Sunday, December 3, 2023

“God grant us patience”: Palestinians mourn slain child | Middle East

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Ali Abu Alia had just turned 15 on Friday when Israeli forces shot him dead during a protest in the village of al-Mughayyir in the occupied West Bank.

He was delighted to have a birthday party later that evening, especially since the Abu Alia family is religious and usually doesn’t party.

But Ali’s father, Ayman, had let his wife know that this time they were going to throw a party for him.

“Ali got excited and asked his mother to bake the cake for the evening. But it’s his destiny to eat the cake elsewhere [in heaven]Ayman, 40, told Al Jazeera from al-Mughayyir, northeast of Ramallah.

According to information obtained by Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), Israeli occupation forces shot Ali in the abdomen as he observed clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces at the entrance to the village. .

Much like much of the West Bank, protests against illegal Israeli settlements take place in al-Mughayyir every week.

An ambulance transferred Ali Abu Alia to a hospital in Ramallah where a doctor declared him dead soon after his arrival.

Upon hearing the news, Ali’s mother collapsed and the family sought a counselor to try and calm them down, Ittaf Abu Alia, a relative told Al Jazeera.

Four other Palestinians were reportedly injured by rubber-coated metal bullets.

An IDF spokesperson denied that live ammunition was used during the protest, media reported on Friday.

‘Ali will not be the last child killed’

Ayman described Ali as “the calmest child”, friendly, full of joy and had a smile that never left his face.

He spent most of his time playing football with his friends or herding sheep with his grandfather.

“I miss everything about him – his smile, his laughter and the joy in his eyes when his team [friends] win in a soccer match. He left a void in his family’s hearts that no one can fill, ”said Ayman.

“His death fell as loud as thunder on our house, but he is not the first Palestinian child [to be killed] and will not be the last.

15-year-old Ali Abu Alia’s mother and sister mourn during his funeral on Saturday in the village of al-Mughayyir near Ramallah [Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

Ali is the fifth Palestinian miner in the West Bank to be killed by Israeli forces with live ammunition this year, according to DCIP, and the second documented murder in al-Mughayyir in recent years.

In February 2018, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Laith Abu Naim in al-Mughayyir after throwing a stone at a military vehicle, DCIP said in a statement on Friday. The rubber-coated metal bullet entered the left side of his forehead and settled in his brain.

Intentional lethal force is only justified under international law when there is a direct threat of death or serious injury, but DCIP investigations suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian minors in such circumstances. unjustified, which can constitute extrajudicial executions.

Palestinians attend funeral of 16-year-old Laith Abu Naim in al-Mughayyir, occupied West Bank in 2018 [File: Mersiha Gadzo/Al Jazeera]

Ayed Abu Eqtaish, director of DCIP, said on Friday that Israeli forces routinely violate international law by using lethal force against Palestinian children without justification.

“Like almost all other cases involving the unlawful killing of Palestinian children by Israeli forces, systemic impunity as a norm ensures that the perpetrator responsible will never be held accountable by the Israeli authorities,” Abu Eqtaish said. .

‘We are continuously targeted’

For Ayman, what bothers him the most is the way some people seem shocked when they learn that a 15-year-old is being shot.

“This is nothing new … We are continually being targeted – our sheep, our homes and our children – if not by the IDF, it is by settlers,” Ayman said.

Residents of al-Mughayyir regularly organize protests against the nearby illegal Israeli outpost, Malachei HaShalom, established on village lands in 2015, according to DCIP.

Israeli soldier points his gun at Palestinian protesters during a protest against illegal settlements in al-Mughayyir in January [File: Abbas Momani/AFP]

Ayman said two mosques in their neighborhood have so far been set on fire by settlers – the Al Kabeer Mosque and the Abu Bakir Mosque. Her 17-year-old son Bassam has already been injured twice by Israeli settlers and the Israeli army.

Every Friday, Israeli settlers show up in the streets of al-Mughayyir and start attacking Palestinian residents, throwing stones at them or at their cars. This is all done with the intention of “depriving us of our freedom and our identity,” said Ayman.

“The world knows what’s going on but no one acts… Ali is not the first to die for no reason and will not be the last. It is an ongoing struggle and it will always be the same story until the occupation is over, ”Ayman said.

“I will say what Ali always said – may God give us the patience to endure [the occupation]. “


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