Video: Israeli bullet tears through refugee boys’ happy lives

Life for Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation is described by a boy from Jalazone refugee camp in The Bullet, a new seven-minute documentary produced by the human rights organization Al-Haq.

Fourteen-year-old Muhammad Qatamesh discusses his happy life in the West Bank camp, where “houses are adjacent to one another” and “people love one another.”

Camp residents originate from different areas of Palestine and if they have the chance to return, Muhammad says, “I’m sure that we will continue to love one another.”

Muhammad’s favorite thing about life in the camp is his friends, and his best friend is Atta, who taught Muhammad how to catch birds in the surrounding hills.

The two used to go to school together until Atta began attending the United Nations-run school at the camp entrance.

“The school is large and beautiful,” Muhammad explains, “but its location is not,” as the Israeli settlement colony Beit El is a mere two hundred meters away.

“I hate the settlement and the army because they are close to the school,” Muhammad states.

The army has killed children from the camp the same age as him and his friend, Muhammad explains.

Atta escaped death after he was shot one day by a soldier near the school.

The boy was hospitalized for two months but Muhammad was unable to visit him, since his friend was being treated in Israel and “Because I’m Palestinian and a young man, they will not give me a permit.”

Muhammad’s friend is back home in the camp, but life will never be the same for Atta, who was paralyzed by the soldier’s bullet.

A couple months after Atta was shot in May 2013, Defence for Children International-Palestine published the above video testimony in which the boy describes being shot by soldiers while attempting to retrieve his school bag. He was walking with friends and drinking a Coke when he was paralyzed by a single bullet.

“I’m not expecting anything to happen,” Atta said of the soldier who shot him.

Two of Atta’s brothers were previously shot by the Israeli military, his father told The Electronic Intifada contributor Dina Elmuti. One of Atta’s brothers was in an Israeli prison when the boy was shot.

“Atta is not the first child Israel has done this to, and he won’t be the last,” his mother told The Electronic Intifada last year.

Other boys and young men from the camp have been slain by the army since that interview.

Fifteen-year-old Wajih al-Ramahi died after he was shot in the back near the UN school last December.

Muhammad Mubarak, nineteen years old, was slain near a military post in January. The army claimed that the youth opened fire at them but eyewitnesses testified that Mubarak was unarmed and at the time of the incident and was working as a laborer on the road as part of a project funded by the US government agency USAID.

Twenty-year-old Ahmad Sabarin was killed during an army raid on the camp in June.

Defence for Children International-Palestine has documented ten child fatalities in the occupied West Bank caused by live ammunition since the beginning of this year.

The victims include eleven-year-old Khalil Muhammad al-Anati, who was shot in the back by soldiers during an August raid on Fawwar refugee camp near the city of Hebron:

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The "most moral army in the world" is also the most dishonourable and malicious army in the world.

I cannot imagine the amount of hate it takes to shoot people, especially children, for sport. There is nothing heroic or honourable about shooting defenceless people for sport. One must be totally devoid of empathy and lack a conscience to intentionally shoot children with live ammo and then boast about it to their comrades.

Viva palestine.

Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

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