Photo: Reuters
Bekaot crossing (archives)
Photo: Reuters
Palestinian woman shot because of toy gun
IDF soldiers at Bekaot checkpoint ask woman to stop after identifying suspicious object in her hand. She does not oblige, is shot and moderately wounded. After incident, army discovers she was holding toy gun. Woman later tells investigators she wanted to die due to domestic violence
A Palestinian woman sustained moderate injuries Friday morning after being shot by Israel Defense Forces soldiers as she approached the Bekaot checkpoint in the Jordan Valley holding a toy gun.


As the woman arrived at the checkpoint, soldiers spotted a suspicious object in her hand. The IDF reported that the troops had called on her to stop, but she had failed to do so. The soldiers then proceeded to fire warning shots in the air, but, according to the IDF, the woman continued walking.


The soldiers then opened fire at the lower part of the woman's body, moderately wounding her. She was evacuated to a hospital in Israel for medical attention.


An IDF inquiry revealed that the woman, 18, sought to be injured or killed in the incident, apparently due to domestic violence. Her hand was wounded, and when asked why she had carried out the attack, she replied that her family members had been treating her violently.


The army said the incident was an unusual one and that the soldiers had acted as expected.


Series of clashes

Bekaot checkpoint has been witness to serious clashes in the past. Three years ago, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at the checkpoint, killing a soldier. Soldiers on duty at that time returned fire and killed the terrorist. Only months prior to this, an 18-year-old Palestinian was caught at the checkpoint wearing an explosive belt. No one was injured in this incident.


Friday morning's events took place in the midst of a wide-scale effort in recent weeks to ease freedom of movement for the Palestinians in the West Bank.


Earlier this week, these easements were extended to the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus, which is considered a main crossing point. The soldiers at Hawara stopped searching pedestrians passing through the checkpoint. This comes after a decision made two weeks ago not to check cars coming through the crossing.


Military sources explained that this was not merely another goodwill gesture, but a technical change in that the number of pedestrians crossing through the checkpoint has reduced significantly, many preferring to travel by car, now that automobiles are no longer being checked.


Israel embarked upon a step with the Palestinian Authority a week ago that will ultimately keep IDF forces from entering the cities of Ramallah, Qalqilya, Jericho, and Bethlehem. The Palestinian security apparatus will now be able to operate 24 hours a day in these cities. Until now, they have only operated between midnight at 5 am in these spots.


It was also agreed that Israel will hand over to the Palestinian Authority any security information that is likely to necessitate Israeli action within PA territory.


First published: 03.07.09, 08:11
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