Another crime held by the Israeli occupation through the murder of Ahmad Erekat, 27, en route to his sister’s wedding ignites outrage all over occupied West Bank. The murder of Ahmad is part of a series of aggressive acts by the Israeli occupation amid the looming de jure annexation of the West Bank. More than any time before, Palestinians, in a united call, stress on the international community to take immediate measures to impose sanctions on Israeli apartheid and hold Israeli occupation forces accountable for their crimes and violations of Palestinians' human rights.
On Tuesday, June 23rd, Ahmad Ereqat from the village of Abu Dis, Jerusalem left his house to pick up Eman, his sister from a beauty salon in Bethlehem in preparation for her wedding. His family also asked him to pick up some flowers and adorn the car with wedding decorations as part of the celebration. Yet, Ahmad never reached his destination on that day. Ahmad was in a rush to finish all the preparation for the wedding on time, which the armed Israeli soldiers ‘suspected an attempt to ram into one of the soldiers with his car,’ the usual excuse to justify the unjustifiable murder of Palestinians. A feather-light touch of one of the soldier’s finger on the trigger at the ‘container’ military roadblock was enough to hit Ahmad’s body and turn the family’s wedding into a funeral.
A video taken by an eyewitness to the incident went viral on social media showing Ahmad lying on the ground. A female Israeli soldier kept going back and forth while Ahmad was bleeding for about an hour and a half without offering him any medical treatment. Neither the Palestinian bystanders who were at the checkpoint when the shooting of Ahmad took place nor the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance were allowed to help Ahmad. The man who took the video, whose car was right behind Erekat’s car, said in the video that “a man was martyred right now. They shot him right here in front of us… they left him on the ground until he died.”
Israeli mainstream media has played its role in whitewashing the crime of the Israeli soldiers when they released a video claiming that it is the footage proving Ahmad’s deliberate attempt to attack the soldiers. The video shows Ahmad’s car veering towards the soldiers’ outpost. Ahmad’s figure was completely blurred by the occupation authorities in the video. Commenting on the video supporting Israeli claims that the murder of Ahmad is an act of self-defense, Noura Erekat, a Palestinian-American activist and a cousin of Ahmad, took on social media stating, “Why is his image blurred so that we can’t see he is unarmed and confused?” She continued on expressing her outrage at the murder of Ahmad in cold blood saying that “Palestinians are so securitized as a threat that we can’t make human mistakes, like lose momentary control of our car, press the accelerator in a moment of haste, get in a car accident.”
In an interview with Erekat’s shocked mother held by Diyaa’ Houshya, the correspondent of Alghad TV, she asserted that Israeli soldiers’ claims are just a bunch of lies. She stated that “Ahmad was delighted about his sister’s wedding. He rented a car and told me that he is going to decorate it… his suit was ready for him to dress after the decoration of the car.” She added that “he was supposed to get married next September” denoting that the likelihood of Ahmad to attack Israeli soldiers on the day of his sister’s wedding and few months before his wedding was incomprehensible.
Last month, Iyad Al-Hallak, a 32-Palestinian man with autism from Jerusalem, was murdered in a similar way. He was chased by Israeli soldiers yelling at him ‘terrorist’ claiming that he had a rifle. They shot him in different parts of his body while he was begging the soldiers to keep him alive, but they did not and no rifle was found with Iyad. Since the beginning of 2020, 25 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces, 11 of them were suspects as Ahmad. The murder of Ahmad and others reflects the demonization and dehumanization process that entrenches the Israeli apartheid and settler colonial regime that makes soldiers conceive any Palestinian, just because he/she is Palestinian a ‘terrorist’ whose murder is legitimate. The constant execution of Palestinians without any reason also shows how Israeli soldiers have full impunity to kill, shoot, injure and humiliate Palestinians at military roadblocks and elsewhere without being held accountable for their crimes and inhumane actions.
Iyad Al-Hallak, killed by Israeli soldiers on May 30th
Today, Palestinians encounter a notoriously escalated violence against them by the Israeli occupation amid the impending de jure annexation of large swathes of the West Bank in violation of international law and treaties. The Israeli occupation aims to intimidate Palestinians through the intensified violence against them to stifle any potential resistance to the looting of their land and the solidification of the Bantustan and apartheid regime subjugating them.