Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip held marches on May 15 to commemorate the Nakba or “catastrophe”, which marks the forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948.
On Nakba Day in 2014, in the West Bank town of Beitunia, local Palestinians decided to gather around Ofer military court and prison to protest in solidarity with over 100 prisoners on a hunger strike against their administrative detention by Israeli authorities.
Among those to join the protest were 17-year-old Nadeem Siam Nawara and 16-year-old Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh Abu Daher.
Ahmad Badwan of the Palestinian Medical Relief Committee: The protest “began peacefully” and “turned into violence when the Israeli army used live fire to disperse stone throwers.
Israeli forces began firing tear gas canisters at the crowd, causing the youth protesting to retreat back toward a nearby driveway.
Later, as a couple of youths were returning to the area, witnesses heard a total of four distinct shots. The witnesses recognized the sound of live ammunition, which differs from rubber bullets.
Approximately an hour later… At 1:45 pm Nadeem Siam Nawara sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.
Mohammad Abu Daher sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the back.
“At the moment of the killings nothing was going on and no stone throwing was taking place” Fakher Zayed, witness who lives in the house where the shootings took place, said.
DCI Palestine’s documentation team obtained the video footage from the security cameras of a local business during their investigation.
The lethal shot fired at Mohammad Abu Daher, has a different sonic fingerprint to the 4 other shots captured news video footage. This analysis demonstrates that he was killed by live ammunition and not rubber coated bullets.
“Our preliminary investigation, both by the commanders in the field, and we had senior commanders in the field on the spot, indicates that no live fire was used during this demonstration.” Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, May 20th 2014
The medical reports for the two boys confirm that in each case the direction taken by the bullet was synonymous with that of a live bullet.
A metal casing of a bullet was found in Nadeem’s backpack after his death. CNN reported that it appeared to be from a 556 NATO round, the standard ammunition used in M-16 rifles carried by Israeli security forces.
“The preliminary inquiry up until this point still does not indicate any use of live fire by the forces… So what caused the deaths, is a question mark that needs to be answered.” – Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, May 20th 2014
Mohammad Abu Daher and Nadeem Nawara were buried May 16, 2014.
Since 2000, Israeli Security Forces have killed over 8,896 Palestinians. At least 1895 of those have been children. From 2000 to 2013, only 5.2% of all investigation files initiated by MPCID resulted in indictment. In the last 3 years, chances of indictment are even slimmer -down to 1.4%. The Israeli Forces have still not concluded any investigation as of the cause of death of Mohammad Abu Daher and Nadeem Nawarah.
Prayer: God, we take the time to mourn the loss of life of these children. Your precious creation taken from this earth and from their families too soon. We ask for the investigation to move forward with your hand of justice. That the families would find comfort and rest from their mourning. Show us, Holy One, how we continue to support the families in Gaza. We ask that stories like these would convict us to pursue a just peace for all the people in the Holy Land, so that the children will know no more war or violent death.
This story was initially shared on Defense for Children International – Palestine’s website and is reprinted here with permission. CMEP is very thankful for the writers who contribute to our Prayers for Peace blog. However, CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the positions of our writers, and they do not speak on CMEP’s behalf.