Palestinian teen killed by IDF near West Bank separation barrier

This is the fourth incident in the last week in which a Palestinian civilian was shot to death after trying to cross or coming close to an Israeli fence. 

A protester hanging a Palestinian flag on the separation barrier near Budrus, July 2011 (photo: Activestills.org)
A protester hanging a Palestinian flag on the separation barrier near Budrus, July 2011 (photo: Activestills.org)

Sixteen year-old Sameer Awwad from Budrus was killed Tuesday by IDF soldiers near the separation barrier at his village. Awwad, who was shot at least three times, is the fourth Palestinian civilian who has been shot to death this week while coming close or trying to cross an Israeli fence. According to reports, none of them posed any risk to Israeli soldiers or civilians.

According to eyewitnesses, Sameer was walking away from light clashes that had erupted by the barrier when he was shot from the back with three bullets from a distance of about 100 meters. One bullet hit his leg, another hit the back of his neck and exited near his eyebrow, and the third entered his rib cage and exited through his chest. Awwad was immediately transferred to Ramallah Hospital, where he was pronounce dead shortly after.

The village of Budrus received worldwide recognition for the non-violent struggle it conducted against the confiscation of its land for the construction of the separation barrier (later documented in the film Budrus).

Over the last few days, three other Palestinians have been killed in the vicinity of Israeli separation barriers. Anwar al-Mamlouk, 21, was killed last Friday in Gaza, near the barrier in Jabalya. On Saturday, Oudai Darwish from Dura near Hebron was killed in the South Hebron Hills, when trying to cross the barrier to find work in Israel. Darwish was shot at least four times, twice in his legs and twice in the upper part of his body.

Another Palestinian, Mustafa Abu Jarad, 21, was killed yesterday near the barrier in Beit Lahia.

The killing of Palestinian civilians near barriers was one of the main issues that led to the recent escalation in between Israel and Hamas in the south. Almost 20 percent of the area of the Gaza Strip is considered no man’s land by the IDF, forbidden for entry even by farmers who used to grow their crops on this land. Several incidents in which Palestinians were shot to death while traveling to this area resulted in rocket launchings into Israel.

Despite the high number of civilian casualties in those incidents, they received little attention in the media. Since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, at least five Palestinians were killed near the Gaza border, but no rockets were launched in response.

The IDF has informed Hebrew media outlets that it will look into the shootings near Budrus and Dura.