13-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israeli security guard in the West Bank
JERUSALEM // A 13-year-old Palestinian girl was shot dead by an Israeli security guard in the West Bank on Saturday.
The killing took place outside the illegal Anatot Jewish settlement, also known as Almon, north-east of Jerusalem.
Israeli police alleged that Ruqayya Abu Eid had tried to stab the guard who killed her, but neither he nor any member of the Israeli security forces was hurt.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said initial investigations showed the teenager “had fought with her family and left her home with a knife and intending to die”.
But her mother, Reeda Abu Eid, said there had been no trouble before her daughter left the family home, a tent in the Palestinian village Anata.
“Her father works in a farm and Ruqayya used to go to him. I didn’t see her when she left so I expected she had gone to her father,” she said. “Ruqayya is a small girl, how could she stab someone?”
Ruqayya’s father arrived at the scene shortly after she was killed on Saturday and was arrested by Israeli police. They did not provide further details.
More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military forces or settlers since the start of October, many of whom were teenagers. At least 30 were under the age of 18, according to the Palestinian Maan news agency.
Twenty-five Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in the same time period.
Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have questioned the apparent Israeli policy of shooting to kill, and documented numerous instances where Palestinians were deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces when they posed no imminent threat to life.
US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro on Monday questioned Israel’s policies concerning settlements in the West Bank.
The settlements are seen as major stumbling blocks toward peace efforts since they are built on land the Palestinians view as part of their future state.
“This government and previous Israeli governments have repeatedly expressed support for a negotiated settlement that would involve mutual recognition and separation,” he said.
“Yet separation will become more and more difficult” if Israel continues to expand settlements.
Attacks, or attempted attacks by Palestinians have been fuelled by various factors including frustration over the 2014 collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the growth of Jewish settlements.
Palestinian leaders have said that with no breakthrough on the horizon, desperate youngsters see no future ahead.
* Reuters, Agence France-Presse
Updated: January 24, 2016 04:00 AM