Moral Low Ground


Palestinian Boy Samir Ahmed Awad Shot Dead by Israeli Troops in Occupied West Bank

Samir Ahmed Awad (Photo: Occupied Palestine)

Samir Ahmed Awad (Photo: Occupied Palestine)

An Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli forces near the West Bank separation wall in Budrus on Monday, the fourth Palestinian killed by Israelis in the past five days in the occupied territory.

Samir Ahmed Awad, 17, was shot after a group of boys threw rocks at Israeli troops near the wall separating Israel from the West Bank.

“It was the last day of school and some students threw stones,” Budrus Mayor Mohammed Morar told Agence France-Presse. “The soldiers caught him and tried to arrest him, but he escaped so they fired six bullets at him.”

Three of the rounds struck the boy in the leg, back and head, medics said.

Palestinian children often throw stones at Israeli troops out of frustration and anger at decades of occupation of their homeland and humiliating oppression. A century ago, the territory that is today Israel was populated overwhelmingly (more than 90 percent) by Arabs. Through land purchases, immigration and, later, terrorism and ethnic cleansing, Jewish settlers known as Zionists gained control of Palestine. Some 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes, often by force and sometimes by massacre, to make way for the Jewish state of Israel after the Holocaust and World War II.

Despite its overwhelming military superiority, Israel has responded to stone-throwing children by arresting and torturing them, ordering their bones broken and sometimes, as was the case with Awad, killing them.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said soldiers fired on the children after several Palestinians “approached the security fence near Budrus and damaged it in an attempt to infiltrate Israel.”

The barrier is itself a cause of much contention. Israel claims it is needed to keep suicide bombers out. But critics around the world, who call it an ‘apartheid wall,’ say it is a way for Israel to grab even more Palestinian territory and advance its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

Hours after Awad’s killing, around 2,000 Palestinians from Budrus and surrounding villages turned out for the boy’s funeral. Some threw stones at nearby Israeli troops, who returned fire with chemical agents.

Awad is the fourth Palestinian to be killed near the separation wall in the past five days. Two Gazan farmers in their 20s were shot near the wall on Friday and on Monday. One of the farmers was identified as 21-year-old Mustafa Abu Jarad; he was reportedly shot in the head. On Saturday, a laborer was shot dead as he tried to cross the barrier to find work.

The separation wall has also been condemned because it cuts off many Palestinians from their work and even from their farmland, a form of economic strangulation that causes widespread misery, privation and desperation.

The Israeli daily Haaretz also reports that a boy aged 12 or 13 was shot in Deir Nidham. He was allegedly part of a group of stone-throwing youths. The boy was taken to Israel for treatment.

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