Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Two killed during Nakba Day demonstrations in Ramallah


By Claire Matsunami - May 15, 2014
TAGS:
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Ofer prison] [Nakba] [Israeli violence] [IDF]

The father and relatives of one of the two Palestinian teenagers killed by Israeli forces near Ramallah. Photo by Lazar Simeonov.

Two young men were killed on Thursday, the 66th anniversary of the Nakba, during an impromptu demonstration outside Israel’s Ofer Prison on the outskirts of Ramallah.  Six additional protesters were hit with live ammunition shot by Israeli forces; one remains in critical condition at the Ramallah hospital. 

Demonstrators began to gather near Ofer around mid-day, and found that the Israeli army was already there in large numbers, prepared for a demonstration. “Soldiers were everywhere, it seemed they were prepared for war. There were snipers on top of the houses,” said Lema Nazeeh, an activist and board member for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. 

The demonstration was an unplanned event held in response to the Nakba and in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons who today entered their 124th day without food. “Prisoners are paying the price in our fight for freedom and dignity,” said Nazeeh. 

Nazeeh explained that Nakba, which means catastrophe in Arabic, refers to “the continuous ethnic cleaning of Palestinians that has been going on for 66 years since the creation of the state of Israel.”  Nazeeh argues that it is important to recognize that the Nakba, “is not an event of the past, but a continuous reality.  The Nakba is still going on and it is not ending anytime soon—unless the world recognizes what is happening.”

The word Nakba refers to the creation of the state of Israel and the concurrent expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland. 

Soldiers fire live ammunition indiscriminately

A group of young men and youths arrived around an hour into the demonstration outside the gates of Ofer prison. Upon their arrival, Israeli soldiers reportedly began to shoot randomly into the crowd. 

Nadim Nuwara, 15, was shot between the shoulder and chest.  He was rushed to the hospital but died shortly after arriving.  Muhammad Abu Thaher, 17, was killed instantly when a bullet hit him in the heart.  Muhammad Al Azah, 21, remains in critical condition in the ICU at Ramallah hospital after he was shot in the chest.  The other five who were shot are stable and will not sustain lasting damage from their wounds.

“We know that they came that day with the intention to kill.  To kill non-violent protestors,” said Nazeeh, touching on the heavy military turnout and presence of snipers.

She emphasized that these killings are raw evidence that Nakba continues to this day: “Israel is targeting the new generation, the kids, shooting them right in the heart… This is terrorism, Israel is a terrorist state.”

Nadim Nuwara’s father spoke with the Palestine Monitor at the funeral, saying simply: “I want the world to know that Israel killed my son.”

Bodies of martyrs are returned home to their villages

On Friday morning, family and friends of the two boys killed gathered at the Ramallah Hospital to collect the bodies.  Nadim Nuwara’s mother fainted when she saw her son’s body and was rushed into the hospital to receive care.  

The two bodies were wrapped in Palestinian flags and kuffiyehs (traditional Palestinian scarves). Mourners held them high and lead a procession from the entrance of the hospital to the vehicle that transported the bodies back to their home villages for the rest of the funerals.  

 

“No one will ever forget Nakba. We won’t forget and forgive.  We are connected to the legacy of what happened to our grandfathers and grandmothers and what is happening to us now,” said Nazeeh.

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