Thursday, December 13, 2012

Three Days on a 45 year Occupation

HIS name is Muhammad Slayma, and until this week he was just another lad growing up in the West Bank city of Hebron.  A good sports player and popular with his schoolpals perhaps, but not otherwise outstanding.  Then yesterday, after celebrating his 17th birthday at school (above) Muhammad was on his way to pick up another cake for home from the bakers when he became a victim of the 45-year long occupation of his homeland.  Another martyr for the resistance.

The Israeli occupation forces say he ignored a shouted order to stop. Friends say he was hard of hearing. The soldiers said he was shot after brandishing a gun. It turned out to be a toy. He was reportedly shot six times.

Today an Israeli group called " We are all for death to terrorists". proudly posted a picture of the woman said to have shot the boy dead. The text said n Hebrew "this is Nofar Mizrahi class instructor Unit 25 Border Police Judea and Samaria, that shot a terrorist in Hebron".

On the streets of Hebron, the killing of this "terrorist" with a toy gun brought crowds of youth out on the streets  to clash with Israeli troops who fired tear gas.  At one point some soldiers who were cornered took refuge in a bitchers shop, whether from fear or to avoid shooting more teenagers. Not everyone wants to be celebrated by the death cult.

It was just another day in the world's longest running occupation, that has gone on for 45 years and six months. But it comes as the Netanyahu government wants to punish the Palestinians and hold up two fingers of scorn to the UN for giving what's left of Palestine some recognition.  It has already held up funds which belong to the Palestine authority.

On Tuesday, to show who is boss in areas under the nominal control of the Palestinian Authority, Israeli occupation forces ransacked the offices of Palestinian human rights organizations in Ramallah.
In a statement Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer said:
    At 3 am this morning, 11 December 2012, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights office was raided by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Four laptops, one hard disk and a video camera were taken among other materials. The IOF destroyed the office; desks, ransacked filing cabinets and files and scattered files around the office. At this moment, we are not clear as to what has been confiscated, but in the coming days we will know more about the level of destruction and damage. This is the first raid by the IOF since 2002, when the Addameer office was raided during the invasion of Ramallah.
    The offices of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee and the Palestinian NGO Network were also raided and ransacked last night. Addameer condemns this attack on human rights and civil society organizations, and sees it as an attempt to cripple solidarity with the prisoners movement.


At 2pm on Tuesday, a group of farmers were walking towards their fields next to the apartheid wall in Ni’lin. They were spotted by two military jeeps that started hunting them as the soldiers considered the farmers to be in a “closed military area”, when really they were walking on their own land. As the farmers fled back to the village the Israeli army sent three military jeeps into the village in an attempt to surround and arrest the men. The farmers however evaded the soldiers who started chasing them through the village while shooting after them.

Many young people gathered in the streets at this point and tried to prevent the jeeps from chasing after the farmers by barricading the roads with boulders. The Israeli soldiers responded by firing live ammunition towards the youths.

This led to clashes lasting for four hours. More military jeeps charged into the village until there were 13 of them on Ni’lin land. Tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets were fired straight at homes leading to a large number of women, children and elderly people suffering from tear gas inhalation as even those staying indoors was effected. Most of the shooting taking place was however live ammunition fired straight towards the people of Ni’lin. The Red Crescent was also targeted with live bullets to prevent them from treating injured villagers during the clashes.

Three people were injured during the clashes, one from a live round entering his leg and two shot with rubber coated steel bullets in neck and head, respectively. They were taken to Ramallah hospital after the clashes and the man shot in the head was in severe condition during Wednesday.


Five people have been injured in clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, after a Palestinian teenager was shot by Israeli soldiers on Wednesday.
Dozens of Palestinian youths were reported to have thrown stones and bottles at the soldiers early on Thursday morning, while Associated Press news agency reported that the Israeli soldiers had responded by firing tear gas on the youths.

Five Palestinians were hospitalised after the clashes, reported Ma'an News Agency.
Thursday's clashes came ahead of the funeral for 17-year-old Palestinian, Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah, who was shot dead by an Israeli policewoman at a checkpoint in the city on Wednesday, for allegedly carrying a gun which later turned out to be "fake".

Some news agencies reported that Salaymah had been shot up to six times.
Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for Israeli police, said on Wednesday that an initial investigation indicated "[Salaymah] pulled a fake pistol. They [troops at the scene] thought it was real."

Palestinians, however, said Salaymah was unarmed, and had failed to heed orders to halt at a military checkpoint because he was hard of hearing. Protests against the shooting broke out in the Old City on Wednesday night, with Israeli forces using tear gas and live ammunition to quell the demonstrations.
"They have orders to shoot with live bullets now," a resident of Hebron told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.
(al Jazeera)

If the Israeli forces are alternately trigger happy and nervous, fearing the start of another Intifada,  the Palestinian youth are showing both confidence and anger. And as a report today in Ha'aretz notes, it is not only the Israeli military that are feeling it:

It appeared, however, that Palestinian Authority forces were unable to deal with the increasing intensity of the protests in the West Bank. The youths did not hesitate, and threw stones at the Palestinian police as well, while continuing to clash with the soldiers. A short time later, the Palestinian police left the scene, and the clashes continued.

In the past, the arrival of Palestinian police on the scene, especially in urban areas, would cause the demonstrations to disperse. Today, however, it appears that the perception of the Palestinian Authority as relatively week, has been applied to police as well. 
There was massive public support on the West Bank for the Palestinian UN recognition bid. But when the Israeli military shows  as it has in Ramallah its contempt for both the Palestine Authority and the UN, the youth show that while they support the diplomatic effort for statehood, they are not going to subordinate their struggle for justice and freedom to it.


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