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CPT: ‘My son, my son’

Maureen Jack | CPT Hebron

13 February, 2010

Yesterday a man died in Al Khalil/Hebron. Israeli soldiers shot him, and he died of his injuries. He was a Palestinian of about forty, with a large family.

There are different versions of what happened. The Israeli military have reported that the man attempted to stab one or more soldiers with a knife and that the soldiers then shot him. Locals say that this is not true. One report CPTers have heard is that Palestinian kids were throwing stones and the soldiers started shooting; the man had not been involved but was shot while he was trying to escape from danger. We were not there and so do not know.

There has been no large funeral of the kind often held when a Palestinian dies this way. The man was buried quietly late last night; a Palestinian friend told us that this was at the insistence of the Israeli authorities.

Earlier this week a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli soldier to death in the Nablus area. Did that influence the soldiers who pulled their triggers in Hebron yesterday? I don’t know.

What I do know is that the soldiers here in Hebron go out in groups of six and that each soldier wears heavy body protection and a helmet. If the man did indeed have a knife, might it have been possible for the six soldiers to have disarmed him without killing him?

Three of us from CPT were at the spot an hour or so after it happened. I heard a Palestinian woman wail, ‘Ibni, ibni’ (‘My son, my son.’) She was the man’s mother. I have been thinking of her today, and of the mother of the Israeli soldier killed near Nablus. I know that I shall think of them too on Good Friday, as I think of another mother grieving for her son.