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Video: A beautiful brother went looking for his family in the death zone (Updated)

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Rina Andolini, an international living in Gaza, shared this journal entry on Facebook. Photos are from Joe Catron’s Flickr page. This post has been updated with the video above. 

Shajiya – There was a ceasefire today for 3 hours – so some of us internationals went to the area which I refer to as the ‘Death Zone’ – Shajiya, we went to see if we could help with the masses of injured amongst the rubble.

The Death Zone is unlike any destruction I have seen in my life – there is no place left without bombing, shelling or sniper shots. Total devastation.

We reached and there was a beautiful brother who was looking for his family. Doing our job, we made the decision collectively to help find the brother’s family amongst the annihilation.

International volunteers following Palestinian youth into Sha seconds before his killing, photo by Joe Catron

International volunteers following Palestinian youth into Shuja’iyeh, photo by Joe Catron

Unfortunately, the danger starts, there is constant bombing very very very close by, drones literally above our heads and sniper shooting. We are ducking and diving, and weaving in and out of the rubble and destruction.

We have so much to worry about – 1- to find this brother’s family, 2- to not get struck on the head by falling debris from the tops of buildings/houses, 3 – to ensure our safety from the Israeli Occupational Forces.

Internationals follow a Palestinian youth who is seeking his family in Shuja'iyeh, photo by Joe Catron

Internationals follow a Palestinian youth who is seeking his family in Shuja’iyeh, photo by Joe Catron

This is not a joke, this is what happened. I was there and I was in the middle of it along with the five other members including the brother who lost his family.

We were pretty much in the line of fire. However, this was not expected as we were under the impression that we had a ceasefire window to go and do our work and come back safely.

There was cover as we were walking but then, there was a clear opening….and we heard the first shot towards us. It missed us, but it split the group.

I was on the far side with Mohammed and the brother. And on the opposite side, there was Joe, Charlie and Fred. The brother was slightly near the opening and there was a second shot @ 15.27 and he fell to the ground.

Nobody could help him, he was in two arms’ reach, and we could not go to him as the Israelis were shooting and there is no doubt in my mind that the rest of us would have died if we did try to go to him.

We could not even give him something to hold on to, we were just surrounded by rubble and cables that possibly were live. The mind was not at its most clearest of points right then.

Then there was a third shot at him, and a fourth that missed him. The second shot to the brother was what killed him. Yet, they shot him again. Four shots in total.

Our dear brother – dead, inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon. The ‪#‎Israeli‬Occupational Forces murdered him. And what for?

Why, during a ceasefire were attacks being carried out against the Palestinian people?

I hear Charlie say ” find something anything…” and Mohammed and I shouted ‘he is already dead”.

There were four shots in total, miss, hit, hit, miss. Shrapnel flying everywhere.


We are all witnesses to this murder of an ordinary human being, a beautiful brother, who was merely looking for his family. He must have been about 20 years old, with piercing light eyes. We still do not know his name but we are trying our best to find out.

My last words to him were “slow down brother slow down” – but he wanted his family. He wanted his lost family, and the Israelis killed him for that.

Who are the murderers here?

We are blessed that we made it out of the Death Zone alive. The brother will be a shaheed and he died in the last 10 days of ‪#‎Ramadhan‬. May Allah grant him the highest ranks of jannah. Ameen.

Joe Catron offers this account to accompany his photos:

International and Palestinian volunteers accompanied Civil Defense and other rescue crews, as well as family members, into Shujaya, a neighborhood by the separation barrier in the east of Gaza City, in an attempt to locate survivors of overnight and ongoing shelling by the Israeli army. A young Palestinian man, who hoped to reach his family’s home, was shot by an Israeli soldier while crossing an alley between buildings. Two additional rounds struck him as he lay prone on the ground. Unable to reach him through the ongoing gunfire, and with Israeli artillery beginning to target buildings in the area, the volunteers were forced to retreat. 

Joe Catron

Joe Catron is a US activist in Gaza, Palestine, where he works with Palestinian groups and international solidarity networks, particularly in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and prisoners' movements. He co-edited The Prisoners' Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag, an anthology of accounts by detainees freed in the 2011 prisoner exchange, blogs at and tweets at @jncatron.

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38 Responses

  1. Justpassingby on July 20, 2014, 2:59 pm

    And where is the ridiculous Mr Goldstone today? Will he do another report saying israel is just defending itself?

  2. Cliff on July 20, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Where is Goldstone now? What a total coward he is.

    Caved in, because he realized people who were not aware of this conflict began to take notice.

  3. concernedhuman on July 20, 2014, 5:02 pm

    Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

    These are precision guided weapons ?These dont differentiate between armed people and civilians and are being used in densely populated area .

    Israel does not target civilians?

  4. concernedhuman on July 20, 2014, 5:16 pm

    Netunyahoo is taking advantage of two things…

    The west support and support from Arab League “israel has right to defend itself after the hamas rejecting cease-fire”

    The world is more focused on MH17 Malaysian plane shot down over Ukraine .

    • Citizen on July 21, 2014, 9:52 am

      On Imus In The Morning today, Imus interviewed the head of CFR, who identified this organization as a group of about 80 independent and objective think tank folks who write about US foreign policy. He told Imus (1) trigger of the current Gaza situation is Palestinians kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens; (2) that Israel has agreed to a cease fire a bunch of times but Hamas has rejected all such proposals; (3) that there is no hope of getting to the roots of the problem.

      Imus of course accepted all this misinformation and lying by omission without further questions.

      Then again, last Friday HBO subscribers were treated to Bill Maher’s panel discussion on latest Real Time segment covering the issues of Gaza (it’s those rockets), Israel (just defending itself), Jewish superiority over Arabs in the humanities and sciences, the propriety of US congress backing Israel 100%–Congress is merely doing its job, representing the American people who overwhelmingly support Israel. The audience applauded.

  5. michelle on July 20, 2014, 8:31 pm

    this isn’t a war
    this is a demented demolition crew
    clearing the land of all obstructions
    Gaza is becoming a graveyard
    paid for by our governments
    paid for by us
    please where is the list;
    of phone numbers
    e-mail addresses
    twitter addresses
    sign up lists of protest/boycott
    funding sights to support peace efforts
    and other related information
    which leaders do i try to contact
    is there a kick start account(s)
    does an info movie need funding
    G-d Bless

  6. gamal on July 21, 2014, 1:01 am

    Shaheed, indeed, Joe and Rita are astonishingly brave, jazakallahu khairan, a credit to the species, we can but wait for dawn.

    By the Dawn
    And ten nights
    By the even and the odd
    And by the night when it passes
    There is an oath for those who see
    Have you not considered the destruction of A’ad
    Iram, who were mighty as lofty pillars
    And Thamud, who carved stones in the valley
    And Pharaoh, owner of the stakes
    Who transgressed without limit in the land.
    And made great disorder.
    on them poured different kinds of severe torment.
    your Lord is Ever Watchful.
    As for man, when his Lord tries him by giving him honour and gifts, then he says : “My Lord has honoured me.”

    But when He tries him, by straitening his means of life, he says: “My Lord has humiliated me!”
    But you do not treat the orphans with kindness and generosity
    And do not urge the feeding of the poor!
    And you devour inheritances with greed,
    And you love wealth intensely!
    When the earth is ground to powder,
    And your Lord comes with the angels in battalions,
    Hell will be brought near that Day. On that Day will mankind remember, but how will that recollection avail them?
    say: “Alas! Would that I had good deeds for my life!”

    • gamal on July 21, 2014, 1:26 am

      Sorry Rina (not Rita), my eyes are traitors.

    • Walid on July 21, 2014, 3:41 am

      Beautiful voice, gamal, and a fitting prediction in store for the Zionists.

      • gamal on July 21, 2014, 11:20 am

        Hey Walid, tough times wish I was as brave a Gaza child, I was thinking of you when i was reading a Jadaliyya post about Kateb Yacine ( Yacine Kateb), he has a brilliant little exposition on Camus and Faulkner, Faulkner could despise and look, Camus wouldnt see, like Oz and other Ashkenazi writers.

        The Palestinians have, yet again shamed the whole putrid Arab establishment, it may not only be Netanyahu who is finished Egyptians are stunned by Sisi machinations, mad as ‘Amr Bilah, Egypt is killing bedou, maybe my whole “clan” the ‘Awf should retire to sinai and kill Pharoahs brutal minions, but we live in a village and the police are always knocking doors and taking names, Egypt is going to burn down, and good riddance, fuck all the Arab regimes they all deserve destruction, the repercussions of this stupidity by Israel and Egypt may last a long time.

        all the best Walid.

  7. oldgeezer on July 21, 2014, 2:08 am

    but but but Israel upheld the ceasefire didn’t it? It would be nice to get a timeline on this but considering the pressure (and likely a huge element of fear) I realize it’s likely asking too much.

    There is still the issue of sniping on unarmed civilians regardless. How do they raise their children that someone can kill unarmed people in cold blood. If I ever prayed I would pray for decades of nightmares for them (and justice for their victims).

  8. Marnie on July 21, 2014, 5:42 am

    So what does a cease-fire mean here – nothing, it doesn’t exist. Bloody bastards.

  9. just on July 21, 2014, 8:11 am

    Witnessed murder of a grief stricken non- combatant during a ceasefire. 4 shots.

    That’s not war, that is evil personified by the IOF monster firing a weapon of death. It’s also a war crime.

    I feel that he is my brother, too. May his beautiful piercing light eyes find his family and peace.

    Thank you, Rina and Joe, for doing this harrowing and humanitarian work. Stay safe.

  10. Elisabeth on July 21, 2014, 9:53 am

    How are they going to talk themselves out of this?!!

    • Sycamores on July 21, 2014, 10:29 am

      i was thinking the same thing.

      how will netanyahu spin this one.

      I’m very sad. When I see that I’m very sad. We’re sad for every civilian casualty. They’re not intended. This is the difference between us. The Hamas deliberately targets civilians by forcing Israeli snipers to shoot dead wounded civilians. What choice do we have?

    • Djinn on July 21, 2014, 10:29 am

      The way they always do. They will scream terrorist over and over again until the world is numb and gives them more money. How many massacres now? How many dead children? Again and again and again for 65 years.

      • just on July 21, 2014, 10:39 am

        we have to use the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ right back at them, then.

        were the masked goons beating Tariq state sponsored terrorists? why, yes they were.

      • Sibiriak on July 21, 2014, 11:49 am


        we have to use the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ right back at them, then.

        Yes! Yes! Yes! “Terrorism” easily trumps “war crimes”, “human rights violations” etc. There is no alternative.

      • Sumud on July 21, 2014, 6:20 pm

        No Dijinn, the tables are turning.

        Hamas have killed about 25 IDF now and 2 civilians.

        IDF have killed 500+ and at least 3/4 are civilians, and all of that’s been broadcast to us in HD. A new horror each day. And the IDF and those ridiculous cartoons.

        Interesting Times are here.

  11. just on July 21, 2014, 11:20 am

    OMG! I just watched the above video @ EI. It is the video of the actual murdering of this young man…

    • Sumud on July 21, 2014, 5:53 pm

      Especially sad because he’s there looking for his family AND they shot him during a cease fire.

      As of about 6 hours ago ISM didn’t even know who he was, they tweeted out video stills asking if anybody knew to please contact them.

      • seafoid on July 21, 2014, 6:00 pm

        It’s really shocking. You can feel the fear of the others watching it.
        And that basically is Erez Israel Hashlemeh in Palestinian level 5 of hell where the Galilee is Level 1 .

  12. Elisabeth on July 21, 2014, 11:33 am

    I know! There is no getting around this video. He was lying down, unarmed. They do it for sports. The young man praying in his anguish is at such stellar heights above these cowardly snipers. This just shows cristal clear the attitude and practices of this army right now in Gaza. It is damning.

  13. Sumud on July 21, 2014, 5:47 pm

    The video is going viral – it’s been 9-10 hours since ISM first tweeted a link out to it and views are already at 136,000.

    • seafoid on July 21, 2014, 5:50 pm

      Amazing how many views and it’s exactly what Israel does not want the world to see. They were so pissed off about the beach photos last week. Zionism needs the old journalism model more than the New York Times does.

      • Sumud on July 21, 2014, 6:04 pm

        I only checked the views seafoid b/c I read your comment on another thread when they were 126k, and I remembered seeing the ISM first send it out. It jumped 10k pretty fast.

        Hallelujah and praise the internet and citizen journalism.

        I just had a look at Annie’s updated compilation of protest photos from around the world, huge.

      • Bumblebye on July 21, 2014, 7:44 pm

        When I checked a few mins ago, it was at 189,999 and has been made sign in to view. Someone’s trying to slow the spread.

      • Sumud on July 21, 2014, 7:58 pm

        I don’t think you have to sign in if the content’s embedded in a page (like here) so I doubt that’ll be too effective in slowing it.

    • just on July 21, 2014, 5:51 pm

      It needs to. Thanks, Sumud. May he and all of the other innocents RIP.

      It’s what Israel has done. Cold- blooded murder of innocents. Terrorism. IOF are hunting non-combatants and children.

  14. Sumud on July 21, 2014, 6:11 pm

    And there’s the young Palestinian journalist who was killed the first night of Shuja’iya, Khaled Hamed – wearing a press flack jacket:


  15. iResistDe4iAm on July 21, 2014, 10:41 pm

    The headline doesn’t reflect what really happened. I only noticed this article after reading the EI’s version which is titled “War crime: video shows sniper killing of wounded Gaza civilian”.

    – A beautiful brother (Palestinian youth) went looking for his family in the death zone.
    – The Palestinian youth was accompanied by International volunteers on a search and rescue mission during a 3-hour ceasefire.
    – The search and rescue was conducted during broad daylight. All participants were unarmed.
    – The Palestinian was shot by a sniper and lay wounded (not captured on video, but at 2:18 he was “calling out to his loved ones” and then a shot is heard).
    – The wounded Palestinian (while laying on his back) was then shot dead in cold blood by a sniper.

    A beautiful brother went looking for his family in the death zone (was murdered in cold blood by Israeli sniper).

    May he rest in peace.

  16. iResistDe4iAm on July 22, 2014, 11:25 pm

    From EI:

    The young man seen shot dead by a sniper in the video above has been identified as 20-year-old Salem Shamaly from the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya, where Israel committed a massacre early on Sunday morning. He survived the massacre but was then murdered in cold blood.

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