The Israeli Occupation‘s population-control policy in Palestine includes merciless suppression of every kind of protest. Recently, two Palestinian boys were killed; both were shot in the back with live ammunition, for daring to stand up against injustice. On 29 July, 15-year-old Amjad Nashat Faheem Naser (Abu Alia), was shot while marching with other al-Mughayir villagers to protest against land and property seizures by the Israeli Army and settlers finding himself confronted by Israeli forces as well as armed settlers. The Israeli Army, firing live ammunition, stun grenades and tear gas canisters, was joined by an armed settler, shooting from behind a stone wall a mere 15 metres away. Amjad, shot in the back and suffering severe internal bleeding, later died in hospital. On the evening of 1 August, an Israeli sniper shot and killed 17-year-old Dirar Riyad Saleh al-Kafrini, for protesting against an Israeli military invasion of a UN refugee camp in Jenin. Dirar, like Amjad, also died in hospital from severe internal bleeding. So far this year, as Defence for Children International (DCIP) reports, Israeli Occupation forces have shot and killed 18 Palestinian youngsters.
Earlier, on 8 July, Israeli Occupation forces, firing rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at protesters, wounded eight people, including Mu’min Murad Eshteiwi (aged 14). On 15 July, the Israeli Army, again firing rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, this time in the Qaryut village spring area, wounded a 12-year-old boy: Amir Moaz Abu Salmiya. On 27 July, at 2:55am, Israeli forces, firing the usual rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters, raided the al-Jalazoun UN refugee camp and invaded a home, wounding a 13-year-old boy: Ribhi Ahmed.
There were other deaths that month: On 2 July, 68-year-old Saadia Salem Radwan Farajallah died, due to medical negligence in an Israeli prison where she had been held since 18 December last year. On 23 July, at 2:10am, raiding Israeli Occupation forces, firing live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters, attacked and invaded homes in Nablus, killing two people and wounding ten. Those who died, Mohammed Bashar Azizi and Abd al-Rahman Jamal Sobh, were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade, targeting their home while it was surrounded by Israeli forces. On 29 July, a 60-year-old resident of the village of Awarta, Hussein Hassan Qawariq, died of wounds received two days earlier during an assault by Israeli forces at the Huwara checkpoint.
Israeli air strikes
Since beginning to write this article, news has broken of yet another Israeli air bombardment of Gaza. It’s easy for Israel, Gaza has no air defence! At around lunch-time, early afternoon on Friday, 5 August, Israel launched a series of air strikes across the Gaza Strip, with an initial death-toll of ten and injury to 55 other people. At approximately 4:30pm, as the air strikes continued, a five-year-old girl, Alaa Qaddoum, was killed while accompanying her father on a motorcycle. The child’s mother, Rasha, lost her daughter as well as her husband in a moment and has three other children to care for. The first Israeli strike hit the Palestine Tower, with smoke pouring from the seventh floor while people, seeking shelter, were menaced by Israeli reconnaissance drones overhead. The Israeli air strikes carried on into the evening and it wasn’t until 9pm that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) finally retaliated, firing more than a hundred rockets, with about 60 of them crossing into Israel. More than a quarter of them fell short, inside Gaza. As at 6pm, 6 August, rocket-fire launched from Gaza had resulted in damage to one home in Israel. One civilian and two military personnel had been injured and there was limited damage to property.
The Israeli attacks targeted residential areas and, according to a UN OCHA report, 40 families are known to have been displaced since 5 August, including 30 from the Palestine Tower building in Gaza City. The Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza has confirmed that 11 homes have been totally destroyed, with some 650 housing units partially damaged, 29 of them uninhabitable.
Washington, predictably, justified the Friday Israeli air strikes, stating: “The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel.” This attack on Gaza follows a series of raids, assassinations and prisoner-taking directed at Palestinians throughout Occupied Palestine, including the beating and seizure of Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement leader, Bassam al-Saadi, during a raid on the Jenin UN refugee camp.
Protests – take notice
The Palestinian protests are declarations of resolve not to surrender; they appeal to the world not to ignore the cruelty and injustice of the Israeli military Occupation. Israel ruthlessly enforces its presence through immense military superiority, which enables it to incrementally seize land and property while aiming to break the spirit of the population. Israel wants the land but not its people. To achieve its Zionist goal, the people it has invaded are subjected to constant raids by night and by day. Israeli forces invade and destroy Palestinian homes, impose extreme travel restrictions and commit armed robbery. Together with settlers, they inflict ruinous agricultural, pastoral and economic sabotage.
Supported by the United States, Canada, the EU and Britain, all of which have provided Israel with weaponry, the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza has lasted for 14 years. This collective punishment of two million Palestinians, over 70% of whom are refugee victims of Zionism, amounts to imprisonment. Almost half the population are children under the age of 15, who, as a result of blockade, do not even have secure supplies of water, food, electricity nor medicine. Their plight is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Year-by-year, hardly a day goes by without attacks by the Israeli Navy on Palestinian fishing boats, along with agricultural sabotage. Israel, which severely restricts Palestinian movement, makes military incursions into the enclave whenever it likes and, similarly, invades its air-space at will. The people in Gaza have been denied their right to return home for 74 years and, like all Palestinians, have the right to resist. They deserve the support of all who value and respect universal human rights and the provisions of international law.