“We’ll be steadfast to our last breath”: Moving video of Hebron teen murdered by Israeli soldier
A video has emerged of Palestinian teen Muhammad al-Salaymeh, who was shot dead by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron yesterday, his 17th birthday.
The video, posted on the Facebook page QNN is of an earlier television encounter between Muhammad and his older brother Awad, banished to Gaza after his release from prison by Israel in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange.
In the video Awad and Muhammad chat. Awad says “My brother Muhammad was born while I was in prison,” and when the host asks Muhammad what he wishes for, the teen answers, “I wish we could all be together, as one family, instead of separated.”
When asked what the situation was like near his home in Hebron, Muhammad answered, “there are always closures, but we are steadfast. We will never leave our house in which we were raised for years and generations, because we will be steadfast to our last breath, until we die.”
Muhammad’s family home is in central Hebron, an area coveted and occupied by Israeli settlers who have steadily been driving Palestinian families out.
Today dozens of Muhammad’s schoolmates attended his funeral in Hebron. “We lost a friend, a brother, and a sporting hero,” his friend Ahmad Al-Jamal told Ma’an News Agency.
Video of murder scene
Another video, released by B’Tselem, shows the harrowing immediate aftermath of Muhammad’s shooting. There is a brief glimpse of Muhammad lying on the ground, distraught relatives screaming, with Israeli occupation forces present on the scene. Towards the end of the video medics can be seen attending to Muhammad as a voice calls for his father “Abu Awad.”
In the final moments of the video a man, possibly Abu Awad, is heard saying, “ibni, ibni,” – “My son.”
Alleged killer content
Members of Muhammad’s family accused Israeli occupation forces of “fabricating” a story that Muhammad had been carrying a toy gun, as AFP reported:
Salayma’s uncle, Nasser, told AFP that the Israeli version of his nephew’s death was “a fabrication.”
“The plastic gun story isn’t true and it is all fabrication,” he said. Other relatives said Salayma was on his way to buy a birthday cake when the incident took place.
“Yesterday was his birthday and he celebrated it at school and was going to celebrate at home, but it never happened,” Nasser al-Salayma said.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said its preliminary investigations showed Israeli forces “at the checkpoint were detaining a child, who had a plastic pistol” as Salayma approached. When he reached the checkpoint, an Israeli border policewoman “fired at him from a close range… he was hit by three bullets,” the group said.
Muhammad al-Salaymeh’s accused killer has been named in media reports as Nofar Mizrahi, 19, a member of the Israeli “Border Police,” a unit of the occupation forces.
Mizrahi was quoted by The Jerusalem Post expressing that she was “happy” at the outcome and had no qualms or regrets about having killed al-Salaymeh even though he may have had a toy gun or nothing at all in his hands:
“It didn’t change it for me, because in those same moments you don’t have time to think or be confused. For me it was a real pistol in every sense of the word pointed at my soldier and it’s my responsibility to act, because if I don’t kill him my friend will be killed, and I won’t let this happen,” said “N” on Thursday.
“After they investigated the incident it turned out it was a fake gun, but it didn’t change how I felt about it. I’m happy this ended with no injuries on our side and I’m sure any other officer in my situation would have done what I did,” she added.
N said that she had only moments to react and instantly got in position, finding a clear line of fire before letting off three shots into al-Salaymeh.
Israeli soldiers recently told Israeli media they were frustrated that they could not shoot at Palestinians more freely.
Killings of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces are rarely subjects of credible investigations and Muhammad al-Salaymeh is now the latest of thousands of Palestinians to be killed by the Israeli occupation with little hope of justice or accountability.