How False Allegations of Rape Are Used to Lynch African Refugees and Palestinians

“What we have, is top members of the government committing these crimes.”

KIM BROWN: Welcome to The Real News Network in Baltimore. I’m Kim Brown.

Is rape used as a political tool in Israel, to demonize and dehumanize Arabs and Palestinians? Last June, the Israeli public was shocked to hear of a girl with a mental disability, who was reportedly raped by a Palestinian, as an act of nationalistic violence.

The girl has eventually confessed that her family pressured her to invent the rape, in order to have a Palestinian boy arrested. In December, the Israeli Committee for Women’s Rights, held a debate on sexual offences in joint Jewish-Arab communities. Now, the debate quickly deteriorated into incitement against Arabs.

In a recent piece in Electronic Intifada, David Sheen reported that among the political parties who organized the debate, is the Shas Party, which is described as a very religious, Jewish political party there.

A senior member of the party, Amnon Cohen, has been arrested and was recently accused of receiving bribery, in the form of sexual favors. A woman testified that she was afraid for her life if she refused to have sex with the former member of the Israeli Parliament.

Today we’re joined by the author of the article, David Sheen. David is an independent journalist and a filmmaker, originally from Toronto, now living and reporting from the ground in Dimona, Israel.

David has written for numerous publications, and he regularly speaks on U.S. College campuses, and in European Parliaments, about his work. Which focuses on racial tensions and religious extremism in Israeli society.

And David’s joining us today from Israel, David, welcome to The Real News.

DAVID SHEEN: Thank you for having me.

KIM BROWN: David, if you could, describe for us, what is the culture of rape, in general, and what does it mean in Israel?

DAVID SHEEN: Mm-hmm. Well, rape culture is a problem everywhere in the world that I know of. The places that I lived and visited where patriarchy, misogyny — where men controlled society, and view women and their bodies as fair game, as essentially, an extension of their own property.

And this permeates culture. And it’s a problem in North America, and it’s a problem here in Israel.
Now, unfortunately, what we see is that in Israel, instead of the government saying, “This is a major problem, we need to work at reducing the amount of misogyny and the amount of rape culture and incidences of sexual harassment, and sex crimes.” Instead, what we have, is top members of the government committing these crimes.

Top members of law enforcement, top members of the judiciary, top members of regional councils. And people in society like, university deans, and the head of the largest bank in Israel. The President of Israel! From… on rape charges.

So, we see that throughout the top levels of society, there’s serious, serious, serious sex crimes, and that sends a message to the rest of society. Well, you know, this is a normal way to act, and, sadly, the only time it ever gets mentioned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is if he thinks he can somehow blame rape on non-Jewish… non-white, non-Jewish people, specifically Palestinians, and African refugees, and other non-Jewish folk in the country.

KIM BROWN: So, given the fact that, as you said, rape is prevalent throughout the globe, and doesn’t necessarily tend to be exclusive to one particular society or the other, but the issue with rape is, that it is often under-reported. So, to your knowledge, what kind of data exists about the prevalence of sexual violence motivated by nationalism?

DAVID SHEEN: Mm-hmm. Well, this was the topic of the discussion in the Knesset, in December. And essentially, members of the Knesset were stating, “We have proof, in fact there’s a plague of Palestinian citizens of Israel, Arab men, who sexually harass and sexual assault women.”

Police representatives, representatives of the Israeli police force, which by no means are suspect of being pro-Arab, but they were (inaudible) …no evidence of this, you know? We talked to all of our local police forces and they reported back to us that they see no incidents. In fact, the level of sexual assaults in those mixed cities, where you have both Jewish and Palestinian populations, the amount of sex assaults there, is actually going down. That includes sex assaults in general, and sex assaults committed by non-Jews. That was the police statement.

And, in the article, the same thing happened five years ago. The last time that the right wing tried, once again to convene a Knesset session to blame non-Jews, police said no, “I’m sorry, we don’t have any evidence of some kind of concerted attack by Palestinian people, specifically trying to attack Jewish women, as a way to get revenge or to harm Jewish people, in the weakest link, you know, women, who are easy prey for sexual (inaudible) …evidence of any of this.”
It’s in the minds of racist lawmakers, and I don’t mind also saying, there are many groups in society, who their ostensive reason to exist is to prevent Jews and non-Jews, from being in romantic relationships. I know you had a film called, “Loving”, that came out in the United States just a few months ago, about the Supreme Court — Loving versus Virginia — how a white man and a black woman were not allowed to wed, just a few decades ago in the United States. It had to be a Supreme Court decision to overrule that.

It’s been pointed out that, in Israel, until this day in 2017, there’s no way for Jewish people and non-Jewish people to marry in the country. So, the incidences of Jews and non-Jews, deciding to live their lives together, is relatively rare to begin with. But even those few rare instances are… they make racists so angry… (inaudible) …groups to patrol streets in Israel, and beaches and public places.
And they get funds from the government to actively try to prevent romantic relationships between Jews and non-Jews. And these groups are the ones who put this idea out there that, “Oh, the only kinds of… the kinds of relationships are abusive and therefore we’re not… we’re trying to prevent these relationships to happen, because we’re trying to prevent abuse.”

But, the ultimate reason is, they want to prevent miscegenation. They’ve got a eugenics objective to have ethnic purity, and this is what they openly state. And, sadly, they receive government funds to try to make this manifest.

KIM BROWN: Talk about the accusations against refugees from Africa, who are also blamed for sexually assaulting Jewish women. How much validity should be given — or credence should be given — these accusations, because they sound like they could be somewhat politically motivated?

DAVID SHEEN: Sure. Sure. Look, there is no question that no one is going to claim that the crime rate of any group in society, is zero. Yes, there are rape crimes committed by Jews, non-Jews, Arabs, Africans, and that’s going to be the case, regardless. But, police themselves will say that refugees have a lower crime rate per capita, than native-born Israelis.

So, why then, is the focus on non-white, non-Jewish folk? Well, again, it’s a way to incite racism, and this is what we have seen for the last several years in Israeli society. And the way that this has become a factor — just look a couple of months ago in the city of… (inaudible), it’s a suburb of Tel Aviv — and the incitement is so great against refugees, and associating them with sex crimes, baselessly, I might add.

That now we can have an Emmett Till-like situation, where a refugee was walking down the street, right outside of City Hall, and he walked past a group — the reason why we know the details, is because since it’s outside the City Hall, there are cameras situated there — and so we saw CCTV footage of what actually happened.

Wikipedia: “Emmett Till”

So…(inaudible) …old black man just walking down the street, he sees three girls, three teenage women standing there, and you know, they’re, I don’t know, three feet, maybe five, six feet away from him. And he says something to them — you can’t tell, but whatever — it’s over in ten seconds. He walks away. Words are exchanged for ten seconds, and the man walks away.

Within seconds, he’s pounced upon by a group of young Jewish men, and they beat him for over an hour, in front of City Hall. And it got to the point where they pummeled him to death, and to the point where he was unrecognizable. The only way that his brother was able to recognize him, is because years ago when he fled the fighting in Darfur, he was maimed and he lost several fingers. And because that was the only way that his brother was able to recognize him — because his face was, you know, unrecognizable.

So, on the pure… the accusation that a non-white, non-Jewish man spoke, to some non-Jewish girls, that was enough to set off a lynch. And since that time, the mayor of that city, instead of saying, “Wow, we’ve got to stop this racism.” Just the opposite, instead, he’s rounded up African refugees in the city, and he’s shut the electricity off to their apartments, to banish them from the city.

This is part and parcel of the way that (inaudible) …society, but it does speak to the greater phenomenon of also insinuating that non-Jews are sex criminals, and they should be treated as such.

KIM BROWN: And, David, in the piece that you wrote about this, you write about the, “Sex crime epidemic in Israel.” Why does Israel have such a high rate of sexual violence, in your opinion?

DAVID SHEEN: Well, it’s always difficult to actually measure sexual violence, because as many people have said, so much of it is unreported. So, is it rising, is it falling, or are people just talking about it more, they’re aware of it more? One thing is clear, in that, the attitudes around sexual violence are very problematic. Something like 61% of Israeli men do not think that raping someone who is an acquaintance is rape.

Somehow, they conceive of rape as only being a situation, I guess, where you’re hiding behind a bush, and you jump out at some complete stranger and then physically assault them. They only conceive of that as rape. The idea that someone you’ve met a couple… once or twice, and then you socialize with them and then rape them, that’s… they don’t think of that as rape. Which is, of course, it’s ridiculous. It’s rape in every single way.

But, that really speaks to the overall, overarching problem, of how sexual violence is categorized, and even understood and acknowledged, in society. So, that being the case, the message has to come from up top.

But, when you have Benjamin Netanyahu himself, working in an office that’s full of sex criminals. When you have multiple former chief advisors to the prime minister, who have been accused of sex crimes, some more than once. When you have the prime minister’s spokesperson, who’s been accused of sex… (inaudible)… Prime Minister’s driver, who’s driving him from place to place, convicted of raping multiple women and young girls.

Yeah, the problem is that we do not have leaders… and when we have mayor, after mayor, after mayor, who are going to jail for sex crimes. Then yeah, we have a message from up top: that women are for the taking, and unless we have a message from the government saying, “This is a national emergency.

We need to snuff this out. We need to condemn this, and make clear to our men folk, that women’s bodies are not yours for the taking. And assaulting anyone, whether you don’t know her or whether you know her, whether you’re going to ever know her, that’s a crime and don’t even think about doing it.”

We need to have that kind of messaging. Unfortunately, the message comes from the top as we hear in Israeli society, the (inaudible) so-called, which means the… (inaudible) …rest in Hebrew, and that command your spirit is, that women’s bodies are for the taking. Until we see a change from the leadership, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we can expect this sex crime epidemic to continue.

KIM BROWN: We’re going to take a quick break right now. We’ve been speaking with journalist, author and filmmaker David Sheen. He has been reporting on the issue of rape culture in Israel. Also how racism impacts Israeli society.

100-year-old Bedouin woman left homeless as Israel continues Negev demolitions

https://gnayabchohan.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/wp-1462423509145.gif?w=545

 

The Wadi al-Naam village was established in the 1950s soon after the 1948 European Zionist offensive that established the state of Israel on top of the Palestinians. Military officials forcibly transferred the Negev Bedouins to the site during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel’s military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

NEGEV (Ma’an) — In the latest instance of Israel’s demolition campaign in the Negev region of southern Israel, homes were demolished in two unrecognized Bedouin villages on Wednesday, while Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran.

Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police, demolished a house in the village of Wadi al-Naam in the western part of the Negev in southern Israel.

Locals told Ma’an that the demolished house was owned by an elderly woman and her daughter. A member of the local committee, Yousif Ziyadin, said that an emergency session would be held to discuss the Israeli demolition.

A relative of the elderly homeowner, Ahmad Zanoun, told Ma’an that 100-year-old Ghaytha Zanoun and her 60-year-old daughter Hilala were living in the house, both of whom suffer from various health issues.

Zanoun said that both Ghaytha and Hilala were unable to walk, and noted that the family had renovated the home in accordance with their doctor’s suggestions due to their health conditions.

He added that Ghaytha and her daughter now were homeless following the demolition.

The Wadi al-Naam village was established in the 1950s soon after the 1948 European Zionist offensive that established the state of Israel on top of the Palestinians. Military officials forcibly transferred the Negev Bedouins to the site during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel’s military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

In July, the Israeli government approved plans to build townships for Israel’s Bedouin community. The planned township is expected to be built just south of Shaqib al-Salam, another Bedouin township, and would transfer at least 7,000 Bedouins from the unrecognized village of Wadi al-Naam, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last year.

The approved village would comprise of an area of approximately 9,000 dunams (2,224 acres), while providing housing to some 9,000 residents, The Times of Israel also reported.

The proposal to expand the area of Shaqib al-Salam was challenged in Israel’s Supreme Court in 2015, as the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), who assisted in the court proceedings, argued that any expansion of the town would be followed by the forcible removal of Bedouins from unrecognized villages, particularly from Wadi al-Naam.

Yaron Kelner, spokesperson for ACRI, confirmed to Ma’an on Wednesday that residents of Wadi al-Naam have continued to refuse the relocation deal.

Meanwhile, Israeli bulldozers also demolished a mobile home in the unrecognized village of al-Zarnouq in the Negev. However, no other details were provided about the demolition.

The Israeli government has plans to evacuate thousands of residents from al-Zarnouq to the recognized village of Rahat in order to build over the land for new housing for non-Bedouin Israeli citizens.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli government approved in 2011 plans to transfer tens of thousands of Bedouins in unrecognized villages, including al-Zarnouq, into officially recognized settlements.

The ongoing attempts at transferring the Bedouins originated from the Prawer Report, a document outlining expulsion plans for the unrecognized Bedouin community. It was officially adopted by the Israeli government in 2013.

According to Israeli human rights group Adalah, the plan would “result in the destruction of 35 ‘unrecognized’ Arab Bedouin villages, the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, and the dispossession of their historical lands in the Negev.”

In another incident in the Negev on Wednesday, the Yoav unit of the Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran. According to locals, residents have expressed fear that their presence could signal another demolition, the last of which erupted into deadly violence when Israeli police raided the village prior to demolishing homes. A local Bedouin teacher and an Israeli police officer were killed at the time.

Meanwhile, the Bedouin village of al-Araqib was demolished for the 109th time on Wednesday.

Bedouin communities in the Negev have been the target of a heightened demolition campaign in recent weeks, following Israeli leaders publicly expressing their commitment to demolish Palestinian structures lacking difficult to obtain Israeli-issued building permits across Israel and occupied East Jerusalem in response to the Israeli-court sanctioned evacuation of the illegal Amona settler outpost.

In December, Netanyahu released a video to address settlers of the Amona outpost, assuring them that he would commit to “enforcing laws” on “illegal construction” in Israel, referring primarily to Palestinian communities that are often forced to build without Israeli-issued building permits, due to what rights groups have attributed to discriminatory zoning policies in Israel which have excluded many Palestinian-Israeli communities from being included in the regional and municipal development plans.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.

Rights groups have claimed that the demolitions in Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.

These are the Palestinian children killed by Israel in 2016

Ahmad Zeidani (DCIP)

 

For Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, 2016 was the deadliest year in the past decade.

Thirty-five Palestinian children were killed by Israeli soldiers, police and armed civilians during the year, all but four of the deadly incidents taking place in the West Bank. Children account for a third of the 105 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during 2016.

Most, but certainly not all, of those children were killed during the course of what Israel alleges were attacks or attempted attacks, mainly on soldiers at checkpoints in the West Bank.

But in the vast majority of alleged attacks that left a Palestinian child dead, no Israeli civilians or soldiers were injured. In a handful of cases, Israeli soldiers were reported to have suffered only light injuries.

In several incidents, there may not have been any attempted attack when a Palestinian child was shot and killed. Amnesty International has called for one such slaying to be investigated as an extrajudicial execution.

Other children were killed on their way to class, or coming home from a pool party. Several were shot dead while protesting the occupation. A brother and sister were killed in their Gaza home when their neighborhood was hit in an Israeli airstrike.

As Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) points out, “Accountability for shootings [of Palestinian children] by Israeli forces is extremely rare. Only one incident since 2014 has resulted in an indictment.”

The group’s accountability program director Ayed Abu Eqtaish stated: “Intentional lethal force now appears to be routinely used by Israeli forces, even in unjustified situations, with no accountability, putting more and more children at risk.”

DCIP has summarized other ways Israel violated Palestinian children’s rights during the year.

These are the Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in 2016:

Ahmad Younis Ahmad al-Kawazba, 17

Ahmad, from the village of Sair in the southern occupied West Bank, was shot dead by Israeli forces after allegedly stabbing and lightly wounding a soldier in the area of the Gush Etzion intersection near the city of Hebron on 5 January.

Hebron’s district attorney said the “autopsy suggested the 17-year-old had been left to bleed to death and had received no medical treatment,” the Ma’an News Agency reported.

Ahmad was buried next to his friend and schoolmate Mahmoud al-Shalalda, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces in November 2015.

Alaa al-Din Abd Muhammad al-Kawazba, 17

Israeli forces shot and killed Alaa al-Din along with two of his adult cousins near the Gush Etzion bloc of Israeli settlements north of Hebron on 7 January. The army claimed the three were “armed with knives” and attempted to attack soldiers. No soldiers were reported injured during the attack. Alaa al-Din was from the Hebron-area village of Sair.

Khalil Muhammad Issa Wadi, 15

Khalil was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly attempted to stab a soldier at the Beit Einoun junction near Hebron on 7 January. No Israelis were reported injured during the incident. The boy’s adult brother, Mahmoud, was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the same location in November 2015.

Like Ahmad al-Kawazba and Alaa al-Din Kawazba, Khalil was from the Hebron-area village of Sair. He was at least the 10th resident of the village to be slain by Israeli forces since October 2015, including the November 2015 execution in a Hebron hospital room of Abdallah Azzam al-Shalalda and the killing of a disabled father of a young baby in December 2015.

Adnan Ayid Hamid al-Mashni, 17

Youth wearing jacket stands in front of palm fronds
Adnan Ayid Hamid al-Mashni

An investigation by the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz found that Adnan, from the village of Shuyukh, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers at the Beit Einoun junction near the West Bank city of Hebron while on his way to physics class on 12 January.

Adnan had traveled to the junction in a taxi van and crossed the road and entered into a second van when another young man in the vehicle jumped out and yelled “God is great” while brandishing a knife or hatchet, according to Haaretz.

The armed young man, Muhammad Kawazba from the village of Sair, was immediately shot and killed. The driver of the van from which Kawazba emerged “tried to drive away as fast as he could, for fear that he too would be shot,” Haaretz added. “The soldiers, seeing the vehicle pulling out, opened fire at it, though they had no idea who was inside it.”

The driver managed to escape on foot while Adnan, still inside the van, was struck in the upper right side of his body and died soon after in hospital.

Ruqayya Abu Eid, 13

Ruqayya was shot dead by a private security guard after she allegedly attempted to stab him in the Anatot settlement near Jerusalem on 23 January.

A Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, condemned the girl’s slaying. “Even if she had a knife, it would have been possible to arrest a girl that age instead of killing her,” Esawi Frej of the Meretz party said.

Haaretz reported that Ruqayya died of a single bullet wound to the heart.

“I have no explanation for her decision,” the girl’s father told the paper. “There were two guards there, and they could have overcome her. A little girl. They are trained and armed, you know, so how is it they could not arrest a little girl of 13? Was a girl of 13 a threat to them? Whatever she planned to do, they could still have arrested her.”

Ruqayya was laid to rest in the village of al-Karmel east of the West Bank town of Yatta, near Hebron.

Hussein Abu Ghosh, 17

Hussein was shot dead by an Israeli security guard at a supermarket in Beit Horon settlement near the central West Bank city of Ramallah on 25 January.

The youth was killed along with Ibrahim Usama Allan, 23, after stabbing two Israeli women; one of the women, 24-year-old Shlomit Krigman, died from her injuries the following day. Israeli media reported that Allan and Hussein were shot as they ran, suggesting the two may have been extrajudicially executed.

Israeli forces destroyed Hussein’s family home in Qalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah in April.

Punitive home demolitions, along with other acts of collective punishment, are considered a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Ahmad Hassan Abd al-Latif Tubah, 17

Ahmad, from the village of Kufr Jammal, was killed by Israeli forces after allegedly attempting to stab a soldier near a settlement in the Tulkarm, West Bank, area on 1 February. No soldiers were reported to have been injured.

“According to media reports, he crossed the [Israel’s wall in the West Bank] without an entry permit and was discovered by soldiers who tried to apprehend him. He then pulled a knife on them and was shot,” the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reported.

Haitham Saada, 14

Haitham died after he was hit by two bullets fired by soldiers near the entrance to Halhoul village, near Hebron, on 5 February. The army said that the boy was preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail at soldiers when he was killed.

“Other than Haitham’s younger cousin, Wajdi, who was also in his class and was with him when he died, and the soldiers, of course, there are no eyewitnesses who can relate what happened and why Haitham was shot and killed,” the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported at the time. “Wajdi was arrested on the spot and is still incarcerated in Ofer Camp, near Ramallah. He has not been allowed visitors.”

Omar Yousif Ismail Madi, 15

Omar was slain by a bullet when Israeli soldiers fired on youths who were throwing stones at them in Arroub refugee camp near Hebron on 9 February. The city’s district attorney told the Ma’an News Agency that the boy “died after being hit by a single bullet that entered his body from the right side of his chest.” The bullet “penetrated the teen’s liver, kidneys, and spleen before exiting his body from the lower left side of his rib cage.”

Nihad Raed Muhammad Waked, 15, and Fuad Marwan Kamal Waked, 15

Nihad and Fuad were shot and killed by Israeli forces after they allegedly opened fire at soldiers on 14 February. No Israelis were injured during the incident near the village of al-Araqa, west of the northern West Bank town of Jenin. Palestinian emergency medics were reportedly prevented from providing treatment at the scene.

“Soldiers reported that one of the Palestinians was armed with a makeshift weapon and another was carrying a knife,” Haaretz reported. The boys’ families “vehemently denied the army’s claim they had fired at the soldiers and said the two were roaming farming lands owned by the family that are adjacent to [Israel’s] West Bank barrier,” the paper added.

“I know the families and the two youths, these are not families that deal with arms or have access to arms,” a teacher in al-Araqa who knew the teens told Haaretz. “These are just kids and to attribute an attempted shooting to them sounds highly unlikely or believable.”

Naim Ahmad Yousif Safi, 16

Naim was shot and killed after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 14 February. Israeli police told media the teen approached soldiers while carrying a knife. No Israelis were reported injured during the incident. Naim was from the nearby village of al-Ubediya.

Qusay Abu al-Rub, 16

Qusay Abu al-Rub (via Ma’an News Agency)

Soldiers fired on Qusay after he allegedly attempted to stab one of them at the Beita checkpoint near Nablus in the northern West Bank on 21 February. No Israelis were injured during the incident. Palestinian medics were reportedly prevented from accessing the wounded boy. Qusay, from Qabatiya village in the northern West Bank, was the 10th youth from the town to be slain since October 2015.

Mahmoud Shaalan, 16

Mahmoud, a Palestinian American resident of the Ramallah-area village of Deir Dibwan, was shot dead by Israeli forces near a checkpoint in the central West Bank on 26 February. Israel claimed that the boy had tried to stab soldiers when he was killed.

Amnesty International has stated that his death – as well as that of more than a dozen other Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past year – should be investigated as a possible extrajudicial execution.

An eyewitness testified to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem that Mahmoud had attempted to cross a checkpoint and was turned away by soldiers.

“As he was walking away from the soldiers, one soldier shot Mahmoud Muhammad Ali Shaalan from some distance away with around three bullets. He immediately fell to the ground, and the soldier then approached and shot him twice more, according to the witness,” Amnesty states.

An autopsy found that no bullets had been fired from close range, throwing into question Israel’s claim that Mahmoud was attempting to stab soldiers when he was killed.

Witnesses told Haaretz that soldiers prevented a Palestinian ambulance from evacuating the boy, and that his naked body lay on the road for more than two hours.

Fifteen rights and faith groups in the US have called on the Obama administration to investigate the killing. A top US diplomat told concerned groups that the US embassy in Tel Aviv asked Israel to investigate Mahmoud’s death.

Labib Khaldoun Anwar Abd al-Azzam, 17 and Muhammad Hashim Ali Zaghlawan, 17

Labib and Muhammad, both from Qaryut village near the West Bank city of Nablus, were shot dead by Israeli forces on 2 March after allegedly attacking and lightly injuring a settler as he was leaving his home in the Eli colony. The settler was wearing his army uniform, and was en route to the military reserve unit he serves in, Israeli media reported.

Abd al-Rahman Radad, 17

Abd al-Rahman, from al-Zawiya village near the West Bank town of Salfit, was shot and killed by police after he allegedly stabbed and wounded an Israeli man near Petah Tikva, a city in Israel, on 18 March. Graphic video shows Abd al-Rahman lying on the floor of a liquor store, gravely injured and apparently struggling to breathe, as Israelis curse him and call for him to die.

Ahmad Yousif Ismail Amer, 16

Ahmad was shot dead by Israeli forces at a military checkpoint outside of al-Zawiya village near the West Bank town of Salfit on 9 March. The village was blockaded by the military after one of its residents, Abd al-Rahman Radad, allegedly stabbed an Israeli before being shot dead by police.

An army spokesperson told media that an “assailant armed with a knife” approached the checkpoint and soldiers “thwarted” the attack by shooting him dead. No Israelis were injured during the incident.

Another Palestinian was shot during the incident, and a local official said that both wounded Palestinians were left bleeding while Palestinian emergency medics were prevented from reaching them.

Ahmad, from the nearby village of Masha, reportedly left a note bidding farewell to his parents, asking them for their forgiveness.

Yasin Abu Khusa, 9, and Isra Abu Khusa, 6

Yasin and Isra, brother and sister, were killed during an Israeli air strike on their neighborhood in northern Gaza on 12 March.

The Abu Khusa family home, located on the outskirts of Beit Hanoun, had been previously attacked twice by Israel in recent years. They had asked the authorities in Gaza that they be relocated somewhere safer, but their request went unanswered, the family told The Electronic Intifada. They said they did not receive any financial aid to repair damage caused during previous attacks.

Yusif Walid Mustafa al-Tarayra, 17

Yusif, from the village of Bani Naim, was shot dead by soldiers after he hit a military officer with his car in Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron on 14 March. The officer was lightly injured, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

Abdallah al-Ajluni, 16

Abdallah, from the West Bank city of Hebron, was shot dead by Israeli Border Police after he stabbed and lightly injured a soldier at at checkpoint near the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron’s Old City on 19 March.

Ibrahim Salih Hassan Taha, 16

Ibrahim was killed along with his pregnant adult sister, Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail, a 23-year-old mother of two small children, at the Qalandiya military checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem on 27 April.

Israeli police claimed the siblings were carrying knives and attempted to attack soldiers. No Israelis were injured during the incident.

Israel’s justice ministry declined to open an investigation after an initial probe found that the brother and sister were shot by civilian security guards and not by police.

Mahmoud Badran, 15

Mahmoud, from the central West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, was killed when Israeli forces opened fire on a car of young Palestinians returning from a late-night pool party celebrating Ramadan on 21 June. Five others were injured during the incident, including the driver of the car, who lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a wall.

The army admitted the Palestinians were “mistakenly hit” while soldiers were responding to reports of rock-throwing and firebombing on a highway used by settlers in the West Bank.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said that soldiers prevented paramedics from providing first aid to the injured Palestinians for more than 90 minutes.

Four boys pose for camera while in a swimming pool

Mahmoud Badran, at right, during the pool party he attended shortly before he was killed. (B’Tselem)

Mahmoud Badran, at right, during the pool party he attended shortly before he was killed. (B’Tselem)

One of the survivors told B’Tselem that the shooting came from a civilian car.

“Everything was normal and there was nothing suspicious,” Hadi Badran testified. “Suddenly we were under fire. I looked at the direction the fire was coming from and saw a white civilian car. There were two people there, in civilian clothing, and they were the ones shooting at us.”

“Media reports indicate that the soldiers and officer who opened fire belonged to the Duchifat regiment of the Kfir brigade, and that they were passing by, on their way to take care of logistical matters,” B’Tselem stated, adding that “the soldiers arbitrarily fired at the car, having no indication that any of its passengers had been involved in stone or Molotov cocktail throwing.”

According to the rights group, “This shooting incident is a direct result of military policy which enables, despite the official prohibition in the [Israeli military’s] open-fire regulations, to use deadly fire even in cases where there is no threat to life and even when the soldiers have other, non-lethal, means at their disposal. This policy is backed by the most senior ranking military and government officials who do nothing do change it, despite the lethal results.”

Muhammad Nasir Mahmoud Khalil al-Tarayra, 16

Muhammad was shot dead after after stabbing a 13-year-old girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, in her home in the Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron on 30 June.

The New York Times reported that Muhammad then locked himself in the girl’s house for some time while armed residents of the settlement, including the girl’s father, tried to track down who had breached the settlement’s fence.

When they forced their way into her home, Muhammad, from the nearby village of Bani Naim, stabbed one of the armed settlers before being shot dead.

Ariel was rushed to a hospital, where she died a short time later. The US State Department confirmed the girl held American citizenship. Ariel was the only Israeli child killed by Palestinians during 2016.

Israeli forces demolished the home belonging to Muhammad’s family in August.

Muhyee al-Din Muhammad Sudqi Sadiq Tibakhi, 10

Muhyee Sidqi al-Tibakhi

Muhyee died after he was shot in the chest and head during confrontations that broke out when Israeli forces raided al-Ram town near Jerusalem on 19 July.

Defense for Children International – Palestine stated that the “boy died from a sponge-tipped bullet to the chest fired by Israeli forces.”

Muhyee is the second Palestinian child to be killed by a sponge-tipped bullet, according to the group. Muhammad Sinokrot, 16, died of his injuries in 2014 after an Israeli Border Police combatant shot the right side of his head, causing a skull fracture and brain hemorrhage. An Israeli investigation of Muhammad’s case was closed without charging the Border Police officer responsible, Defense for Children said.

Abd al-Rahman Ahmad al-Dabbagh, 15

Abd al-Rahman Ahmad al-Dabbagh (DCIP)

Abd al-Rahman was killed instantly after he was directly hit by a flare bomb fired by an Israeli soldier during a protest near the boundary between Gaza and Israel on 9 September.

After the teen was hit, “Abd al-Rahman was then seen lying on the ground, with his head on fire,” a report on the incident by the human rights group Al-Haq stated.

“His shocked friends ran to help him, but the Israeli soldiers pointed their weapons at them, and stated, ‘whoever will dare and try to approach will suffer the same fate as him,’” Al-Haq added.

Defense for Children International – Palestine published a video still showing Abd al-Rahman lying on the ground, flames and smoke coming from his head.

“An X-ray image shared with DCIP … appears to show the flare punctured and lodged in Abd al-Rahman’s skull above his left eyebrow,” the group stated. The projectile that killed Abd al-Rahman is produced by Chemring Ordnance and AMTEC Corporation, both based in the US, DCIP added.

Firas al-Khadour, 17

A witness to the slaying of Firas denied Israel’s claim that the teen was attempting to attack soldiers with his car when he was killed on 16 September.

The witness, who was riding in the car with Firas when he was killed, said that the vehicle had faulty brakes which failed when it approached the Kiryat Arba settlement near the West Bank city of Hebron, causing it to crash into a bus stop.

After the car was stopped, soldiers opened fire on it from multiple directions, killing Firas and critically wounding the witness.

“Firas began slowing down, but the brakes were not responding at all. The car’s speed was increasing, and he tried to use the handbrakes to stop but that did not work out either,” Raghad, the witness, told Defense for Children International – Palestine. “I was very scared, and the scary part was that we were approaching the entrance of the settlement.”

Both Firas and the witness are from Bani Naim village.

Muhammad Thalji Kayid Thalji al-Rajabi, 15

Muhammad was shot dead after allegedly stabbing and lightly injuring an Israeli soldier near the Tel Rumeida area of the Old City of Hebron in the West Bank on 16 September. Israeli forces reportedly prevented an ambulance from reaching al-Rajabi after he was shot.

Amir Jamal al-Rajabi, 16

Amir was shot and fatally wounded along with Muhannad Jamal al-Rajabi, 21, while brandishing a knife at the Ibrahimi mosque checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron on 19 September. The Palestine Red Crescent Society told the Ma’an News Agency that one of their ambulances was “denied access” to the scene. An Israeli soldier was reportedly lightly injured in the hand during the incident.

Issa Salem Mahmoud al-Tarayra, 15

Issa as slain by soldiers who claimed that the boy was carrying a knife and intended to stab them at a checkpoint near the West Bank town of Bani Naim on 20 September. No Israelis were injured during the incident.

Faris Ziyad Ata al-Bayid, 15

Close-up of adolescent boy's smiling face
Faris al-Bayed (DCIP)

Faris died on 23 December after he was in a coma for 69 days as a result of being shot during confrontations with Israeli forces at the entrance of Jalazone refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Doctors told Defense for Children International – Palestine that a rubber-coated metal bullet pierced the front of Faris’ head and lodged in his brain, “causing severe damage and bleeding.”

Faris had attended a march commemorating the killing of Ahmad Sharaka, 14, also from Jalazone camp, shot by soldiers one year prior.

A military inquiry found that the soldiers were justified in opening fire at Faris. The Israeli rights group B’Tselem stated, however, that the shooting was “unlawful,” and that the boy did not pose a lethal danger to soldiers when he was shot.

Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, 15

Aerial view shows smiling adolescent boy lying next to baby sister
Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr (DCIP)

Khalid was shot in the back from a distance of approximately 20 meters while running away from soldiers, who accused the teen of throwing stones at them, at the entrance to a grove near Beit Ommar, a village in the southern occupied West Bank, on 20 October.

A military inquiry into the incident determined that “the soldiers’ lives were not in danger, and that they could have acted differently in this case,” according to the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz. An Israeli army spokesperson said that the incident is being investigated by the Military Police Investigation Unit, and will then be referred to the Military Advocate General.

The Israeli rights group B’Tselem stated that Israeli forces “acted without any justification and did not face lethal danger” when they shot the boy.

Israel withheld Khalid’s body for several weeks, preventing his family from burying him.

Muhammad Nabil Jawdat Salam, 14

Young man wears T-shirt and baseball cap
Ahmad Zeidani (DCIP)

Muhammad was shot dead by a private security guard near the Shuafat checkpoint in the Jerusalem area on 25 November. Israeli police claimed that the youth had attempted to carry out a stabbing attack. No Israelis were injured during the incident.

Ahmad Zeidani, 17

Israeli forces shot Ahmad when he was running away from them on 18 December, security camera footage released by B’Tselem shows.

Ahmad was among a group of youths attempting to repel the forces from entering Beit Rima, a village near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

B’Tselem stated that the youths were “some 10 to 20 meters away from the soldiers and officers, and they were running away from them” when they were fired on. “There was no justification for shooting them and this action was unlawful.”

Names and ages reported here may vary from earlier reporting by The Electronic Intifada. All names, ages and dates of deadly incidents presented here have been verified with Defense for Children International – Palestine, which obtains the child’s government-issued ID card or birth certificate, or both in some cases, typically from the child’s immediate family, to verify name and age.

Netanyahu’s message to Iranian people



Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu posted on Facebook on Saturday night, “I plan to speak soon with President Trump about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime which calls for Israel‘s destruction.

“But it struck me recently that I’ve spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or for that matter, to the Iranian people.

“So I hope this message reaches every Iranian – young and old, religious and secular, man and woman.

“I know you’d prefer to live without fear. I know you’d want to be able to speak freely, to love who you want without the fear of being tortured or hung from a crane. I know you’d like to surf the web freely and not have to see videos like this one using a virtual private network to circumvent censorship.

“You have a proud history. You have a rich culture. Tragically, you are shackled by a theocratic tyranny.

“In a free Iran you will once again be able to flourish without limit. But today, a cruel regime is trying to keep you down.

“I’ll never forget the images of brave young students hungry for change gunned down in the streets of Tehran in 2009; and I’ll never forget beautiful Neda Sultan gasping for her last breath on that sidewalk.

“This ruthless regime continues to deny you your freedom. It prevents thousands of candidates from competing in elections. It steals money from your poor to fund a mass murderer like Assad.

“By calling daily for Israel’s destruction, the regime hopes to instill hostility between us.
This is wrong. We are your friend, not your enemy. We’ve always distinguished between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime.

“The regime is cruel – the people are not; the regime is aggressive – the people are warm.
I yearn for the day when Israelis and Iranians can once again visit each other freely in Tehran and Esfahan, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

“The fanatics must not win. Their cruelty must not conquer our compassion.

“Our two peoples can work together for a more peaceful and hopeful future for both of us. We must defeat terror and tyranny and we must ensure that freedom and friendship win the day,” Netanyahu concluded.