11) FOURTH PALESTINIAN CHILD THIS YEAR KILLED BY ISRAEL
By Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, January 31, 2018
Israeli occupation forces shot and killed 16-year-old Laith Abu Naim on Jan. 30, during protests by Palestinian youths in the West Bank village of al-Mughayyer, near Ramallah. Meanwhile, Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi spent her birthday, Wednesday, Jan. 31, in an Israeli prison.
Abu Naim was hit in the head with live ammunition and taken to a Ramallah hospital where he died of his injuries. According to the Ma’an News Agency, Abu Naim is the eighth Palestinian, and the fourth child, to be killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2018.
The Fatah political faction called a strike for Jan. 31 in Ramallah, the day Abu Naim’s funeral was held, to protest the child’s slaying.
A week ago, another Palestinian teenager was shot in the neck by Israeli occupation forces in the village of Burqa, near Nablus in the northern West Bank. A local official said 16-year-old Muhyi al-Din Abed al-Rahman Salah was injured with a live bullet when Israeli soldiers “ambushed youths” near the entrance to the village, Ma’an News Agency reported. The youth was taken to a hospital in Nablus for treatment of moderate injuries.
This violent start to the new year for Palestinian children follows a year of systematic abuses by Israeli occupation forces.
In a review of 2017, Defense for Children International-Palestine said that there were “no signs of abatement in Palestinian children’s vulnerability to injury and abusive military arrest in the West Bank.”
Fourteen Palestinian boys and girls under the age of 18 were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during 2017. Israeli forces routinely kill Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip while enforcing the 50-year old military occupation.
According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, regulations meant to restrict the use of live ammunition to life-threatening situations are systematically ignored by Israeli forces with impunity, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians.
B’Tselem calls this widespread and indiscriminate use of lethal force “a crucial element in Israel’s ability to maintain violent control over millions of Palestinians.”
In 2016, B’Tselem stopped cooperating with Israeli military investigations into such killings, calling them “a system that whitewashes investigations and serves as a fig leaf for the occupation.”
Activists across the world celebrated the 17th birthday of Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who has been in Israeli military detention since 19 December.
In an emotional poem on Facebook, Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi wrote of the pain of his daughter’s absence from the family’s home on her birthday, and of his pride in her courage in the face of Israel’s persecution.
Ahed’s military trial was scheduled to begin on her birthday, but the army has delayed it to 6 February, reportedly at the request of her lawyer. But prisoners rights group Addameer suggested that the delay was an Israeli tactic aimed at “letting international attention fall away.”
Ahed has become a symbol for the 350 Palestinian children currently in the custody of the Israeli army.
“Keep up the noise,” Addameer urged.
Ahed was detained in a night raid from her home in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh days after a video circulated showing her and her cousin Nour slapping and shoving two heavily armed Israeli soldiers following an incident in which a soldier shot in the head and seriously injured their 15-year-old cousin.
Outraged by a perceived insult to their occupation forces, Israeli leaders are vowing revenge against the Tamimi family and are subjecting Ahed, her mother Nariman and cousin Nour to military trials in kangaroo courts with a near-100 percent conviction rate.
“Nothing that Ahed Tamimi has done can justify the continuing detention of a 16-year-old girl,” Amnesty International stated earlier this month. “The Israeli authorities must release her without delay.”
However, Israel has decided to keep her in detention through her trial, which could take months.
Last week, a group of French academics and intellectuals published a letter in Le Monde focusing on Ahed’s case and calling for an end to Israel’s military detention of children.
“We urge President Emmanuel Macron to take action urgently to contact the Israeli authorities to finally end their detention practices that violate children’s rights, human rights and international law,” the statement says.
And Canadian lawmaker Hélène Lavardière wrote to her country’s foreign minister raising Ahed’s case. Lavardière, foreign affairs spokesperson for the left of center New Democratic Party, urged foreign minister Chrystia Freeland “to speak to Israel on behalf of thousands of concerned Canadians, to pressure Israel” to respect Palestinian children’s rights.