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.
Under pressure UK universities cancel Richard Falk event
March 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm
Two British universities have cancelled events planned for the launch of former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard Falk’s new book.
The professor of international law was scheduled to speak today about his new book, “Palestine’s Horizon”, in Middlesex University. But the London based university followed a decision by the University of East London yesterday to pull the event at the last minute.
Since the cancellation, a pro-Israeli activist group based in the UK has confirmed that the events were pulled following their “intervention”.
Both events had been advertised on the universities’ events pages. East London University cancelled the talk, saying it took “the difficult decision” because “it became clear, the day before the event, that the University’s External Speakers Policy had not been adequately followed”.
The spokesman for East London denied that this was an attack on free speech and told MEMO: “We strongly believe that universities should be a place of debate and free speech. We would consider welcoming Professor Falk to our campus on another occasion if the appropriate policies and procedures were followed.”
Middlesex University press officer told MEMO that “concerns over safety” prompted the decision to cancel the event, while also confirming that the event could be held in the future if safety concerns were met.
While both universities cited logistic and procedural concerns as reasons for cancelling the talk, Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), which claims to be a “volunteer-led charity dedicated to exposing and countering antisemitism through the enforcement of the law” issued a statement announcing that their “intervention” forced the university to cancel the speech.
CAA, which was set up in 2014 following the Israeli bombardment of Gaza to counter the rise of criticism against Israel, said: “The University had insisted the event would take place, but following intervention by Campaign Against Antisemitism, the university has now decided to cancel the event.”
Falk was the co-author of a new UN report which concludes that “beyond a reasonable doubt … Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”.
Speaking at a MEMO event on Monday, Falk said the language around Israel’s occupation of Palestine must change, if Israel’s claim to the land is to be seriously challenged and in order to move towards a more meaningful peace process. Rather than an “occupation”, which he views as an inaccurate term partly due to the length of time that Israel has now held on to the territories conquered in the 1967 war, he affirmed that instead Israel should now be called an “apartheid state”.
Irish university cancels conference on Israel
January 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm
A university in Ireland has cancelled an academic conference which was scheduled to debate the legitimacy of the state of Israel at the end of March. The Irish Times reported that the university advised the organisers to come up with special security plans if they wanted the university to host the event at another date.
The conference entitled “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism,” was scheduled to take place at University College Cork (UCC) from March 31st to April 2nd, featuring speakers on both sides of the debate.
Contrary to expectations, the UCC Management Team, which is charged with the management of operations, decided at a meeting earlier this week not to allow individual academics working in UCC to host the conference, claiming that it will cause disruption for students and staff.
The management team stated that the university security infrastructure and staffing is inadequate to deal with the level of security required for the event given that it had already received notice of protests. They added that bringing in additional security would have cost implications.
In 2015, the University of Southampton also cancelled a similar conference citing security reasons. College Cork noted that the event was not sponsored or promoted by the university, but had been launched by academics.
In a letter to the university’s president, Michael Murphy, the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign called the cancellation an infringement of academic freedom.
“This is an important conference that promises to be a crucial intellectual event with many senior international academics participating,” the letter said. “Yet there have been disturbing reports in the press that this conference may be cancelled owing to pressure from Zionist groups.”