Shocked by this story from Jerusalem of a Palestinian teen fighting for his life this evening after being shot by Israeli forces cracking down on Nakba demonstrations. The incident occurred a five minute walk from the Jerusalem Panorama Hotel, where I stayed three weeks ago for Holy Week. I walked right dowh the street saying the rosary one evening, deeply moved by the sights of the local community. I remember the sheer graciousness of the Palestinian community who welcomed me so warmly - the shopkeepers in the grocery store, the druggist, the fruit stand, the teen boys lounging on the streets who lit up so brightly when I said I was from America (no resentment there), the young boy on his horse charging up and down the street with unabashed enthusiasm, the tiny boys throwing little pebbles at the passing cars, who smiled shyly at me as I watched their game, and finally the young teen boy, about the same age as the victim of this story, who smiled so warmly at me each day as I passed him in the fruit stand. (Needless to say, girls do not lounge about on the streets of a Muslim Palestinian neighborhood and I only saw them in passing in the early morning, wearing their uniforms on the way to school. ) One of these boys now lies in Muqassed Hospital fighting for his life, if not dead already, since he arrived at the hospital with no pulse. Tragically, this story only confirms the central insight of my pilgrimage to the Holy City - one cannot celebrate the Passover of the Lord, especially within his own city, without being immersed within the tragedy of the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.
Palestinian teen critically injured as Israel cracks down on Nakba demos; American protester shot in the head with tear-gas canister at close range. (taken from Mondoweiss)
A 17 year-old was critically injured from live fire in East Jerusalem, and an American protester suffered serious head injury after being hit by a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him from close range.
Israeli military and police forces responded heavy handedly to demonstrations commemorating 63 years to the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948 today all over the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Morad Ayyash, a 17 year old from the Ras el-Amud neighborhood was shot in the stomach with live ammunition. He has reached the Muqassed hospital with no pulse and the doctors are now fighting for his life.
Tension also rose in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, where 19 protesters have been injured and 11 were arrested. During the evening hours, large police forces raided houses in Silwan and carried out additional arrests.
In the village of Ma'asara, south of Bethlehem, two protesters were arrested during a peaceful demonstration that was attacked with tear-gas for no apparent reason. One of those arrested is a member of the village's popular committee. In Nabi Saleh - a regular target for military aggression recently - soldiers and Border Police officers injured no less than 25 protesters, including a Palestinian women in her 50s who was beaten up so badly that her wounds required her removal from the Salfeet Hospital to the bigger and more advanced Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus. A 25 year-old American demonstrator suffered a serious head injury and an Israeli activist was diagnosed with two open fractures in his hand. Both were injured by tear-gas projectiles shot directly at them from short range, in violation of the Israeli Army's open fire regulations. Four protesters were arrested in Nabi Saleh, including two Palestinian women.
Violence in Nabi Saleh started today after Israeli Border Police officers took over the village's main junction and tried to disperse the demonstration while it was still well inside the village, The officers began charging the peaceful protesters with batons, shooting large amounts of tear-gas - partly shot directly at the demonstrators - and carrying out arrests.
The Israeli military and police's violent and hysteric reaction to the Nakba day demonstrations today is an example to the fact that Israel cannot conceive handling Palestinian civil resistance to the Occupation in any means but military means. As September looms, it seems as if Israel chooses to tread not the path of democracy, but rather that of neighboring regimes like Egypt and Syria, and shoot at unarmed demonstrators.