Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

Did child deserve to die over lost temper?

I am glad to see Abir Kopty examining the video Israel says is of the shooting of Muhammad Awad Salaymeh, the teenager killed at a Hebron checkpoint when he went to buy cake for his 17th birthday party. What this killing reveals is:

a) How little interest the killing of a Palestinian juvenile (let alone an adult!) elicits from most of the international media. Imagine if a Palestinian policeman had shot dead an Israeli child during a stop and search – it would have been front-page news.

b) How completely Israel is allowed to control the narrative when disputed events like this one occur in the occupied territories. No one questions Israel’s improbable account of what happened, or its refusal to produce the unedited video in its possession, or the inconsistencies between the official account and what can be seen in what is left of the video.

c) How Israeli soldiers, most of them teenagers themselves, face zero accountability from their commanders. Even from the fragments of the video Israel has provided (and, of course, ignoring the illegality of the occupation), it seems clear Muhammad did not need to be shot to stop him, and he most certainly did not need to be shot repeatedly. Impunity for the soldiers simply ensures that Palestinians will have to face more such trigger-happy moments.

If the story told by an eyewitness is right, Muhammad was executed because he lost his temper when something – possibly a toy gun, and most likely a present from friends – was taken from him by the soldiers. That is an incredibly high price for a child to pay for a moment of hot-headedness.

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