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The Ceasefire Continues

by ISM Nablus

On Tuesday 7th June, Electronic Intifada reported the extra-judicial killing of Muraweh Khaled Ekmayel in Jenin by Israeli forces, under the headline “Israel Resumes Assassinations of Palestinians”. Al Jazeera news reported six deaths on the same day. The violence has continued, with the attempted assassination of four Hamas members in Gaza on 8th June.

Residents of Nablus would be surprised to hear that this killing marks the departure from Israel’s commitment at Sharm to end the assassinations. Three residents have been shot dead by Israeli forces in the area of Balata camp since the “ceasefire” heralded by the Sharm talks.

On 16th April Israeli forces shot and killed Brahim Al Smere on Al Quds Street just outside Balata Refugee Camp near Nablus. When the army handed Brahim’s body over to Palestinian medics, he had been shot multiple times in the limbs and body. Witnesses to his killing are sure that Israeli special forces came in to assassinate Brahim and made no attempt to arrest him. At the time the witnesses told us that he seemed to be lured in to the road and compelled to identify himself by someone he was speaking with on the phone. He was shot, but not fatally, first from one direction and then from a second location by a gunman in a car. Nobody made any attempt to arrest him or to take him away alive.

We spoke with the driver who saw Brahim on the morning he was killed.

“I picked him up and he asked me to drive slowly into Al Quds Street. When I asked why, he said he was meeting a friend he knew by telephone. I said “Forget him. You don’t know him. You’re wanted now. Meeting someone like that is a risk for you.” but Brahim said “No, he’s a good guy, he talked nicely to me on the phone.” Then he asked me to wait for him to meet this person so I could take them back, but I said no. It’s a sensitive street. I have to think about my family and so on. So I took him to the place he asked to go to.

The man called him again. I heard Brahim describe what he was wearing and the man said it would be good if he wore a hat too. I told him then “It’s an Israeli. Leave.” but Brahim didn’t believe me.

I left. On my way to Nablus I heard they shot him.”

The arrests and killings continue. Israel cannot claim to be maintaining a ceasefire. And yet the outside world has not acknowledged that the Sharm talks have not brought a resolution to the conflict in the region instead It is pretending that the killings are not happening and that talks are progressing.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issues a report detailing Israel’s contraventions of international law each week. Despite the ceasefire the violations reported every week continue to include killings, tens of arrests and injuries, incursions into Palestinian towns and villages, raids and demolitions of homes, curfews and closures amounting to siege, settler attacks and denial of the legitimate right to non-violent protest.

Each one of those figures represents a violation of an individual’s right to liberty or life or a community’s right to access education and health services, employment or the land which they farmed to support themselves for generations.

The violent military occupation is not over. It is not time to stop campaigning for human rights and Justice in Palestine.

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