Gaza – A disturbing video was posted online this week that shows the moments before a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was shot down by Israeli soldiers while he stood in a field, with his hands in the air.
The boy has been identified as Ahmed Masabah Abu Tuyur, and he was pronounced dead on Saturday morning, as a result of the injuries he sustained from the shooting on Friday, according to a report from Haartz.
The shooting reportedly occurred during a protest, and Abu Tuyur can be seen picking up a rock off of the ground and hurling it into the air. In the video, it does not appear that the rock thrown by Abu Tuyur hit anything or harmed anyone, and the boy can be seen standing with his hands in the air for approximately 10 seconds before he is shot once and he collapses to the ground.
Some viewers would argue that because Abu Tuyur picked up a rock and threw it into the air, he was armed and posed a threat to the Israeli soldiers who appear to be perched on top of a sand dune. However, that logic begs the question—how is a boy with a rock a legitimate threat to a trained sniper with a gun, especially when there are a few hundred feet between them?
A 17-year-old Palestinian boy was also shot and killed by live fire from the Israeli Military, and he has been identified as Bilal Mustafa Khafaja. More than 7,000 people took part in the demonstration on Friday, according to reports from the Gaza Health Ministry, and the injuries included at least 64 people who were hit with tear gas and 30 people who were wounded by live fire.
The protest was a part of Gaza’s weekly March of Return on the Gaza-Israel border, and as Telesur noted, the Palestinians who take part in the demonstration are calling for “the end of the brutal decade-long Israeli blockade as well as demanding the return of Palestinian refugees to their lands and homes in Israel, a right granted for them by the United Nations.”
Another issue that Palestinians are protesting is the Trump Administration’s recent decision to end funding for a United Nations agency that has provided assistance to millions of Palestinians over the years. The U.S. has been contributing an average of $350 million a year to the agency since 2010 and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, reportedly led the charge to cut ties for political reasons.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, while Israel’s rules of engagement allow sniper fire on anyone who is within 100 meters of their border fence, as long as the snipers claim that they believe the individual’s intent was to “penetrate Israeli territory,” several of the people shot and injured during demonstrations in recent months were women, children, journalists, and paramedics.
Yaser Murtaja, a Palestinian photojournalist, was wearing a jacket that clearly said “PRESS” when he was shot in the chest and killed by an Israeli sniper in April. As The Intercept noted, “Either the Israeli sniper could not clearly see who was in the rifle scope—in which case the claim that the use of live fire is precise is shown to be untrue—or the soldier intentionally fired at a journalist, which is a war crime.”
Just as The Free Thought Project advocates for the freedom of Americans, we advocate for the freedom of Israelis and the Palestinians. Only through discussion and peaceful criticism will peace ever be achieved. While there are Palestinians who claim that Israel has no right to exist, there are Israelis who say the same thing about Palestine.
A documentary from Empire Files released in October 2017 showed that a number of Israeli citizens support their government’s occupation in the Gaza Strip, and believe the land is rightfully theirs to own.
As a report from Amnesty International noted, Israel “maintains an illegal air, sea and land blockade on Gaza and maintains a so-called ‘access-restricted area’ or buffer zone within Gaza. These have cut off more than 2 million Palestinians from other parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the outside world for 10 years.”
Israel’s blockade on Gaza has been made possible by the funding and support of the United States, which has continued to block calls for an independent investigation into Israel’s actions.
Ahmed Masabah Abu Tuyur is just one of the dozens of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli Forces for protesting in recent months. *Warning: The following video is graphic