Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Two killed in Tulkarem amid rising West Bank tensions

Juicebox Gallery

By Felix Black - April 04, 2013
Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES]
Tags: [Tulkarem] [Maysara Abuhamdia] [protests]

Photos by John Space and Adam Whittock.


Amer Nasser, 17, and Naji Belbisi, 18, were shot and killed by an Israeli sniper whilst throwing stones at an Israeli guard tower on Wednesday, April 3.

The cousins were shot at Enav checkpoint near the town of Anabta, south of Tulkarem, where they were protesting in response to the death of Maysara Abuhamdia, who died in Israeli custody on Tuesday. 

Abuhamdia, 64, was suffering from terminal cancer but many Palestinians have accused Israel of withholding care for him and failure to follow normal procedures since it was established that his cancer was terminal. For instance, he had complained of his suffering since August 2012, but was only given chemotherapy in March 2013.

Some 4,600 prisoners inside Israeli jails declared a three-day hunger strike in retaliation to Abuhamdia's death.

The three deaths come within the context of some of the worst violence in the first three months of 2013 since the second intifada. What’s more, Israeli jets carried out an air strike in Gaza on Tuesday, the first air strike since the November ceasefire, but by no means the first breach of the truce by the Israeli military.

The funeral for the two teenagers was held in Anabta today in which approximately 2,000 people attended. The crowd marched through the streets of the town, carrying the bodies on wreath-laden stretchers.

“They were just throwing stones, what will stones do to an Israeli soldier in a jeep I ask you? Nothing! They will do nothing!” exclaimed Nicky Said, a close friend  Amer Nasser’s father.

The Israeli military released a statement saying that they opened fire as youths threw firebombs at their guard tower. Amer Nasser was pronounced dead at the scene, whereas the body of Naji Balbisi was found early Thursday morning.

The Israeli army reportedly prevented ambulances crews from gaining access to Amer for 30 minutes after he was shot. Fadi Abu-Asir was shot in the lower arm and Deiyaa’ Nasser was arrested as they also tried to help the 17 year old. 

“Both of them were shot straight in the heart and chest, and one other boy was shot in the hand. Amer died where he stood, but Naji stumbled about 20 metres and fell behind a house; this is why nobody could find him for hours,” explains Nicky.

Nicky believes the soldiers were waiting for the clashes. “Listen, I saw the soldiers. For the last two days I have seen the soldiers, they were lying and sleeping out under the olive trees forcing the shabab [youth] to come out and meet them, then they shoot at them.”

The boys were buried side by side in a local graveyard. Despite an array of political flags at the scene, memos were released by several parties describing how the flags were symbolically representing the fallen martyrs, rather than certain political blocs.   

With the exception of the bakeries, all shops in Anabta will be closed for the next three days in mourning. The common grandmother of the two boys stood and watched as the bodies of the martyrs passed her by. She had lost the son of her son, and the son of her daughter in one night.

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