Second Palestinian boy dies weeks after soldiers shot up car

Selfie of boy in T-shirt who is holding camera above him

Jassim Nakhla (via Ma’an News Agency)

A Palestinian boy who was critically injured when Israeli forces shot up the car in which he was traveling died on Monday, weeks after the incident that killed another teen.

Jassim Muhammad Nakhla, 15, was shot in the head and foot on 23 March. Medical sources told a Palestinian media outlet that the boy “had been clinically dead since he was injured, and had been kept on life support since.”

Two more youths, both under the age of 18, were shot in the upper body and seriously injured. Both were in comas and require respirators, Defense for Children International - Palestine stated last week.

An Israeli army spokesperson told media that the youths had thrown firebombs towards a food stand near the Beit El settlement adjacent to the Jalazone refugee camp outside the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

However, a witness told Defense for Children International - Palestine that soldiers opened fire on the car full of youths after it had stalled near the settlement.

Muhammad al-Hattab, the 17-year-old driver, was shot at when he got out of the vehicle, according to the group.

“The witness said Muhammad jumped back into the car to try to escape, but the car did not start. Israeli soldiers then approached the car and opened fire on the four children while inside the car,” Defense for Children International - Palestine added.

Muhammad al-Hattab, shot twice in the torso, was declared dead upon arrival to a hospital.

Protesters gathered in Ramallah after the announcement of Nakhla’s death on Monday:

Palestinian Authority security forces fired tear gas at protesters after they forced stores to close in mourning for the boy’s death:

“Extrajudicial killing”

Photo shows smiling boy from the waist up as he stands in a park

Ahmad Ghazal (via Defense for Children International - Palestine)

Israeli forces have killed six Palestinian children so far this year, all but one of them in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Ahmad Ghazal, a 17-year-old from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, was shot and killed in the Old City of Jerusalem after stabbing and wounding two Israelis on 1 April, in what Defense for Children International - Palestine said “may amount to an extrajudicial killing.”

A witness told the rights group that “he saw Ahmad stab an Israeli man in the back with a knife, and then engage in an altercation with a second Israeli man before fleeing the scene. Paramilitary Border Police quickly arrived and pursued the teen into a building, according to the eyewitness. Moments later, he heard multiple gunshots.”

Video from the scene shows Border Police forces running down an alley in the Old City, past an Israeli man with blood on the back of his shirt, before more than a dozen gunshots are heard:

Another video appears to show several bullet holes in the walls where Ghazal was killed:

“Israeli forces prevented ambulances and medical personnel from entering the building for several hours, the witness said,” Defense for Children International added. “After this period, the witness saw Border Police drag the teen’s body out of the building and place it in a black bag.”

An Israeli police spokesperson said that Ghazal stabbed one of the Border Police combatants before he was shot.

Ghazal was killed just a few days after Siham al-Nimir, 49, was gunned down by Israeli forces in Jerusalem’s Old City. Her 27-year-old son Mustafa al-Nimir had been killed months earlier in what Israel admitted was a mistaken shooting.

“Edges of despair”

According to eyewitness testimony obtained by Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group, Siham al-Nimir and her 17-year-old daughter, Zahra, were arguing loudly near the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City, where several Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces in the last two years.

“Zahra was attempting to pull her mother away from Damascus Gate and into the walls of the Old City, yelling, ‘Mother, for God’s sake, let us leave!’” Al-Haq stated. “Zahra was finally able to wrestle her mother into the Old City and onto a small side street, five meters away from Damascus Gate.”

However, Siham eventually “managed to escape her daughter’s grip, and quickly approached a checkpoint at the entrance of Damascus Gate,” where five Israeli police officers were stationed behind a metal barricade.

Siham walked up to the barrier and brandished a pair of scissors and shouted: “You killed my son!”

The Israeli officer closest to Siham “immediately fired two bullets … one hitting her in the chest and the other in the hip.”

No attempt was made to restrain the woman before lethal force was used against her, according to Al-Haq.

“Siham’s husband, Talal al-Nimir, said he had received a phone call from his daughter Zahra pleading with him to rush to Damascus Gate, telling him that her mother bought a pair of scissors with which she intended to do something but that Zahra was able to restrain her,” Al-Haq added.

“As soon as Talal arrived at Damascus Gate, it was sealed off and he learned that the [Israeli occupation forces] had killed his wife.”

Talal, Zahra and Manar, Siham’s 19-year-old daughter, were interrogated for six hours afterwards.

“The case of Siham al-Nimir is not only representative of Israel’s occupation more generally, as well as the shoot-to-kill policy that it has regularly employed since October of 2015, it also reveals how Israel’s occupation has served to destroy Palestinian family life, pushing the Palestinian population to the edges of despair,” Al-Haq stated.

Numerous human rights groups, a United Nations human rights investigator, and the US State Department and American lawmakers have all raised concerns about Israel’s reflexive use of deadly force against alleged Palestinian attackers over the past year and a half. Amnesty International stated last September that several such cases should be investigated as possible extrajudicial executions.

More than 250 Palestinians and three foreign nationals have been killed by Israeli forces and armed civilians since October 2015. Approximately 40 Israelis and two foreign nationals have been killed by Palestinians during that same period.

Seventeen Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and armed civilians so far this year. The number of Israelis killed by Palestinians during the same period grew to six last week after an Israeli soldier was fatally injured in an alleged car ramming attack near the Ofra settlement in the central West Bank.

Malik Ahmad Moussa Hamid, a 23-year-old Palestinian from the nearby village of Silwad, was detained following the incident.

The Ma’an News Agency reported that Hamid’s “two best friends, Anas Bassam Hammad and Muhammad Abd al-Rahman Ayyad, were killed by Israeli forces two weeks apart in December 2015” while carrying out what Israel says were vehicular attacks.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.