More news from Beit Ummar (Ommar), between Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank—this time from the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP). In the last two weeks I have written about the violence in Beit Ummar against Jamal Muqbul, whom we met in May. Yousef, the boy who was killed Friday, is a close friend of Jamal’s son Yazan. Jamal writes of their sorrow: “yes.. we are so so sad about Palistinin who killed by settler yesterday morning especially he is close friend of my child Yazan. …. now there is many soldiers in the village.” Take a few minutes to read about Yousef, who was involved in non-violent actions and was learning peacemaking in Beit Ommar. Read this information and more on PSP’s website: http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 21:18:39 -0600
Subject: [PSPUpdates] PSP Youth Volunteer Shot by Settlers and Now Brain-Dead
Earlier today, Yousef Fakhri Ikhlayl, a 17-year-old youth from Beit Ommar who has worked very closely with PSP over the years, was shot in the head by settlers and he is currently brain-dead in a Hebron hospital. Yousef attended nearly every unarmed Saturday demonstration, was frequently around the PSP house, and participated in both the Freedom Flotilla Summer Camp, and the photography class organized by the Center for Freedom and Justice. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Please consider holding solidarity actions or events in your communities to demand his killers be brought to justice, and for Yousef to be the last victim of an ongoing brutal occupation.
Below is more information about the circumstances of Yousef's shooting.
With anger and grief,
The Palestine Solidarity Project
Friday, January 28th 2011, 9am: Around 100 settlers from Bat Ayn settlement descended upon the Palestinian villages of Saffa and nearby Beit Ommar in the southern West Bank, shooting 17-year-old Yousef Fakhri Ikhlayl in his head, leaving him critically injured. Doctors have announced that Yousef is currently brain-dead in a Hebron hospital.
Settlers also shot 16-year-old Bilal Mohammad Abed Al-Qador with live ammunition in his arm.
The large group of armed settlers began shooting towards Palestinian homes in Saffa at around 9am, leaving Bilal injured. At the same time, a second group of settlers attacked an area of Beit Ommar called Jodor. Yousef was shot in the head in this area while he was standing in grapes vines he had planted on his family’s land.
Dozens of Palestinians from Beit Ommar and the nearby village of Surif began coming to the area to defend their communities. Seven jeeps of Israeli Forces also arrived in the area and escorted the settlers back to Bat Ayn.
This is the second settler attack with live ammunition on Palestinians in as many days. On January 27th, Uday Maher Qadous was shot and killed in Iraq Burin, in the Nablus district, by armed settlers as he was working his land.
Yousef Fahkri Ikhlayl is from the village of Beit Ommar and has worked on initiatives with the Palestine Solidarity Project, an ant-occupation organization in Beit Ommar. In the summer of 2010, Yousef attended the Center for Freedom and Justice’s Freedom Flotilla Summer Camp where he engaged in educational projects, community service, and unarmed demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. In the fall of 2010 Yousef was a participant in a youth photography class also sponsored by the center.
“Yousef was a kid who hoped for a better future for Palestine. His life was ended prematurely by right-wing extremists. People around the world should be outraged by his shooting, and should work to bring his attackers to justice. “
-Bekah Wolf, American citizen who worked with Yousef in the Center for Freedom and Justice
Settlers from Bat Ayn routinely attack and harass Palestinians in the Beit Ommar area. In January 27th, 2011 settlers in the area destroyed several hundred olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.