On July 5, 2016 B’Tselem published a statement titled “Extrajudicial killing at Tomb of Patriarchs: Israeli Border Police officer shoots and kills Sarah Hajuj though she no longer poses threat,” which purports to document the events surrounding an attempt to stab Israeli border policemen inside a police position in Hebron. The publication claims that “video footage captured by a Palestinian passerby belies the police claim that the lethal shooting was ‘precise and targeted’.”
The video actually shows no such thing.
It is impossible to ascertain what exactly transpired inside the police position shown in the video, and B’Tselem’s description of events shown in it do not add any relevant information. The NGO attempts to fill in the blanks in an unprofessional manner. For instance:
- B’Tselem describes a “third Border Police officer leaving the room,” but the video shows two police officers running out of the room, indicating a disturbance inside during the moments leading up to the shooting. However, it is impossible to conclude what exactly transpired in the room from the video. The use of the term “leaving the room,” for what appears from the video to be two officers running for their lives, indicates that B’Tselem is attempting to belittle the danger facing the officers.
- B’Tselem determines that an “extrajudicial killing” occurred based on a video in which it is impossible to ascertain who fired at whom, where, and how.
- The events leading up to scene in the video are based on anonymous source, and references to “photographs of Hajuj’s body” are also without a clear source.
- B’Tselem voices skepticism regarding statements from the Israeli police, while accepting at face value Palestinian testimonies, including casting doubt over whether there was indeed a knife at the scene: “A photograph of the knife that the police say Hajuj had been carrying was made available by the Israel Police Spokesperson’s Unit and published on Israeli media” (emphasis added).