More terrible news. Three cherished members from the community of Beit Ummar have been killed by Israeli forces while demonstrating in support of Gaza today. This little village, home of activists from the Palestine Solidarity Project, has been hit so hard by settlers and Israeli military forces over the years, they gang up on that village time and again, relentlessly targeting their children and strangling the community because of its coveted location. So much anguish it is hard to comprehend. It brings me great sorrow reporting these deaths today.
Palestine Solidarity Project press release:
Today, a demonstration was held in Beit Ummar, a village of 17,000 people in Hebron District, against the ongoing assault in Gaza by Israeli Military Forces. Almost immediately, the Israeli military forces that confronted the demonstration shot live ammunition into the crowd of approximately 900 people, a clear escalation from the regular response to Beit Ummar demonstrations, which have been ongoing since the Gaza assault began.
THREE HAVE BEEN KILLED
Hasham Abu Maria, 47, worked with Defense of Children International-Palestine and was shot in the chest with live ammunition approximately 30 minutes into the demonstration.
Sultan Shuqdam and Abd Alhamid Al Brigheith were also shot and were pronounced dead at approximately 4:30 this afternoon in Al Ahli hospital in Hebron.
The three will be buried today in the cemetery in Beit Ummar, which is also by the Israeli military watchtower.
— Defence for Children (@DCIPalestine) July 25, 2014
Defense for Children International-Palestine has issued a statement on Abu Maria’s death that includes some new details:
Defense for Children International-Palestine mourns the death of a staff member, Hashem Khader Abu Maria, 45, killed today by Israeli forces while peacefully participating in a solidarity march with Gaza.
Israeli forces shot Hashem in the chest with live ammunition as he stood still at the demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza after Friday prayers in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar.
Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth erupted when the Israeli military attempted to disperse the crowd with lethal force. Hashem was not participating in the violence when a bullet struck him from a distance of 100 meters (328 feet), witnesses told DCI-Palestine. Two other protesters were killed in the same march, and at least 10 sustained injuries.
“The DCI-Palestine family is shocked and devastated by the loss of our friend and colleague, Hashem,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Hashem considered defending children’s rights as his purpose in life, not simply as a job. That he has become the latest innocent civilian to lose his life at the hands of Israeli forces is a tragedy. We offer our utmost condolences to his family.”
Hashem served as the coordinator of DCI-Palestine’s community mobilization unit, promoting constructive child participation throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory. His most recent work focused on Palestinian teens monitoring and documenting child rights violations in Hebron.
He is survived by his wife Samira, his son Ayham, 11, and his two daughters, Siba, 6, and Majdal, 13.