Young man martyred in Bil’in
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Young man martyred in Bil’in

***image1***Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma was martyred this afternoon in Bil’in when he was shot at close range by a high velocity tear gas canister at the weekly demonstration against the Wall. This is the second time soldiers have fired on unarmed demonstrators from a lethal range in the past two months.

Abu Rahma, a 31-year-old resident of Bil’in, died shortly after soldiers shot him from a distance of less than 20 meters. According to Nasir Samara, an eyewitness and member of the popular committee, Abu Rahma was carrying a Palestinian flag and calling on soldiers to hold their fire seconds before he was killed.

This the second instance where high velocity tear gas canisters have been intentionally fired at a lethal range at unarmed demonstrators. On 13 March 2009, Tristan Anderson was nearly killed at a demonstration in Ni’lin when he was shot in the head by the same type of ammunition.

The people of Bil’in, who have lost 60% of their land, began organizing actions against the Wall and settlements in February 2005. These have continued in spite of the heavy-handed tactics employed against demonstrators as well as the escalation of military raids, detentions and kidnappings. In the latest incident of the latter, 16-year-olds Wajdy Ali Shehada Abu Rahma and Hamouda Emad Hahmouda Yassin were kidnapped, beaten, and dumped by soldiers at a nearby village.

Abu Rahma is the third person to be killed in the past three months alone in the struggle against the Wall. Two young men, Mohammed Khawajeh and Araft Khawajeh, were both shot dead in Ni’lin in the final days of December. 16 Palestinians, 11 of whom were still in their teens, have been killed since resistance to the Wall began in 2002.