Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday, August 9

This had probably been the most intense day I had ever experienced thus far in Palestine.

In the morning, we went for the funeral of a man who was shot dead in Hebron yesterday, during clashes with soldiers. Some friends and I witnessed these clashes, on the way back from Al Masara. From a distance, I saw two people who were throwing rocks, shot by the IDF. One was shot in the leg, the other in the chest. The man who was shot in the chest died early this morning. He was one of the 40 people shot that day, many with live ammunition.

Today, we went for his funeral. Hundreds of grieving and angry Palestinians took part in a loud procession, where his body was carried to the cemetery. He was pronounced a "shahid"- or martyr. Martyr is the title given to people who die opposing the Israeli Government and its occupation of Palestinian land.

After the funeral, clashes broke out in another part of H1 between the shebab and the IDF. We observed what is a sad pattern that happens again and again. Masked men and teenagers throwing rocks at armed Israeli soldiers, who throw sound bombs and shoot rubber bullets as well as live ammunition from rooftops.  Some ISMers chose to stay there, others of us went back to the apartment in H2. We monitored the activity of the soldiers and settlers. There were about a dozen settler boys walking around, entering Palestinian yards. We sat down and blocked the yard of the Shamsia family. Some of the kids walked by us and swore at us. In a perfect English accent, one of them said to us, "you son of a bitch". They also said some cruel things to a Palestinian woman, and threw pebbles at some other ISMers.

At around 7 o'clock in the evening, several soldiers came into Tel Rumeida. Four of them went on a Palestinian family's roof. When I asked them if the Palestinian family agreed with this, they yelled at me to move back and pushed me a bit. At the invitation of some Palestinian women, I went on to another roof from a different apartment and photographing what was happening. Other ISMers did the same from another roof.

We saw them shoot a teenage youth (older high school age) who with his friend were throwing rocks at soldiers from a roof several yards away. The sniper focused on the target, and his spotter began giving him co-ordinates. It was a horrifying thing, knowing there was absolutely nothing we could do. A few people tried to get to the building and warn them.
We heard a blast, and saw the soldier fire. The kid went down, clutching his leg. The soldiers began to congratulate the shooter. In mockery of the person they shot, one began to roll around, clutching his leg. The others laughed. 

After a while, they came down. As they were walking away, I asked which one of them shot the kid. The spotter claimed it was him and made a victory sign and posed for photos. He told me he was very proud of his shot. He was laughing and told me he wants the picture of him on the internet. I promised him that will be the case.
One of his buddies later told me that he hates all Arabs, and if he could, he would kill them all. I asked him why, he said he does this because they throw rocks. I told him I don't agree with rock throwing. I asked him would he shoot Israelis if they attack Arabs, he said they don't. I told him about the Sharabati family, who was attacked by settlers a few weeks ago. The soldier said he doesn't know what happened, but if an Israeli attacked an Arab, he wouldn't shoot him. He said the Jews are his people, not the Arabs. I asked him would he shoot an Arab if he attacked an Israeli, and he said of course. 

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