Killer of fleeing teen leads Israel in memorial prayer

On Monday, Israel marked its Memorial Day, honoring those it describes as “Israelis killed in combat and in terrorist attacks.”

The Israeli leaders marking the occasion – this year with physical distancing measures – included high-ranking perpetrators of occupation, settler-colonization, home demolitions, wanton killing and other routine war crimes and terror against Palestinians.

One of them, Colonel Yisrael Shomer, read the memorial prayer:

Early on the morning of 3 July 2015, Shomer shot dead Muhammad Sami Ali al-Kasbeh, a 17-year-old resident of Qalandiya refugee camp, near Qalandiya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

According to Defence for Children International Palestine, the boy had earlier been among a group of Palestinians prevented by Israeli forces from entering occupied Jerusalem to join Ramadan prayers at al-Aqsa mosque.

Then, when an Israeli military vehicle passed through the area, Muhammad threw a stone at it and ran away, the human rights group Al-Haq reported in its investigation.

Muhammad al-Kasbeh

Defense for Children International Palestine

Two Israeli soldiers then stepped out of the vehicle. One, Colonel Shomer, opened fire on Muhammad. The teenager was hit by at least three bullets in the back, face and torso.

The fact that he was shot in the head is “an indication of a wilful killing,” Al-Haq added.

Israel claimed that the shooting was justified because the soldiers’ lives were in danger.

But security camera video obtained by the human rights group B’Tselem confirmed that Shomer chased al-Kasbeh down and shot him as he ran away, effectively executing him on the spot.

The gunman “approached Muhammad’s body after he had fallen on the ground, looked at it, and then returned to the military vehicle without providing any assistance,” Al-Haq stated.

“The multiple gunshots that struck the teen in the face and upper part of his body at close distance suggest the military commander had fired to kill rather than subdue him,” Ayed Abu Eqtaish, a program director with Defense for Children International Palestine, stated.

He added that the slaying showed “a complete disregard for human life.”

The Israeli military went through the motions of a self-investigation and closed the case without taking any action against Shomer.

The army called his slaying of the teenager a “professional mistake.”

B’Tselem called the dismissal of the case “an integral part of the whitewash mechanism which is Israel’s military investigative system.”

In 2018, Shomer was given a major promotion to command the Israeli army’s Nahal Brigade – confirmation of the systematic impunity and incentives Israelis are given for killing Palestinians.

Al-Haq pointed out that two of Muhammad’s brothers, Yasser, 11 and Samer, 15, were also killed as children by Israeli occupation forces in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

Muhammad was just 3 years old when his brothers were killed fewer than 40 days apart during the second intifada.

“The loss of his brothers would profoundly shape Muhammad’s life and permanently haunt his parents,” The Electronic Intifada reported in 2015.

They are the victims of terrorism, slain by the likes of Shomer, who must be remembered.

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Definitely on the short list for Storm Trooper of the year.

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Our Planets rewards unholy, cruel, statistic behaviour, as the case of Colonel Yisrael Shomer reveals. Colonel Shomer has been rewarded for murder a Palestinian child for throwing a stone and given the seat of honour at their Memorial Day.
It is not just the “Jewish Only” State of Israel which honours evil deeds; England, the United States and Chile have done likewise.
If the UN and other children centred International Charities cannot protect the lives of the occupied children of Palestine, then there is no chance of lawfully ending Israel’s shot to lame policy; which has already crippled hundreds of Palestinian children.

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Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.