Sunday, March 29, 2020

First civilian deaths in West Bankís Gaza solidarity demos

By Dylan Collins - November 21, 2012
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Nabi Saleh] [Gaza]

On 19 November 2012, thirty-one year old Rushdi Tamimi and twenty-two year old Hamdi Al-Fallah became the first two civilian deaths in the West Bank’s week long  protests against Israel’s current military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

Rushdi Tamimi, a police officer from the village of Nabi Saleh died due to complications stemming from severe injuries obtained on Saturday 17 November 2012. Rushdi, along with a small group of men and women from his village, clashed with the Israeli army while protesting against Israel’s current military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

Hamdi Al-Fallah was killed after he was shot four times with live ammunition by the Israeli army in Hebron

Rushdi was first shot in the back with a rubber coated steel bullet, causing him to fall to the ground. He was then shot once again, this time with live ammunition. As Israeli soldiers advanced upon inert Rushdi, one soldier added insult to injury, violently striking him in the face with the butt of his automatic weapon. Rushdi was then shot once again with a rubber coated steel bullet in the stomach.

A funeral for Rushi was held today. Over 400 people gathered in central Ramallah, marching the martyr’s body through the street and eventually descending upon his home village of Nabi Saleh where his body was processed yet again and then interred amongst tears of friends and family members.

Hamdi Al-Fallah, a twenty-two year old man, was killed after he was shot four times with live ammunition by the Israeli army in Hebron late Monday night. Hamdi was with a group of protesters who were demonstrating against the Israeli occupation soldiers near Halhul Bridge. His funeral was held in Hebron  the following day.

The deaths of these two young men come hand in hand with two accompanying facts: the upswing of protests all over the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the Israeli army’s more and more frequent use of live ammunition against unarmed protestors.

Since Israel’s 14 November  violation of the mutually agreed upon and Egyptian mediated ceasefire, large protests have flared up in Atara, Qalandiya, outside Israel’s Ofer prison in Ramallah, Huwarra checkpoint in Nablus, throughout the city of Hebron, several areas in Bethlehem, and in the Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem in addition to Damascus Gate.  In at least four of these locations, Israel has used live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators.

Israel’s use of live ammunition during these types of demonstrations not only represents a gross misuse of force, but also appear to be a growing trend in Israeli tactics, particularly when international media is so hyper focused on events in Gaza. If protests in the West Bank continue to escalate, this growing trend could result in many more civilian deaths in addition to Hamdi and Rushdi.

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