Fatima Hjeiji, 16-year-old, was shot dead in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli NGO B'Tselem denounced the incident as yet another example of Israel's shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinians who did not pose a real danger.
Eyewitnesses told Ma'an at the time that Hjeiji had been standing more than ten metres away from a group of Israeli soldiers when one of them shouted "Knife! Knife!" Moments later, five soldiers opened fire at her, shooting 10-20 bullets at her.
The account was corroborated by B'Tselem, which, after conducting inquiries into the incident, stated:
Hjeiji, who stopped several metres away from the officers, did not pose a danger to [Israeli forces]… The police – who were standing behind a metal barrier, were armed and wearing protective gear – could have subdued Hjeiji and taken her into custody without resorting to gunfire, certainly not lethal gunfire. Instead, they shot and killed a 16-year-old girl.
B'Tselem noted that Israel's Jerusalem District Police Commander Major General Yoram Halevy defended the shooting as lawful and appropriate. Israeli police spokespersons at the time said the officers had acted "determinedly and professionally" when they killed the teenager.
"The District Commander's statement completely ignores the facts of the case: Hjeiji's youth, the fact that she stood motionless, the short distance between her and the officers, the metal barrier separating her from the officers, and the obvious conclusion – that the officers shot and killed her when she posed no threat to them," B'Tselem wrote.
"This statement, like similar sentiments expressed by other senior ranking officials and a mood of general hostility ever since October 2015, encourages security personnel to shoot to kill even in cases such as this, where lethal measures are unwarranted," the human rights organisation argued.
"This is no isolated incident," B'Tselem affirmed, echoing numerous cases in which Israeli forces have been condemned for carrying out a "shoot-to-kill" policy of Palestinians who could have easily been disarmed and detained without being shot to death by Israeli forces.