Palestinian teen killed on way to pray in Jerusalem

Israel/Palestine
on 15 Comments

Before sunrise 17-year old Mohammed Sami al-Kasbah went to morning prayers at a mosque one block from his house in Qalandia refugee camp in Jerusalem, which is separated from the rest of the city on the West Bank side of Israel’s security barrier. By afternoon he returned to the same building, his remains carried by neighbors and relatives for a funeral after he was shot and killed by Israeli forces while trying to cross into Jerusalem. Two of his brothers were also killed by Israeli forces during the Second Intifada.

“He walked with the people…with the people who wanted to go to al-Aqsa,” Abu Ismail, 65, al-Kasbah’s uncle told me while sitting on a plastic chair outside of the refugee camp’s main mosque as the ceremony was in progress. To his side, hundreds of Palestinians stood in front of shops that lined the potholed street. The house of prayer was well over capacity as dozens congregated by the two entrances. In every direction Palestinians knelt over asphalt using flags and flattened cardboard boxes retrieved from waste piles in an alleyway as prayer rugs. Masked gunmen and camp residents affiliated with Fatah’s militant faction al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades walked through the main artery, firing salutes every few minutes throughout the afternoon. 

Between rounds, Abu Ismail motioned to a nearby school where he said al-Kasbah worked in the cafeteria with his father. Quranic verses blared over loudspeakers.

“I have been to 40 or 50 funerals,” mourner Mahmoud al-Badtha, 18, also from Qalandia refugee camp said.

Affiliates of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades brandish weapons during funeral processions and ceremony for 17-year old Mohammed Hani al-Kasbah, Qalandia Refugee Camp. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Affiliates of al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades brandish weapons during funeral processions and ceremony for 17-year old Mohammed Hani al-Kasbah, Qalandia Refugee Camp. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Masked gunmen with l-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades walk through Qalandia refugee camp, hours after Israeli forces kill 17-year old Mohammed Hani al-Kasbah, Qalandia Refugee Camp. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Masked gunmen with l-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades walk through Qalandia refugee camp, hours after Israeli forces kill 17-year old Mohammed Hani al-Kasbah, Qalandia Refugee Camp. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Mourners line the streets of Qalandia refugee camp after Israeli forces kill 17-year old camp resident Mohammed Hani al-Kasbah. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Mourners line the streets of Qalandia refugee camp after Israeli forces kill 17-year old camp resident Mohammed Hani al-Kasbah. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Al-Kasbah was struck with three bullets—in his abdomen, head and back—at 6:30 am fired by a senior Israeli military officer in the West Bank city of al-Ram next to Qalandia checkpoint. He died in a Ramallah hospital 30 minutes later. Two other Palestinians were also brought to the hospital for injuries from the same incident.

Israeli army jeep with a shattered windshield. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Israeli army jeep with a shattered windshield. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The Israeli army said al-Kasbah was part of a group that ambushed soldiers driving in a vehicle, hurling stones at a “very close range,” a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said. “In response to the immediate danger the forces fired toward the suspect,” the spokesperson continued.

After the shooting, the IDF released a photo of the army car. The windshield was smashed with a baseball sized hole in the glass. The Israeli army has opened an investigation into the killing.

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Yet witnesses say al-Kasbah did not throw stones. Palestinian media reported he was attempting to illegally enter Jerusalem to join the thousands of Palestinians who receive permission by the Israeli authorities to pray at al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. Because of his young age, al-Kasbah was ineligible to receive a permit and sought to climb over the wall. Until last week Palestinians men over the age of 30 could receive permits. After two Israelis were killed in attacks carried out by Palestinians in the recent few days, the age requirement was raised to 50.

Al-Kasbah was preceded in death by two older brothers, Yaser and Samer, both of whom were killed by the Israeli military. “I saw the army when they shot him,” a resident of Qalandia said of Yaser al-Kasbah, killed in 2001 also near Qalandia checkpoint. “He was 12 years old.” Forty days later, Samer al-Kasbah was killed outside of the Israeli settlement of Beit El at the age of 16.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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15 Responses

  1. Kay24
    July 3, 2015, 12:38 pm

    This is murder no doubt at all. If these kids were illegal settlers throwing stones at the Israeli forces, not one shot would have been fired towards them. This is a slow genocide of a people, every day, they kill unnecessarily, at the slightest excuse. The Nakba day anniversary murders which was caught on video, is a good example of young kids being shot when they were simply walking away from where the criminals were. I wonder if they get high fives from their buddies for assassinating Palestinian youth.

    • a blah chick
      July 3, 2015, 1:01 pm

      “I wonder if they get high fives from their buddies for assassinating Palestinian youth”

      Kay, I seriously doubt that any of them care enough to do a high five. Just another dead Arab kid, ho hum.

    • Boo
      July 6, 2015, 6:22 pm

      Oddly enough, our morning devotional reading was 1 Samuel 15:1-23 which describes the Israelites’ ethnic cleansing of the Amalekites, including the women and children. It’s quite the parallel to what’s going on today, though these days it’s more dragged out.

  2. JLewisDickerson
    July 3, 2015, 3:08 pm

    RE: “Because of his young age, al-Kasbah was ineligible to receive a permit and sought to climb over the wall. Until last week Palestinians men over the age of 30 could receive permits. After two Israelis were killed in attacks carried out by Palestinians in the recent few days, the age requirement was raised to 50.” ~ Deger

    FROM ALISTAIR CROOKE, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. . .
    . . . It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence. . .

    SOURCE – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n05/alastair-crooke/permanent-temporariness

  3. Dutch
    July 3, 2015, 3:47 pm

    The boy is called Muhammad Sami al-Kasbah, according to the poster on the photo.

    Well-informed Dutch journalist Jan Maarten Hijmans writes (in Dutch) that al-Kasbah was shot while climbing the wall, and fell down.

    http://abu-pessoptimist.blogspot.nl/2015/07/israelische-kolonel-schiet-palestijnse.html

    • Kate
      July 4, 2015, 2:21 am

      Yes, the martyr poster is correct of course, it must be Muhammad SAMI al-Kasbah, since the middle name is customarily the father’s first name, and his brother Yasir is listed in many casualty lists from Jan 2002 as Samer Sami al-Kasbah (or al-Qasbah, according to B’Tselem, though the first letter is a K, not a Q).

  4. Citizen
    July 3, 2015, 4:00 pm

    Oh hum, nothing new new here

    • Dutch
      July 7, 2015, 11:41 am

      Not so fast:

      BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian rights group on Monday rejected the Israeli narrative of the death of 17-year-old Muhammad Hani al-Kasbah, who was shot dead by an Israeli commander in Qalandiya last week.

      Al-Haq, which has consultative status with the UN, said that a field investigation found that Israeli soldiers “arbitrarily shot and killed Muhammad, who posed no threat to the Israeli soldiers’ lives at the time of the shooting.”

      https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=766348

  5. just
    July 4, 2015, 7:13 am

    12, 16, 17~ three brothers, three lives taken by force, three lives not lived.

    Terrible crimes against humanity that go unpunished. Why did they shoot him 3 times~ “in his abdomen, head and back”? Why did they shoot him at all?

    Murder.

    RIP.

  6. eusebio
    July 4, 2015, 9:37 am

    Crimes against can not go unpunished We must make the pressure so that Jerusalem must be a city state protected internationally has much meaning to many cultures

  7. CigarGod
    July 4, 2015, 9:50 am

    That will teach children not to turn their backs on the Soldiers of The King.

  8. catporn
    July 4, 2015, 10:49 am

    Reading through the story, seeing pictures of masked gunmen in the funeral parade, I was expecting the denouement to be some big shootout between IDF and Hamas… Silly me, “hurling stones at a “very close range,”” and even that’s just an allegation from an entity with no history of morals or honesty.
    Palestinians are refused Israeli work permits if a relative has been murdered by them or had their house demolished. Muhammad Sami al-Kasbah, with such a recent and compounded bereavement, would certainly be on the radar of Aman and other intelligence agencies, entering Israel ‘illegally’, two shots to the body and one in the head is not just overkill, its more like an execution calling card. Either way who’s counting, its not like anyones going to be held accountable is it.

  9. Bornajoo
    July 5, 2015, 7:41 am

    Even if he was throwing stones (which appears to be a complete lie anyway) and even if a stone did hit the windscreen how on earth is that any kind of justification to shoot the boy 3 times and kill him?

    There are an ever increasing number of Israelis with guns who are looking for any excuse and any opportunity to kill a Palestinian.

    This is yet another cold blooded murder. The mindset of these cruel, evil, brain damaged psychos is ‘the only good Arab is a dead Arab’.

    Just imagine if a PA security officer shot dead a settler kid for throwing stones at a Palestinian car?

    Thanks Allison

  10. Bornajoo
    July 5, 2015, 8:34 am

    Here is Gideon Levy on this:

    “By Gideon Levy
    Published 03:20 04.07.15
    Col. Yisrael Shomer says he didn’t know who he had shot on Friday morning in A-Ram, and I doubt it interests him. Still, I want to tell him who it was, but first how it came about. The Binyamin Brigade commander’s jeep was attacked with stones, which smashed its windshield while he was on a road near the West Bank town.

    Shomer got out of the jeep and, along with his brave soldiers, opened fire with live ammunition at the stone throwers. The body of the person killed was hit by three bullets – in the head, shoulder and back.

    The colonel contended that his life was in danger. The army claimed he followed procedures relating to detaining a suspect (even though all the bullets struck the upper body.)

    If an investigation is ever opened in the incident, it will, of course, quickly be closed – either on the grounds that it is not in the public interest to pursue it, or due to absence of guilt. Why? What happened? The commander was simply conveying to his soldiers a message that they have long known: the fate of Palestinian stone throwers is death.

    That is the prevailing spirit of the Binyamin Brigade commander, of the Israel Defense Forces and of the people of Israel.

    Col. Shomer killed Mohammad Kosba. Thirteen years ago, I wrote his father: “Sami Kosba is now a broken man. As he relates the details of his tragedy … the expression on his unshaven face is one of great sorrow … He lost two sons in the space of 40 days … a bereaved father times two.”

    The two brothers each survived about a week, before dying at the same hospital in Ramallah. First Yasser, 10, was killed, shot in the head at close range in a stone-throwing incident in the West Bank, near the Qalandiyah refugee camp where his family was living in poverty. Yasser was shot while running for his life from soldiers. He tripped and fell, and they shot him in the head, according to witnesses, while he was already lying on the ground. The Israel Defense Forces spokesman dared claim at the time that the 10-year-old was the “head instigator.”

    Just as the 40-day period of mourning for Yasser was ending, IDF soldiers killed his brother Samer. He had been throwing stones at an Israeli tank near the Muqata headquarters of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. The compound was besieged by Israeli forces at the time, and the protest there was in solidarity with those inside. Samer was 15 at the time of his death. He was shot in the head at close range, just as his brother was 40 days before. “Samer? Again a bullet? Again in the head?” asked the disbelieving father from the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he was at the time of the second incident.

    I met Sami, the owner of a ramshackle kiosk near the refugee camp school, a short time later, at his home. Also there were his two remaining sons, the eldest, Thamar, and little Mohammad, who was 3 at the time.

    Five years later, Thamer too was seriously injured by IDF gunfire. He was 18 then, and it happened at the supermarket where he worked the night shift. According to witnesses, he was shot in the back for no reason while washing down the supermarket floor with a hose. After the shooting, he was arrested by the soldiers – perhaps to act as cover for the senseless shooting.

    Israeli activist Aya Kanyuk visited him at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem a short time later. He told her that after the soldiers shot him, they also beat him. He lay in hospital in serious condition, shackled with the approval of the doctors. His father was not allowed to visit him for a few days, but Thamer was fortunate enough to survive.

    And then there was Mohammad who, from the age of three, experienced all of these horrors. Now the soldiers have also killed him. The brigade commander’s life was in danger. Suspect arrest procedures were employed. Stones kill. Terrorism. Israel faces an existential threat. The world is delegitimizing it. The IDF is the most moral army in the world.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.664426

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