Yesterday, three IDF soldiers confronted an 18 year old Palestinian university student on her way to class at the Shuhada Street checkpoint. Hadeel al Hashlamon was dressed in a burqa (or niqab). Though we don’t know precisely how the incident began, we know how it ended: with her shot multiple times, lying on the ground and slowly bleeding to death while the IDF refused to allow medical emergency personnel to tend to her.
Amnesty International’s special report on the killing calls it “an extrajudicial execution” and “a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions.”
Haaretz: Smearing the Lede
Haaretz’s vaunted reputation as an independent, muckraking publication took a beating from this lede in the story written by Jack Khoury and Gili Cohen:
An [sic] 19-year-old Palestinian woman was shot in Hebron on Tuesday morning after she tried to stab a soldier.
That’s it. The sentence verbatim. No qualifications. Not even the word “alleged.” This is what she did. Not even a qualification noting this was the story offered by the army. Shameful reporting and inexcusable.
We have pictures of the soldiers pointing guns at her shortly before they opened fire. We have an eyewitness (including a picture of him intervening) trying to defuse the situation by approaching the woman and asking the soldiers to hold their fire:
Another witness, Fawaz Abu Aisheh, 34, who appeared in the photographs taken by the activist, said Ms. Hashlamoun did not respond as soldiers screamed at her in Hebrew to step back. A soldier shot at her feet twice, but she did not move, he said.
“She was like a nail, like she was in shock,” he said. “I was shouting, ‘She doesn’t understand Hebrew!’ ”
Mr. Abu Aisheh said he had opened a small gate inside the checkpoint so that she could back away from the soldiers. She did so, creating more distance between her and the soldiers.
“Even if she had a knife, she would have to leap over a barrier about a meter high to reach a soldier,” he said. “There were six or seven soldiers with heavy weapons. There was no need for that assassination.”
The other soldiers who then rushed in fired around her feet and yelled at her to put her hands on the wall, he said. One shot Ms. Hashlamoun in the left leg, then her right, and fired six or seven bullets into her chest and stomach, Mr. Abu Aisheh said.
The ISM website quoted him as well adding further information:
“She was covered completely, there was no knife showing at any time. Even if she did have a knife he could have arrested her so easily. I was there… I could have talked to her, she cooperated with me in that very first moment. I asked her to move and she moved but after that I begged him to let me talk to her but they took me away from her and started pointing their weapons at me. After they shot her more and more soldiers arrived. There were still 3 or 4 kids a few meters from the checkpoint so I moved the kids away. ”
You can be sure that the army will call this eyewitness in for questioning and attempt to browbeat him into submission. He’ll be interrogated for hours by a bunch of goons working for the Shabak. They’ll rough him up, threaten him. It’s terribly inconvenient when the security apparatus needs to circle the wagons and tell the world a bunch of lies. Having a Palestinian telling the truth wrecks the entire effect.
Hadeel collapsed on the pavement, bleeding from the bullet wounds. No one tended her. Settlers laughed and videotaped the incident as if they were at a soccer match. When a Palestinian ambulance arrived, the soldiers detonated stun grenades to force them away (pictured on video). Later, one of the soldiers dragged her body from where it lay (she was still alive presumably) as if it were a sack of refuse or road kill (visible on the video). Approximately 40 minutes after she was shot an Israeli ambulance arrived and she was taken to an Israeli hospital. By then she’d bled to death.
Now for the army version of events: they claim Hadeel had a knife and “threatened a soldier” with it. They acknowledge that no soldier was injured in any way. No evidence shows her holding a knife or slashing at anyone. Nor did the eyewitness closest to the incident see any knife or attack. Later, after the public began complaining on social media, a picture miraculously appeared showing what appears to be a knife on the ground. But the knife could be lying anywhere and there is no direct connection between the knife and her.
Shabak Tramples the Body of the Dead
UPDATE: The following passage is translated from a Mako story which was later censored. The Shabak claims below have been excised from the subsequent version of this report. Either the censor objected or else someone senior to the idiot agent who released this statement thought better of publishing such defamation of a murder victim. The screenshot of the original story is featured here.
The Shabak now performs their usual dog and pony show, poisoning the well by smearing the victim with lies:
In recent months, Hadeel al-Hashlamon told her close friends at several opportunities that she wanted to “do something” and carry out a terror attack. One day before the incident she sought to break off with her boy friend. From an investigation of the event, it appears she was known to the Shabak and expressed her desire to carry out a terror attack and told him she would never see him again.
This is beyond shameful. It’s low. It’s vile. It’s despicable. You know as well as I this is simply invented. There is a crisis for the security apparatus. There will be days of Palestinian riots. Many more will die in the coming days. Anticipating this mayhem, let’s pull some lies out of a hat and gussy them up so they appear somewhat credible. Maybe a few people will believe them and ease the pressure on us. In a week, this will be proven to be a sack of lies. But by then, no one will care and we’ll all be moving on to the next Israeli atrocity. That’s the way it works, I’m afraid.
I have a perfectly simple way for the IDF to prove its version: release the unedited video footage of the security camera at the scene. Show us the knife, show us her holding it, show us her threatening anyone. I’ve tweeted to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner daring him to do this. Naturally, no answer from him.
Here’s what my interpretation is: when the three inexperienced, jumpy soldiers saw a woman in full burqa approaching them, they panicked. They didn’t know whether she was a suicide bomber. They didn’t know what to do. Hadeel did not know Hebrew. Yet the soldiers screamed orders to her only in Hebrew. She did not know what they were telling her to do. She froze. Her “refusal” to obey their orders made them more jumpy. As it was Yom Kippur, a holiday when Israel expects terror attacks, soldiers were probably under heightened readiness for such an attack. When you expect a terror attack, you miraculously provoke one. Except the terror this time was by the Israeli soldiers.
Israel has essentially offered its soldiers shoot to kill orders at anyone or anything that is suspicious in the West Bank or Gaza. This brutal war crime yesterday resulted in the death of an innocent young Palestinian girl.
I have offered in social media to identify by name the killers. That offer stands. Their pictures are clear and should be easy to identify. If anyone knows them please contact me offering proof if possible.
Desecrating the Dead
Israeli settlers photographed and videotaped the killing and its aftermath. One disgusting Peeping Tom photographed al-Hashlomon’s partially-clothed body in the ambulance. A settler Facebook page posted the image (you will only find the post, but not the image here) along with demeaning comments about her and her physical hygiene. After reading the Hebrew comments, note the desperate effort to smear the enemy by attempts at sexual and gender humiliation. I hesitate to translate it because I will feel dirty and need a shower afterward. This post and its entire thread consisting of equally disgusting rightist spew was removed, I’m certain at the insistence of the Israeli military censor.
Of course there will be an investigation. At least Capt. Renault rounded up the usual suspects in Casablanca. This army won’t round up any suspects. The shooters either won’t be available or if they are, the questions will be softballs. No one will be accountable. No will pay a price for murder. There will be a finding of “insufficient evidence.” The IDF lingo for: we’re not touching this with a ten foot pole. Hadeel will be road kill for the Israeli Occupation.
On Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, Sgt. Yanina shares her regrets, memories & triumphs. pic.twitter.com/eRhyD5KEqC
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) September 22, 2015
If you don’t mind cruel irony, contrast the above tragedy with this IDF-sponsored tweet on the Day of Atonement, in which a female soldier testifies to the awe-inspring power of this Day to invoke spiritual awakening and forgiveness of sin. It’s too bad the same IDF didn’t allow Hadeel the opportunity to forgive her murders before they riddled her with bullets.
If you can believe it, a reporter for the Independent actually wrote a story about this tweet as if it were news! The hasbara never ends and the reporters are willing shills for it.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.