Moral Low Ground


Palestinian Child Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi Shot Dead by Israeli Sniper in Illegally-Occupied West Bank

(Photo: Ma'an Images)

(Photo: Ma’an Images)

A Palestinian child walking home from school was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper in the illegally-occupied West Bank on Saturday.

Haaretz reports accounts differ as to the events that led to the shooting of Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, whose age has been reported as 14 or 15 by various Israeli and Palestinian media sources.

According to Palestine’s Ma’an News Agency, al-Ramahi was shot in the back by an Israeli sniper as he walked home from school near the al-Jalazun (Jalazone) refugee camp on Saturday. Family members are calling the boy’s killing an “execution” and “assassination in cold blood.”

“The Israeli sniper shot my son as if he hunted a bird,” the slain child’s father told reporters.

Locals claimed the shooting was unprovoked and that there “were no clashes or any kind of rock-throwing incidents” when the sniper shot al-Ramahi.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) gave a different account of events. IDF officials claimed soldiers from the Givati Brigade’s Tzabar battalion were stationed in the area in a bid to catch stone-throwing Palestinians and that children were throwing stones at them. A report from the IDF squad leader involved in the shooting claimed soldiers only shot in the air. The IDF is investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, thousands of mourners turned out for al-Ramahi’s funeral procession, with the slain child’s body carried to his family home amid weeping relatives who gathered there to say their final goodbyes. Al-Ramahi was buried in Jalazone’s cemetery. A gunfire salute accompanied the teen’s interment.

Palestinian children often throw stones at Israeli troops out of anger and frustration over decades of illegal 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 Arabs were driven from their homes, often by force and sometimes by massacre, to make way for the modern Jewish state of Israel. More than 200,000 additional Palestinians were expelled after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Six Day War.

Despite its overwhelming military superiority, Israel has responded to stone-throwing youth by arresting and torturing them, ordering their bones broken and sometimes by killing them.

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