Following the killing of two young men, Muhammad and Salah Qawariq, in Awarta, Nablus district, last Sunday, hundreds of local residents went out in a silent march to commemorate them. They flooded the streets of the village already in the morning hours. The crowd set off from the offices of the village council and marched towards the location where Israeli occupation forced had killed the two youth in cold blood as they were cultivating their familyâs plot of land.
Accompanied by residents of nearby communities and international solidarity activists, family and community members walked through the streets in grief over the lives of Muhammad and Salah, They carried Palestinian flags, portraits of the martyrs, and banners with slogans such as âStop the killing of farmers and childrenâ and âIt is a right of farmers to cultivate their landsâ. They further demanded the case to be brought to an international justice system to hold the soldiers involved in the killing accountable for this crime. The march finally reached the location of the crime scene, where they were met by Israeli forces. No clashes have occurred in the event.
Protesters remained for a while at the site of the killing. Some found a half-full bottle of water that the young men had brought over to drink from as they were plotting the land. Furthermore, blood stains were witnessed on the ground despite the rainy weather. The land was still only partially plotted, showing the work that had taken place on the spot. The mourners collected bullets used in the execution. According to witnesses, around 25-30 bullets, normally used in M-16 machine guns were found on the site indicating the brutal form of this killing. Finally, the protesters read words from the Qurâan and prayed over the souls of the martyrs.
The Israeli army further has made it clear that the village will have to face more repression. The mayor of Awarta village, Hassan Awwad, stated that the office of the Israeli military district commander had earlier demanded a listing of the names and ID numbers of all the protestors with the justification that this was a standard measure to coordinate the permission of entry to the land. This request would institute permits for the people to reach their own land. The village council therefore refused this idea. Village residents and family members stressed that they do not need permission from occupation to access their own lands.