests or killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza.

Many analysts said Palestinian frustration with the Israeli occupation and settlement building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have helped feed the unrest.

Israel said incitement by Palestinian leaders and media is a main cause of the violence.

Also on Wednesday, Palestinian municipal polls scheduled for October 8 were postponed, delaying a ruling on whether to hold the first vote since 2006 that would include both Fatah and Hamas.

The Palestinian high court in the Fatah-led West Bank put off its ruling until October 3, only five days before the scheduled date for the elections.

Two weeks of campaigning are usually allotted for Palestinian elections and had been set to begin on Friday.

In response, the electoral commission confirmed that the October 8 date “is no longer applicable”. No new date was set.

On September 8, the court suspended the elections following disputes between the rival Fatah and Hamas movements over candidate lists.

The Hamas movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, boycotted the last Palestinian municipal elections in 2012, but was due to participate this year.

Fatah and Hamas have not contested an election since 2006 parliamentary polls, which Hamas won — sparking a conflict that led to near civil war in Gaza the following year.

* Agence France-Presse, with additional reporting from Associated Press

Published: September 21, 2016 04:00 AM


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