The border policewoman who fatally shot a Palestinian teen in Hebron on
Wednesday is content with how she performed her duty, even as it emerged that
Muhammad al- Salaymeh was armed only with a toy pistol.
“It didn’t change
it for me, because in those same moments you don’t have time to think or be
confused. For me it was a real pistol in every sense of the word pointed at my
soldier and it’s my responsibility to act, because if I don’t kill him my friend
will be killed, and I won’t let this happen,” said “N.” on
“After they investigated the incident it turned out it was a
fake gun, but it didn’t change how I felt about it. I’m happy this ended with no
injuries on our side and I’m sure any other officer in my situation would have
done what I did,” she added.
N. said that she had only moments to react
and instantly got in position, finding a clear line of fire before letting off
three shots into Salaymeh.
By Thursday morning, pro- Palestinian Web
forums were awash with un-pixilated photos of N. (whose identity is blocked from
publication in Israel by the military censor) with her full name included. A
number of these forums, including at least one Facebook page, were flooded with threats and calls for revenge against the
When asked if she was worried about the death threats, she
said, “I managed to take a look at them here and there, but I’m not afraid. Of
course they’d write things like this so I’d feel bad about what happened, but I
know I did the right thing. This is what they taught us, to fire at the
terrorist in order to neutralize them, fake gun or not.”
N., who serves
in the Hebron area as a Border Police commander, said she was showered with
complements by commanding officers and that although she is supposed to finish
her service in a year and a half, after last night she is considering
reenlisting and applying to be an officer.
With tensions high in the West
Bank after the incident, which followed a series of violent encounters between
security forces and Palestinians this week, N. said she is not afraid
that someone will try to hurt her out in the field or in her civilian
“This is our mission, and if we face a threat we know how to deal
with it. All of us, the police, Border Police, IDF, we’re all in this together
to protect the Jewish residents and our country. Maybe there are threats
here or there but it doesn’t bother me.”
Police said on Wednesday that
around 6:30 p.m., Salaymeh, who was celebrating his 17th birthday, was walking
near a Border Police post near the Tomb of the Patriarchs when he caught the
attention of the police. After police asked him for his ID he began fighting
with an officer, and pulled out a pistol and pointing it at the officer. He was
then shot by N., and only later did police determine the pistol was a
Judea and Samaria Police have opened an investigation.
broke out at the scene after the shooting, as well as elsewhere in the West
Bank. The IDF and the Israel Police went on high alert and are expecting
violence to pick up in the West Bank.
While Israeli media initially
described Salaymeh as a terrorist, Palestinians on Twitter claimed him as an
innocent “martyr” killed by the Border Police for no reason.
Palestinians on Twitter posted a photograph of the smiling Salaymeh sitting by a
birthday cake earlier in the day.
It has been widely reported that
Salaymeh’s brother is Awad Salima Ziyad Awad, who was arrested on December 17,
1993, and convicted of murder during a hostile act, attempted murder, throwing a
Molotov cocktail and membership in a banned organization.
released in October 2011 in the first phase of the Schalit deal.
the shooting on Thursday, Border Police commander Maj.-Gen. Amos Yaakov praised
the conduct of N. and her comrades, saying that they showed “the professionalism
and determination that is expected of Border Police fighters.”