Nobody knows what happened last week at Qalandiya checkpoint, where a pregnant Palestinian woman was killed together with her brother. And until police release the CCTV footage, nobody will.
By Alon-Lee Green
Last week, 23 year-old Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail and her 16-year-old brother, Ibrahim, were killed by Israeli forces while walking towards Qalandiya checkpoint, in the West Bank.
The wanton coverage the killing got in the Israeli media made it clear instantly that something wasn’t quite right – beyond the ongoing injustice of the occupation.
Following increasing pressure from MKs Zehava Galon (Meretz) and Dov Khenin and Ahmad Tibi (Joint List), as well as Local Call and Haaretz newspaper, the Ministry of Public Security was forced to admit that they were killed by outsourced security guards, employees of the security services company Civil Intelligence.
On Monday it was reported that following an internal investigation, the company vindicated the killers of any wrongdoing. However, one crucial detail was missing in the investigation: the CCTV footage that recorded the incident was never published, and never given to the company. It is still being withheld by police.
Regardless of the CCTV footage, the evidence adds up to paint a disconcerting picture. The police refusal to release the footage and the Civil Intelligence’s slapdash investigation points to one conclusion: That the brother and sister did not pose any danger.
Let’s unpack the facts as we know them:
The arrival at the checkpoint: Pregnant 23-year-old Maram, a mother of two, was walking with her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim towards the Qalandiya checkpoint. The family said that she was on her way to receive medical treatment, and that was the first time she received permission to pass through the checkpoint.
The shooting: There are two partly complementary, partly contradictory versions. Police say that at some point Maram and Ibrahim were told to halt, but she started walking backwards and hurled a knife at them from a 15-20-meter distance (Maram apparently had quite impressive aiming skills). According to Palestinian eyewitnesses, Maram and Ibrahim were marching on the road, rather than the pedestrian lane, and were told in Hebrew to stop.
Once she was told to stop, both versions concur, she was shot by the security guards. Her brother – who at no stage was suspected of attempting to attack them – bent over to help her and was shot as well. All in all, Maram and Ibrahim took 15...Read More