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Tirza Porat

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Tirza Porat (Hebrew: תרצה פורת‎; 1973? – April 6, 1988) was a 15-year-old Israeli girl from Elon Moreh, a religious Israeli settlement on the West Bank, killed during a confrontation between Jewish settlers from Elon Moreh and Palestinian residents of the neighbouring village of Beita on April 6, 1988. She was the first Israeli civilian casualty in the West Bank during the First Intifada. Despite early reports, widely believed in Israel, that she had been stoned to death by Palestinians, an Israeli investigation concluded that she had been accidentally shot by Romam Aldubi, a Jewish 26-year old violence-prone religious nationalist.[1]

Incident

The incident occurred in the Palestinan village of Beita. A group of 15 teenagers from the Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh had gone hiking during the Passover school holiday accompanied by a guide and two guards, Romam Aldube and Menachem Ilan.[2] About 10 kilometres South of Elon Moreh, whilst on land belonging to Beita village they came across a farmer, Mousa Saleh Bani Shamseh. After an exchange of words Romam Aldube shot him dead. The group then continued into the village.[3]

Within the village a rumour had spread that the Israelis had come to poison the village well. A crowd gathered and confronted the group. Palestinian residents said the guards provoked the incident by shooting 19-year-old, Hatem Fayez Ahmd al-Jaber who approached the Israelis. Other reports describe the mother of Mousa Saleh throwing a stone at Aldube. The crowd then charged the hikers, disarming the guards and destroyed their guns. Aldube received a serious head wound. Tizra Porat was killed during this incident.

Initial reports in the media stated that Tizra Porat had been killed by Palestinian stone throwers. An official statement spoke of the group falling 'into the hands of pogromists and murderers'. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir attended her funeral at which there were cries of "Revenge" and "Wipe Beita off the map".[4][5] The following day the IDF revealed that she been shot in the head by a M16 carbine belonging to Aldubi. It was also revealed that 'the young settlers, instructed by their elders, had rendered untruthful accounts.'[6] Despite knowing from the start who was responsible the Israeli Army dynamited 15 buildings in Beita. They also killed a sixteen-year-old boy Issam Abdul Halim Mohammad Said and arrested all male adult residents, six of whom were later deported. Romam Aldubi was brought to trial in Israel, but the charges were dropped on the grounds "that what had happened [was] already punishment enough".[7][8][8][9][10]

Chief of Staff Gen. Dan Shomron later said that Palestinian villagers protected the Israelis from further harm.[1] Some residents helped the teenagers, including several women who hid three girls inside their homes.

A medic in a CBS News crew on site began treating the Israelis injured, some of whom were evacuated by Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulances. As well as the two fatalities several villagers suffered severe gun shot wounds.

Notes

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 John Kifner (April 11, 1988). "West Bank Settlers Turn Anger Against the Army". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEFDF123CF932A25757C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print. 
  2. 'to show who are the masters' - TV interview quoted by Noam Chomsky, 'Fateful Triangle - The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians', Updated Edition. Pluto Press, London. 1999. ISBN 0 7453 1530 5. Page 494-495.
  3. Daoud Kuttab. Middle East International. N0 323, 16 April 1988. page 8.
  4. Journal of Palestine Studies, Summer 1988, page 228: 'Officials announce Jewish girl was stoned to death.'Washington Post, 4/7.
  5. Peretz Kidron, Middle East International. No 323, 16 April 1988. page 7.
  6. Peretz Kidron, MEI, No 323. page 8.
  7. In Separate Gestures, a Mosaic of Intentions Friedman, Thomas L. New York Times 1988-04-17
  8. 8.0 8.1 Noam Chomsky, 'Power and Terror - Post-9/11 Talks and Interviews. Seven Stories Press, New York. Little More, Tokyo. 2003. ISBN 1 58322 59 0. page 93.
  9. Journal of Palestine Studies, vol XVII, No.4 #68 Summer 1988, page 230: Palestine Chronology, 8 April. "Israeli army reports 15-year-old Israeli killed 4/6 died when bullet from M-16 rifle carried by Israeli guard struck her in head. Investigation has also shown guard, who was banned by the army from Nablus, killed 1 Palestinian and wounded another before Israeli group reached Bayta village. Some villagers reacted to news of killing by attacking Israelis with stones. Guard was wounded by rock thrown at head. Villagers took guards' guns and broke them. Other Palestinians tried to hide Israeli youths. Soldiers later broke into Bayta hospital, beating patients in search for those suspected of involvement in clash.[NYT 4/9]. (New York Times)
  10. JoPS, page 230: 'Israeli army reports 15-year old Israeli killed 4/6 died when bullet from M-16 rifle carried by Israeli guard struck her in head.' New York Times,4/9.

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