Questions You Should be Asking the World Around You
And it’s mostly due to American gullibility.
Iman Darweesh Al Hams. 13-year old Palestinian girl killed by IDF. October 5, 2004.
Dania Irshayyid. 17 year old Palestinian girl executed in the West Bank. October 25, 2015.
Iman was a 13-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fire near a military observation post in a “no-man’s” zone near the Philadelphi Route on 5 October 2004, in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF commander of the soldiers who shot her was accused by his comrades and Palestinian witnesses of using automatic fire to deliberately shoot her repeatedly, a subject which was brought into investigation. During trial, he expressed no regret over his actions and said he would have done the same even if the girl was a 3-year-old. Human rights groups cite her death as one of several incidents which illustrate a “culture of impunity” in the IDF. Some key witnesses later recanted their testimony. The commander was charged with illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by an Israeli military court but was found not guilty.
In 2010 a Jerusalem district court found the claim that “Captain R.” had shot Al Hams multiple times to “verify” her death, made by Ilana Dayan in her Uvda (Fact) TV show on Telad, to be libelous, and required them to air a correction and for Telad to pay NIS 300,000. A 2012 decision by the Israeli Supreme Court acquitted Dayan and reduced the damages to NIS 100,000, finding that the statements were “correct at the time of their broadcast”, based on honest belief, verified facts and credible sources. The court found that “Captain R” had been unaware that the death he was running out to verify had been that of a 13-year-old girl, but that Ilana Dayan was unaware of this.
Soldiers said they opened fire on the girl because they initially thought she was planting a bomb, although the tape recording of the radio conversation between soldiers at the scene reveals that, from the beginning, she was identified as a child and at no point was a bomb spoken about nor was she described as a threat. After she was hit, soldiers claimed the unit’s commanding officer went up to her and kept on shooting her, despite their pleas to stop. No explosives or weapons were found on the girl’s body. A search of her bag revealed that it was filled with textbooks.
According to Umar Abu Khalifa, 25, “Israeli soldiers stormed the area, the girl left the bag and tried to run. Bullets hit the (girl’s) bag and then soldiers opened fire on the girl.”
Palestinian witnesses reported that it was more than an hour before Israeli troops would allow medics to evacuate the body in an ambulance. At least fifteen bullets were found in the girl’s body by Palestinian hospital officials.
Dr. Mohammed al-Hams, who inspected the child’s body told The Guardian newspaper that:
“She has at least 17 bullets in several parts of the body, all along the chest, hands, arms, legs … The bullets were large and shot from a close distance. The most serious injuries were to her head. She had three bullets in the head.
Ehab Hams, an older brother of the slain girl, expressed his distrust of Israeli military justice: “We demand the prosecution of Iman’s killer (but) we do not trust the Israeli judicial system.” He added, “My sister was an innocent little girl.”
A documentary screened nationwide on Ilana Dayan’s Uvda (“Fact”) investigative program on Israel’s Channel 2 aired an audio recording of the internal communications between soldiers at the post at the time of the incident.
According to the audio recording, the soldiers of the Givati Brigade identified the victim as “a girl, about 10 years old”, describing her as looking “scared to death”. Another soldier is heard saying, “Our forces are attacking her”, and a lookout says “One of the positions has taken her down.” The Givati Brigade company commander, Captain R., is then heard saying “We operated on her. Yes, it seems she has been hit.” He later states that he “verified” the killing, and clarifies his actions by stating that:
“This is commander. Anything that’s mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it’s a three-year-old, needs to be killed. Over.”
Israeli soldiers interviewed in the documentary, and whose anonymity was maintained, submitted that their commander had knowingly shot the girl in the head at close range and then emptied his magazine of bullets into her body to “confirm the kill.” One of the soldiers said:
“We saw her from a distance of 70 meters. She was fired at … from the outpost. She fled and was wounded.”
The soldiers then explained how while Iman was lying wounded about 70 m from the Israeli guard post, the commander fired two bullets at her head from close range. They added that the commander returned to her body again, put his weapon on the automatic setting, and emptied his entire magazine into her body, disregarding their objections over the walkie-talkie. One of the soldiers said:
“We couldn’t believe what he had done. Our hearts ached for her. Just a 13-year-old girl … How do you spray a girl from close range? He was hot for a long time to take out terrorists and shot the girl to relieve pressure.”
The BBC reported that army officials had accepted the commander’s claim that “he fired into the ground near the girl after coming under fire in a dangerous area,” but that they did not explain why the officer shot into the ground rather than at the source of the fire.
On 15 November 2005, a military tribunal acquitted Captain R., clearing him of all the charges against him.
Upon hearing the verdict, Captain R., burst into tears and turned to the public benches and said: “I told you I was innocent.”
“There were seven or eight soldiers around her,” he said. “The soldiers checked her belongings in a school bag. She looked like she was around 14 years old. She went through a metal detector. In the school bag they found nothing and asked her, ‘Where’s the knife?’ She said, ‘I don’t have a knife.’ Then they fired between her legs. She was terrified and moved back half a meter or a meter. She raised her arms in the air saying ‘I don’t have a knife.’ Then they shot eight to 10 bullets, but I don’t know exactly who was shooting. Then she fell on the ground.”
WAFA, Palestine’s official news agency, also characterized the suspect (suspect?) as a schoolgirl, reporting Israeli soldiers denied medical crews from providing her with treatment as she lay on the ground. The soldiers also reportedly shut down the nearby Ibrahimi Mosque, also known by its Jewish name, the Cave of the Patriarchs.
The death brings the amount of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in October to 58, while about 2,000 have been injured in similar incidents across the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, according to WAFA.
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