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Four days ago, Ahmed, an 11 year old Palestinian refugee, was shot in the head by an Israeli Occupation Soldier in the Jenin refugee camp.
Yesterday, Nov. 8, Mohammad Hamdi Abu Salha, age 15, died after being shot in the head by an Israeli Occupation soldier in the Nablus refugee camp.
They are, respectively, the 56th and 57th Palestinian children to be killed in 2005, many of them by shots to the head. 23 children were killed in the month of January alone. Some were run over by Israeli military jeeps, some were blown up by missiles, some were killed by grenades, some were murdered while playing, some the victims of hit-&-runs by Israelis, some struck by Israeli gunfire in their own homes, others assassinated for peacefully protesting, others murdered for throwing stones; some were killed by settlers, some by undercover soldiers, some by Israeli "security guards", some snipers and others by regular soldiers.
11 of the Palestinians killed this year were under 12 years old. One was 3.
Ahmed was eleven years when he was murdered this week, on the celebrations of the first day of the religious holiday Eid Al-Fitr, by an Israeli Occupation soldier who claimed he thought the child was holding a gun. Later, the Israeli Army circulated to the media photos of a toy gun that they claim was his, but his father says the story of the gun was fabricated - the children were playing with sticks.
The soldier, who was unseen and using a high-velocity sniper rifle from a purported distance of 130 yards, first "put down" the child by shooting him in the crotch/hip. Afterards, while he was on the ground, to "verify the shot", he was then shot in his head.
JULIANO MER-KHAMIS: "Way did you shoot at his head, when you already had put him down with your first shot?"
SOLDIER: "It's matter of procedure."
JULIANO: "But even if you mistook him for a sniper,
why kill him? He didn't shoot at you, even if he was holding a toy gun, as you claimed."
SOLDIER: "I told you, it's matter of procedure."
At the time of the same holiday last year, another Israeli soldier in another Palestinian refugee camp murdered a 13-year-old girl, Iman al-Hams. After announcing over his walkie-talkie that he had identified her as a child, he proceeded to shoot her in the crotch/hip, bringing her to the ground. According to eyewitness Chris MacGreal, Middle East chief reporter for the London Guardian, "four or five soldiers emerged from the army post and shot at her from a distance. Palestinian witnesses and some Israeli soldiers say that the platoon commander moved in closer to put two bullets in the child’s head. They say that he then walked away, turned back and fired a stream of bullets into her body.
Said the doctor: “The [seventeen] bullets were large and shot from a close distance. The most serious injuries were to her head. One bullet was shot from the right side of the face beside the ear. It had a big impact on the whole face. Another bullet went from the neck to the face and damaged the area under the mouth.” Iman was already dead when some of bullets hit her."
Afterwards, the soldier who fired 17 bullets into a 13-year-old girls head at close range also explained that it was "a matter of procedure" to do so, explaining that she had walked too close to an area - a recently confiscated Palestinian olive orchard - that the Israelis had declared a "forbidden zone."
Over the last 1,500 days, more than 700 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli settlers and soldiers. That's about 1 Palestinian child murdered every 48 hours. Many of them were infants and elementary schoolchildren and large numbers were killed inside their own homes and schools or while playing immediately outside their homes and schools.
In the same period, over 10,000 other Palestinian children have been shot - with inexplicably huge numbers of them shot in the head - and many hundreds left crippled and scarred for life.
"I hope we can live a peaceful life without the killing of children. My children and the Palestinian children in the camp are dreaming of a life in peace and freedom."
-- Ismail Khatib, Ahmed's father, upon donating his son's organs to save the lives of Jewish children.
"You don’t simply bundle people onto trucks and drive them away. I prefer to advocate a more positive policy... to create, in effect, a condition that in a positive way will induce people to leave."
--Ariel Sharon, quoted in David Bernstein (reporting from Jerusalem), "Forcible removal of Arabs gaining support in Israel", The Times (London), August 24, 1988.
"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." -- David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.
"...ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas ... in order to accomplish the occupation of territory to the exclusion of the purged group." --UN Report on Crimes in Bosnia, 1992
"Ariel Sharon is a killer obsessed with his hatred of Palestinians." -- US Ambassador Philip Habib, Reagan's Middle East Envoy
"Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, is a war criminal who should be in prison, not in office. Sharon continues to organise terror. Today the Israeli government is helping to promote a wholly distorted picture of racism and religious discrimination in Europe, implying that the most serious upsurge of hatred and discrimination is against Jews. The same universal human values that recognise the Holocaust as the greatest racist crime of the 20th century require condemnation of the policies of successive Israeli governments - not on the absurd grounds that they are equivalent to the Holocaust, but because ethnic cleansing, discrimination and terror are immoral. They are also fuelling anger and violence across the world." --Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
"How wrong does Israel have to be before you speak up?"
--Shulamit Aloni, former member of the Israeli Knesset
"The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established normally. Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children ... Palestinians are not struggling for a "state" but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa ..."
--Nelson Mandela, March 2001
"The Palestinians are animals. They are less than human. They are savage beasts. Israel is a land of love. People in Israel love one another. But the Palestinians do not love. They hate. They should be destroyed. We should put fire to them. We should take back Beit Jala, Bethlehem, take back all the land and get rid of them." --reporter for the Israeli Arabic Press service quoted in A GAZA DIARY, www.bintjbeil.com/articles/en/011001_hedges.html
"[Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs." --Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the `Beasts,"` New Statesman, June 25, 1982.
We must get rid of Palestinians "the same way you get rid of lice." -- Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehevam Ze`evi concerning Arab labor inside Israel, July 2, 2001
"Zionism is a form of racism." --General Assembly of the United Nations
"It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct." --Mahatma Gandhi, 1939
"The notion of being "neutral" is soothing to most people because it is ostensibly fair, it is optimistic, it is positive, obviating the need for negativity and unpleasantness. But a balanced position in an unbalanced situation inevitably is a miscarriage of justice. Neutrality in Palestine-Israel is no different from refusing to take a stand between slaves and slave owners, or between children and abusive priests." --Kathleen Christison, former CIA agent
"I can`t stand to see the children get shot. I don`t care about the others. But when the children get shot I cry. I can`t take it. I feel like I am sixty." -- Mohammed Abu Rich
Photo by AnomalousNYC, Lower East Side - USA.