A 49-year-old Palestinian woman was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem Tuesday after getting into an argument with troops while walking in the street with her daughter, in what the police claimed was a stabbing attempt despite eyewitness accounts contradicting the allegation.
The woman was identified as Siham Ratib Nimr, from East Jerusalem and Israeli police said she attempted to stab soldiers with a pair of scissors. No Israeli troops were injured in the altercation and the woman was “neutralized,” according to the police statement.
However, eyewitnesses told the Palestinian agency Ma’an that Nimr was walking with her daughter at Damascus Gate, the entrance to the old city of occupied East Jerusalem, and an altercation began as soon as they came close to Israeli police officers.
An Israeli border police officer then shot Nimr at point-blank range in the chest and legs, a witness told Ma’an, adding that Israeli police then prevented an Israeli paramedic from approaching the woman, “leaving her to bleed to death” on the street.
Since October 2015, the occupied West Bank has seen a surge in violence as part of a repressive Israeli crackdown on Palestinian protests against the Israeli occupation and a wave of stabbing attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers by lone Palestinian attackers.
Since the outbreak of the violence in 2015, more than 246 Palestinians have been killed, according to Ma’an.
Most of the Palestinians killed, 97 percent, were shot by Israeli occupation forces and police, the agency said. However, less than half of Palestinian victims were killed by Israeli forces as they carried or at least attempted stabbing attacks. The rest lost their lives during clashes and protests in the West Bank.
Israel has been criticized by several human rights bodies and even the United Nations for its systematic extrajudicial killings of alleged attackers, who either had no weapon or if they did, had only knives whose threat could have been neutralized without using deadly force.
Many of those who have been accused of carrying out stabbing attacks have been in their teens or 20s, at most, and the recent Palestinian alleged attacker does not fit that profile.
In several previous cases, Israeli and Palestinian rights groups disputed Israel’s version of events claiming that the victims were carrying out attacks while evidence and witnesses suggested otherwise.
A total of 16 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis so far this year according to a tally by Ma’an, 15 of them at the hands of Israeli Armed Forces.