The Israeli military has been slowly escalating its intimidation tactics in Beit Ommar over the last three days, often patrolling the streets at sundown, provoking youth by parking outside of the mosque and waiting for young boys to come and throw stones before shooting tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.
The increasing terrorization of the village culminated at approximately 9:30 pm Friday when a 17 year old boy, Mohammed Anwar Al-Alami, was shot in the heart and killed.
Soldiers first entered the southern West Bank’s town at 4 pm and began slowly circling the village, often stopping in the center of town, shooting a few tear gas canisters, but otherwise staying in their jeeps. They were not searching houses nor made any other indication that they were engaging in any authorized operation. Shortly after sundown, at approximately 9 pm, they began arresting residents: blindfolding and handcuffing nine men in total and bringing them to the entrance of the village. Four were later released, five remain in Israeli custody. Several more jeeps and Armored Personnel Carriers (APC's) entered the village. Young boys began throwing stones and empty bottles which bounced off the armored military vehicles harmlessly. Still, for the Israeli military a rock against reinforced metal is reason enough to end the life of a young man, about to finish his final exams and graduate from high school.
Mohammed was quickly rushed to the hospital, but he had been shot in the chest and the bullet entered his heart, killing him almost instantly.
The account continues from Christian Peacemaker Teams:
On Friday, 27 June around 11:00 p.m., an Israeli soldier in Beit Ummar, a village north of Hebron, shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian youth, Mohammad Al-Alameh, member of a family with whom the Christian Peacemaker Teams has had frequent contact over the years.
The shooting occurred minutes after local contacts in Beit Ummar made a call to the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Hebron, saying that the Israeli soldiers were entering homes and detaining civilians. Two CPTers, Tarek Abuata and Marius van Hoogstraten, rushed to the village by taxi, accompanied by Nathan Harrington, a visitor to CPT, who was on crutches.
When the team arrived half an hour later, rocks littered the main street. Israeli soldiers marched up and down the block with assault rifles held in a firing position, amid clusters of Palestinian men huddled in quiet shock.
Abuata attempted to photograph the troops, but was tackled to the ground without warning by an Israeli soldier. Another soldier knocked Harrington off his crutches when he approached to help Abuata. While Abuata and Harrington sat on the pavement, a third soldier threatened Van Hoogstraten and demanded his video camera. He removed the tape before returning the camera to Van Hoogstraten.
Abuata rose and confronted the soldiers, saying, "You killed a 17-year-old boy tonight. Why? His blood is on your hands." The soldier nearest to him smiled, and Abuata asked, "Why are you smiling? Do you have no conscience? Will you do anything the government orders you to do? Are you not accountable to God?"
More troops emerged from jeeps and advanced up the street. The assembled men of the village did not respond. CPTers followed the soldiers and Abuata continued: "What you are doing is wrong. Why are your fingers on the trigger? How would you feel if a foreign army came to your city with guns drawn? This is an illegal occupation!"
The soldiers finally climbed into their jeeps and raced off, throwing a sound bomb that caused several Beit Ummar villagers and the CPTers to hit the pavement.
The following morning, Van Hoogstraten and Abuata accompanied the Al-Alameh family and a large crowd to bring the body from the hospital in Hebron to the family's house, and then to the mosque. Two armored vehicles parked between the watchtower at the entrance to the village and the cemetery gate. Soldiers stood nearby, including the officer who claimed to have shot the youth.
Community leaders kept young men away from the soldiers, but eventually someone lobbed a stone at one of the jeeps. Though an officer responded by shooting live ammunition, no one was injured.
As the throng returned after the conclusion of burial, the army followed them into the village. Over the next hour, CPTers witnessed intermittent exchanges of stones and gunfire and heard reports that one man from Beit Ummar sustained a head injury and another an injury to the shoulder.
A link to video showing Abuata engaging the soldiers is available at http://www.youtube.com/user/cpthebron.
The story by Christian Peacemaker Teams is reproduced with permission.
Cross-posted at Booman Tribune and Daily Kos.