18 Years Ago, IDF Shot Palestinian Boy Dead As His Father Shielded Him

Almost 18 years after the incident, the Israeli occupation has only gotten worse. IDF soldiers are still killing unarmed Palestinians, including children.

The Israeli military is undeniably one of the most highly trained and technologically advanced in the world but it's also among the most cruel ones.

On the internet, there are hundreds of videos and photographs, showing Israeli soldiers shooting at mostly unarmed Palestinian protesting against Israel's military occupation, however, one clip, in particular, is deeply seared into the memories of many people, even after 18 years.

On Sept.30, Israeli forces shot dead 12-year-old Palestinian boy Mohammed al-Durrah as his father, Jamal, tried to shield him from bullets.

In the video, the father and son can be seen crouching against a concrete wall near Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. The two remained in that position for nearly 45 minutes as Jamal desperately cried for the gunfire to stop but in vain.

At least four bullets hit Mohammed and he collapsed in his father's arms. When an ambulance driver tried to rescue the pair, he was killed.

The heart-wrenching scene was caught on camera by a France 2 cameraman.

Since then, Mohammed's death has become emblematic of the Palestinian people's struggle for survival.

Unfortunately, nearly two decades after the child's tragic killing, the Israeli military occupation has not only continued, but also gotten worse.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains one of the most intractable in the world. Since 1967, Israel has stationed its armed forces in Palestinian-majority areas, primarily, to forcibly vacate Palestinian villages to build homes for Jewish settlers.

The occupation and expansion has been deemed illegal under international law and prompted resistance from Palestinian inhabitants, who have been living in the embattled region for centuries.

The resistance, for decades, has been met with brutal force that too indiscriminately as it does not even spare children.

Just recently, during the Great March of Return, the wave of Palestinian protests alongside the border of Gaza, which began on March 30 and officially ended on May 15.

At least 194 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. Of them, 141 were killed during the protests, including 28 children, one woman, two journalists, three paramedics and three differently-abled people.

Al Jazeera reports "another 9,970 were injured, including 1,815 children, 419 women, 114 paramedics, and 105 journalists. Of those injured, 5,645 were hit by live fire, including 919 children and 113 women."

Meanwhile, detention of Palestinian children continues.

A B'Tselem states at least 273 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 3 administrative detainees as of the end of June 2018.

At the detention facilities and interrogation centers, minors are often deprived of food, water, and access to toilets, according to human rights advocacy groups. Physical and verbal abuse, is also common along with sleep deprivation, humiliation, threats of sexual violence, and against the detained child's family.

Mohammed's killing highlighted Israeli gross human rights abuses against Palestinians but did not stop them.

In fact, nearly 20 years after the incident, Jamal awaits justice as Israel continues to refute the involvement of its army.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mohammed Salem

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