Children shot in Askar Refugee Camp


Today, Saturday, there has been massive Israeli troop and tank deployment in Nablus — while I watched from the roof of a house on the mountainside, five tanks rolled out of their garage tearing up yet more roadway. The imprint of these huge weapons of destruction on everything they vandalise is unbelievable. There was a group of young children on a balcony and a group up the hillside so one of the tanks stopped — remember there are penalties for looking at a tank — and lobbed three shells — over their heads on this occasion, thankfully. But surely this is terrorism to a degree — who lobs whatever millimeter shells at kids of 7 or 8 years old to frighten them? Huge explosions occured nearby, creating large craters to add to the ones already there, and three columns of black smoke rising.

At 5.35 pm, a group of kids and one young man were throwing stones at two Israeli tanks in the roadway in the Askar Refugee Camp. The tanks opened fire on them, killing one and injuring many more. The dead martyr was OSHAN ABDUL AZIZ SHANIER, who was shot by a single bullet to the heart and died instantly. He was 22 years old, born in a refugee camp in his own land, died in a refugee camp in his own land, killed by a soldier who is illegally in his country contravening all the relevant International Laws and Conventions. No warnings here, no mercy. No normal human decency. Shoot to kill. He had no weapon but the stone still in his hand when he died.

The most severely injured are:-

OMAR ALLOUSH. Sixteen years old, he received a direct hit to the chest, causing serious lung damage and severe bleeding. He has been operated on in Nablus and, tonight, he is in a very serious condition and fighting for his life. Shooting to kill children. His weapon also a stone.

OMAR SAQAR. This 18-year-old received a direct shot to the groin, with massive vascular injury and severe bleeding. He is just now in deep shock from the blood loss. Tanks against a stone.

SALHI aged 16 received a direct hit to the right shoulder which seriously fractured the humerus. Quite a price for a stone.

First name unknown ZABBARA, aged 18, also received a well-aimed bullet to the right shoulder which caused extensive lung damage. A stone was also his weapon.

First name unknown TAHA - both bones of this 17-year-old’s lower leg were shattered when the bullet tore into his right calf.

Two more kids are in the hospital but I do not yet know their injuries.

Whilst I was out in the ambulance this evening I saw the place where this happened and the stones still lying in the roadway — they were not large stones as, indeed, they could not be because a heavy stone cannot be thrown very far. Every one fits in the palm.

Balata Refugee Camp was attacked again on Friday night (10th Jan). Again with tanks — the usual. Again, all roads were blocked, denying medical help to the injured. This is normal here where the abnormal is normal and the normal is abnormal and the only normal thing, as we know it, is the people.

As if life in a refugee camp for 55 years is not sufficient collective punishment, the Israeli Occupation Forces decided to play dressing-up. They put on Palestinian clothes and entered the Balata Refugee Camp at 8.00pm. Tanks and bulldozers followed them and they opened fire on the defenceless civilians. There were many injuries and maybe death — the latter covered up, as usual, by the bulldozers. Remember most civilian records for Palestine have been deliberately destroyed or stolen by the illegal Israeli Occupation Force so it is extremely difficult to ascertain what happened in any of these frequent attacks. Also remember that soldiers must always wear their military uniform — not to do so contravenes the Geneva Convention. They often dress up as Palestinians — I’m not surprised because if I were an Israeli I, too, would like to dress up as a human being once in a while. However this is a murderous charade and always brings death. I have seen films today of street violence which has been depicted on the news programmes as Palestinian Police beating and arresting Palestinians, incidents where the attacking ‘Palestinians’ are, in fact, Israeli soldiers.

Additionally, at 1.15 a.m. on Saturday, I heard the noise of tanks and when I opened my window and could plainly hear them and a bulldozer going forward and back many times — for about 15 minutes — at the village of Beit Wazan on the Haifa Road. It was demolishing the house of a young woman Martyr who carried out an operation in Tel Aviv last year. Her name is Darin abu Eishe. She was a student at Nablus University.

At 2.00 am there was a very large bomb explosion — it is said in Nablus that the fighters caused considerable damage to an Israeli tank with a bomb underneath it. This has yet to be confirmed and the people here all wait to know if they should cheer!

Anne Gwynne is a Welsh National working with the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees in Nablus.