Second youth targeted in two days: Yousef Amira (17) from Ni’lin mortally wounded
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Second youth targeted in two days: Yousef Amira (17) from Ni’lin mortally wounded

The Occupation forces have once again escalated their attempts to suppress the daily demonstrations of Palestinian popular committees and villagers to the construction of the Apartheid Wall.

Yesterday evening at around 10 pm, Israeli occupation forces shot two rubber coated bullets into Yousef Ahmad Younis Amira’s head. He is now lying brain dead in the intensive care unit of Ramallah Hospital.

Yousef Amira, 17 years old, was attending the funeral of Ahmad Mousa (12), who was murdered by the Occupation forces the day before with a live bullet to the head. In the late afternoon villagers started renewing their on-going daily protests against the Wall and settlement construction by blockading the main road to the village that is being transformed into a settler-only road.

The Occupation forces, attempting to clear the road for the use of Israeli settlers, initiated confrontations with the Palestinian villagers at around 8 pm. According to Ahed Khawaje, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Apartheid Wall in Ni’lin, Yousef Amira was among the protestors participating in the direct action to block the road. A couple of hours later, a soldier stationed only a few meters away from Amira shot two rubber coated bullets right into the head of the youth.

The Occupation forces began distributing a few weeks ago leaflets in the village that threatened the farmers with redoubled punishment if they did not stop with their protests. Since the people of Ni’lin nonetheless insisted on maintaining their daily protests, the Occupation forces shot 12 year old Ahmad Yousef in his leg while he was handcuffed and blindfolded. These crimes have now escalated with the shootings of Ahmad Mousa and Yousef Amira.

The shootings are far from being incidents; they have all the features of premeditated attacks on the lives of the children and youth in the village. The Occupation knows well that our children are maybe the only thing we love and care for more than our land. Guilty and responsible are those that pulled the trigger and more so those that give the orders and who define such “rules of engagement”. This strategy is sadly a familiar one for the Palestinian people who are resisting the destruction and confiscation of their lands.

In Beit Liqya, which also lies on the path of the Wall, Occupation forces killed three children three years ago. On July 8 2005, they killed Mahmous Assi (15), while he was picking grapes in the lands close to the path of the Wall. Occupation Forces shot him twice with live rounds, one bullet in the chest and the other in the shoulder. The day after, during clashes that broke out when the military attempted to suppress the funeral procession, Zahi Ragib – 13 years old and a witness to the murder of Mahyoub – was shot in the head by a rubber bullet. He survived. Earlier in the spring, on May 14 2005, the Occupation forces had also killed Jamal Jaber (15) and Uday Mofeed (14) shooting at them from just a dozen meters distance.

A similar strategy targeting youth was employed in Biddu in order to halt the protests there in spring 2004. Diya’ Abd el Kareem Eid, 24 years old, was shot in the chest while eyewitnesses reported that during another protest undercover soldiers opened fire with live ammunition killing two Palestinians: Zakariya Salem-30 years old- from the nearby village of Beit Ijza, and Mohammad Rayan- 27 years old- from Beit Duqu, and critically injuring a third man, Mohammad Badwan- 21 years old- from Biddu who was shot in the head.

The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign is initiating detailed research into the murders and the premeditated nature of the killings in each of the three villages.