Until now, the name of the boy has been buried with his body.
Just another forgotten Palestinian reduced to a nameless number joins 199 other Palestinians, including 47 children, have been killed by the apartheid regime this year alone. Israel is determined not only to expel Palestinians from their ancestral homes using illegal decrees and brute force, but to annihilate them attack after attack and after attack.
His name was Mahmud al-Sadi. He was 18 years old. His home was a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
a Picture Mahmoud is revealed to be a teenager with a thick mat of short-cropped, dark hair, a cheery, if slight, grin. A faded, thin black mustache was the surest sign that this agile boy was on the verge of becoming a man.
Last Monday morning, Mahmoud was on his way to school with a group of friends. A relative said that his father had worked hard to ensure that his son and three daughters had an education as a way out of abject despair and, if possible, a “respectable future”.
“The occupation killed this happiness,” said the relative.
In fact, it did.
On his way to his high school, Mahmoud – who was at the top of his class – was confronted by Israeli soldiers who were raiding Jenin again in a convoy of armored jeeps, in pay and under the direction of an apartheid state.
Mahmoud chose to turn around and return home rather than risk, I assume, a fate similar to that of Shireen Abu Akleh, the famous Palestinian-American journalist who was shot in the head by an Israeli wearing a blue vest with “Press” written on it The killer went to Jenin on 11 May.
Mahmud didn’t make it home. (Neither, sadly, was Canadian youth Arya Shchopec, 16, who was murdered on Wednesday while waiting for a bus to take her to a Jewish seminary on the outskirts of Jerusalem.)
Instead, Mahmoud was shot in the stomach by an Israeli soldier because he was a Palestinian and nearby. An easy, convenient murder of a kid whose crime, apparently, was going to school.
A wounded Mahmood called out to his comrades for help and told them that he had been shot. They thought he was joking. He staggered forward for about five meters before coming to rest on the ground. Frantic, his friends carried his blood-soaked body by car to a nearby hospital. He could not be saved. He was pronounced dead at 9 a.m.,
“A civilian succumbed to serious injuries after colliding with life [Israeli] Captured bullets in the stomach in Jenin,” the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the killing as a “field execution” and a “heinous crime”, sanctioned by powerful Israeli politicians.
A video taken at the hospital showed Mahmood lying lifeless on a sugar cane. Friends and family huddle over his pale body, crying. A man bends to kiss Mahmud, now wrapped in a shroud, on his forehead.
For Palestinians, it was a familiar scene of death, mourning and mourning. But the killing of children undoubtedly makes that grief and sorrow felt more acutely and deeply.
This has happened many times in the past as well. death of seven year old child Fear After being chased by Israeli soldiers. Israeli soldiers sitting on the hills shot and killed children flying kites. Children playing soccer on the beach are blown to pieces by rockets fired from above by Israeli pilots.
None of the killers have been held to account. And they never will. Rather, they have been shielded and saluted as “heroes” for defending Israel by killing Palestinian children and journalists.
Again the predictable excuses will be used to defend the unforgivable. Israel is not to blame for Mahmud’s death; To oppose the Palestinian occupation. Mahmud was at the wrong place at the wrong time – as if he had some other place to live and study. Given the confusing cacophony of war, the Israeli soldier made a regrettable, but understandable, “mistake”.
Most of the international press did not consider Mahmud and the violent, state-sanctioned manner of his death to be worthy of his notice or attention.
Just another dead Palestinian.
Western governments and their predecessors, always quick to condemn the killing of innocents by the usual gallery of “rogue” states, have been rendered mute for fear of offending a nation they believe They enjoy carte blanche to shoot Palestinian boys and girls.
Of course, it was left to the Palestinians to celebrate Mahmud’s entire life and condemn his sudden death.
Mahmoud was remembered as a generous soul with a “golden heart” who showed promise and purpose as a member of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, where he was a mentor to young students and a champion of “hope” over misery. .
A friend wrote, “Your heart was big enough to embrace the whole camp, its streets and its houses.” “I love that you come on stage, and attend workshops to have fun and play. What saddens me the most is that the boy with the golden heart is gone.
Mahmoud’s body – draped in a Palestinian flag – was carried on an orange stretcher through the streets of Jenin, followed by a crowd of mourners.
A gray bag was lying at his feet. A poignant recollection of Mahmoud’s youth and his determination to fulfill his father’s dream of attending school and enjoying a “respectable future”.
Mahmud should not be forgotten. To forget what happened to Mahmud would be to accept what happened to him and where and why he was killed. To accept what happened to Mahmoud is to accept what happens to every Palestinian prisoner – young or old – every day. Acknowledging what happened to Mahmud would mean absolving the criminals responsible for his death.
While others may be eager to forget and accept what happened to Mahmoud, we should not. Decency and history demand that we don’t forget.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.