16th November 2015 | International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | Hebron, occupied Palestine
On 25th October 2015, 17-year old Dania Arsheid was gunned down by Israeli forces in front of the Ibrahimi mosque in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) and left to bleed to death. One of the shopkeepers nearby the Ibrahimi mosque witnessed the events leading up to this ruthless murder and agreed to make a statement.
After school finished around 1:20pm on that fateful Sunday, Dania was on her way from the Palestinian souq (market) in the Old City of al-Khalil towards the Ibrahimi mosque. She passed the first revolving gate and the metal detector without any problems – the metal detector did not indicate any metal objects. When passing the second revolving door, soldiers at the nearby checkpoint at the entrance of the mosque called for her to come there. Upon hearing this, the witness, who owns a shop, just meters away from the revolving gate, decided to go through the checkpoint to make sure that the girl was okay.
Dania passed yet another metal detector at the checkpoint at the mosque entrance and put her bag on the table there, as requested by the Israeli forces. They searched her entire bag but they were not able to find anything. Regardless of that, Israeli forces kept asking Dania ‘where is the knife’ over and over again – completely ignoring her answer that ‘there is no knife’. When one of the soldiers suddenly shot a bullet between her feet yelling at her, she raised her hands and moved back down the stairs. Nevertheless, the soldiers continued questioning her aggressively about a knife – even though she had her hands raised and her bag had been searched with no knife found; and Dania repeatedly asserting that she did not have any knife.
After the first shot was fired, more and more soldiers arrived to the checkpoint, so that it was impossible to tell how many of them shot the 6-7 fatal bullets at Dania – a girl who had her hands up in the air, who had been searched extensively and who had at no point posed any threat. Immediately after she was gunned down, Palestinians in the area – including the witness – were forced to move back through the checkpoint into the souq. The soldiers pointed their assault rifles at the witnesses pushing them out of the area and immediately afterwards closed off the checkpoint for anyone to enter and exit for about an hour.
The first ambulance arrived about 15 minutes after Dania was gunned down. “They didn’t want her alive, they want her dead, they meant to kill her”, explains the witness, stating that they could have easily arrested her. At no point after her body was perforated with bullets was any first aid provided, and the shooters left her lying on the ground slowly bleeding to death. Instead of giving first aid, Israeli forces proceeded to block the view so nobody but them would be able to see the 17-year old school-girl bleed to death.
“She came [to the checkpoint] and didn’t do anything – and then she was killed.”