Update: Jewish Voice for Peace has issued an appeal to protect Imad Abu Shamsiya, titled, “He filmed a killing. Now he’s in danger.”
As anyone who comes to our site knows, a shocking video was published last Thursday showing an Israeli soldier executing a wounded Palestinian youth as he lay immobile on the street in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood.
The video was shot by Imad Abu Shamsiya, who lives behind a wall of barbed wire in that neighborhood. As his video ricochets around the world, Abu Shamsiya is facing death threats, law suits and political pressure over his video. And it’s not the first time he’s come under assault. Jewish settlers want this brave shoemaker and other Palestinians to move out so they can take over his home.
Two months ago Adam Horowitz and I interviewed Abu Shamsiya with the help of Badia Dwaik of Human Rights Defenders, who works closely with Shamsiya.
Abu Shamsiya described conditions in his neighborhood reminiscent to me of the Warsaw Ghetto: a numbers system by which he must enter the neighborhood at this checkpoint near his house. “To get into his house, he has a number. He’s not a name he’s a number now.” Abu Shamsiyah’s number is 242, he says in the video below.
And in the interview that follows, you can see Abu Shamsiya working at his sewing machine on shoes, and describing why he resists the occupation and refuses to leave his house. “Every human being has a right to defend his living.” Staying in his home is a national duty, he says.
“My home is the address of my homeland,” Abu Shamsiya says. The only thing that will stop the settlers– who come from other countries to his neighborhood– is resistance and steadfastness. Unfortunately, the U.S. gives total support to the Israeli occupation, he says. The U.S. claims to support democracy in many Arab countries, except for Palestine.
I ask him at 6:00 if he ever loses hope:
As Palestinians we never lose the hope to liberate our country. We learn this from our fathers and grandfathers, and this is also what we teach our children. That hope always is existing. Because we have a right to live on our land.
As you watch these videos, reflect whether you have ever been called upon to show a fraction of the courage Abu Shamsiya exhibits every day, ask yourself whether you would be capable of such steadfastness; and then remember the brave Jews who resisted their persecutors in the Warsaw Ghetto 70 years ago.
To see the barbed wire that surrounds Abu Shamsiya’s home, look at this video.