By Felipe Bueno
A Palestinian child was fatally shot by an Israeli security guard outside of a West Bank settlement after she allegedly ran at him with a knife. The 13-year-old girl, Ruqqayah Eid Abu Eid, died on Saturday after having left her house claiming that she “intended to die,” the New York Times reports.
The spokeswoman for the Israeli police, Luba al-Samri, told local media that Abu Eid quarreled with her parents early that morning, later storming out with a knife. Abu Eid approached the entrance to Anatot, a settlement near Jerusalem, brandishing a knife. She then allegedly tried to stab a security guard who approached her, prompting the guard to open fire, killing the young girl. No guards sustained any injuries.
This tale is but one of many the Defense for Children International in Palestine cites among at least 29 other child murders by Israeli forces in the past four months.
The New York Times reports that attacks have been increasingly violent, citing that since October, Israeli forces or settlers have killed at least 162 Palestinians, including bystanders, unarmed demonstrators, and attackers. This greatly outnumbers the approximate 25 Israelis who have been killed by Palestinians in stabbing or shooting incidents.
Coming as a shock to some, several of the assailants on both sides are young. Danfa Meir, an Israeli nurse and mother of six, was stabbed to death in her home by a 15-year-old Palestinian boy. Similarly, two Israeli boys, ages 12 and 14, stabbed an Israeli security guard in a Palestinian neighborhood.
These adolescent attacks have sparked controversy and a huge outcry among Palestinian, Israeli, and international rights groups, who criticize the Israeli government for using unnecessary deadly force.
These attacks reached an international level when Prime Minister of Sweden Margot Wallstorm called for investigations into what she called “extrajudicial killings” of Palestinian attacks by Israeli forces. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed her remarks were “outrageous,” “immoral,” and “stupid.”
Palestinian leaders claim these acts of aggression stem from the fact that the youth see no future ahead, as they have known conflict their whole lives and there are no prospects for peace in sight. They also place blame for children being swayed to commit acts of violence on Islamist groups that call for Israel’s destruction.