14th July 2005 — There was a bombing in central London last week. We’ve just been to the third funeral since then. Two of the dead were children; all were victims of a campaign to kill and to destroy a society and way of life.
We’re not in London, we’re in Nablus, Palestine. The Israeli army came into Palestinian streets and opened fire, killing the last three just as they’ve killed thousands before.
A little over a year ago Mohammed Alassi, 26, also known as “Nino”, escaped the wreckage of the car that was bombed, killing the Balata Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade leader Kalil Marshood. Nino was killed late last Wednesday night. The Israeli army admits it shot an unarmed man who was running running away. The photographs show he was clearly unarmed, wearing nothing but a vest and underwear.
Eyewitnesses say the army surrounded the house. When Nino tried to run out of a side entrance they spotlit him and shot him in the ankles as he tried to jump a wall. After he fell they say the soldiers came and shot him many times before dragging his body away.
Supporting this view, the photographs from the morgue show that he was shot two or three times in the right ankle and several times in the left, destroying the bone. He had also been shot multiple times in the groin, torso, and head.
Why did the Israeli forces kill Nino, this way, at this time? Their press release says that they killed “a militant”. Nino was wanted by the Israeli authorities since he was in the Church of the Nativity in 2002 but was not a senior figure in any of the resistance brigades and he was not accused of having any role in the recent Netanya bomb — Islamic Jihad’s response to the killings of tens of Palestinians since the Sharm Al Sheikh ceasefire.
By killing Nino at a friend’s home in Nablus, Israeli forces sent a message that they can get anyone, anywhere, at any time they choose. No one is safe from them, Israel knows everything. Whatever may have been said in international conferences, Israel is maintaining levels of fear and intimidation, fostering ongoing hostilities.
Why shoot to disable an unarmed man, only to fire a dozen more bullets into his body and head? To shoot an unarmed man in the ankles, then approach him on foot, suggests an in intent to arrest. To stand over the body of an injured man who posed no threat and shoot shows bloodlust or an indoctrinated hate or fear. It does not communicate any intent for peace to the watching Palestinian population.
Why Nino? While Israeli ground troops have killed civilians indiscriminately, they assassinate tactically. Israel has selectively killed not only the effective leaders of the resistance brigades, but also the popular figures. Nino was a well-known and well-liked resident of the camp.
All the factions participated in his funeral procession, carrying his shrouded body on their shoulders from the far side of Nablus city to his famliy home in Balata camp. PA forces lined the streets outside the bomb-damaged muqata. In the camp men clambered to pat the shroud or stroke his face. Nino’s big brown eyes would not shut.
In response to all the recent killings of Palestinians by the Israeli army, the brigades had announced they would no longer keep to their part of the ceasefire. I sent a report to say I hope that the media was reporting that fairly and that they would acknowledge that Israel had never kept to its part of the ceasefire.
Minutes after I emailed, the Netanya bomb exploded. Few journalists put it in its proper context. None of them reported the deaths of three children this week. Nino’s death is reported only in the context of the association with a foreign woman.
Since his death journalists have plagued the internationals here with telephone calls, trying to track down the woman Nino was visiting when he died. There is only a small foreign community here, westerners are not too hard to locate.ï¿½Today, Friday, a number of people claiming to be journalists arrived in Nablus.
The credentials of some did not check out, the others are known to have published anti-Palestinian articles. Israel controls all movement across the region. Unsurprisingly, it seems that they have informed and facilitated the entry of only selected writers with a foregone agenda. Thus, Israel is controlling the reporting of its actions and therefore the world’s perception of events here.
The bare facts are that Israel has overwhelming military might, billions of dollars of support from the west annually, no threat from the international media, and the greatest surface control of the land.
Palestine has the greatest part of the death toll.ï¿½