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Shot dead in a school uniform

Mourners carry the body of 13-year-old Abdulrahman Shadi Obeidallah during his funeral in the West Bank
city of Bethlehem on 6 October.
Muhesen AmrenAPA images

Budour Youssef Hassan The Electronic Intifada Bethlehem 6 October 2015

It is not unusual to see youth from the Aida refugee camp


in Bethlehem fight with the Israeli forces of occupation. But the clashes which followed
Israels slaying of 13-year-old Abdulrahman Shadi Obeidallah or Abdo, as he was
affectionately known were among the fiercest that residents have seen in recent

years.
For hours after Abdos funeral procession on Tuesday, anyone entering the camp had
to wade through clouds oftear gas that had been fired by Israeli soldiers. Young locals,
many of whom knew Abdo personally, could be seen gathering rocks and tires in
preparation for another riot.
The sense of collective grief and rage is always palpable when a Palestinian is
martyred.
Nowhere is this more so than in refugee camps, where communities are bound
together in resistance and by the desire of returning to homes from which they were
expelled.
The sole park in Aida where Abdo and his friends often played is
called Laji (Arabic for refugee), as if to remind children of their roots.
Abdos family were displaced from al-Qabo, a village near Bethlehem attacked by
Zionist forces during theNakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Despite his tender age, Abdo was painfully aware of the restrictions imposed on
Palestinians. He kept a close eye on the news from Jerusalem, a city just five miles
from Bethlehem, that Israel had made off-limits.
He has an aunt in Jerusalem whom he always dreamed of visiting, said his mother
Dalal. But, you know, we are deprived of visiting Jerusalem.
Disbelief
Dalal remains in a state of disbelief that one of her five children has been taken from
her in such a cruel manner. She recalled how Abdo had left for school at 7:30 on
Monday morning. He had asked his mother to wake him early. But he gave me a lot of
trouble until he finally woke up, Dalal said.
At 1:30pm, Dalal received a phone call to say that Abdo had been injured. I was
overwhelmed by horror, she said.
I have no idea how I summoned the strength to run to the hospital in nearby Beit
Jala, she added.

They initially told me that he was shot in the feet in order not to scare me, Dalal said.
But I later realized that he was actually shot in the chest and I immediately knew that
my son would not come out of this alive.

Fierce clashes broke out in Bethlehem after the 6 October funeral for a schoolboy slain
by Israeli forces.
Muhesen AmrenAPA images
Abdo was killed during clashes between local youth and Israeli forces.
The Israeli military has reportedly claimed it shot Abdo by mistake. Its intended target
was an adult who had been standing near Abdo, according the Tel Aviv
newspaper Haaretz.
The organization Defence for Children International-Palestine has stated that its initial
probe into the incident suggests that Abdo may have been unlawfully killed. Abdo was
not taking part in clashes, according to DCI-Palestine.
My closest friend
The killing follows an announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that
Israel is at war with stone-throwers.

Under a new policy, Israeli troops may open fire if they feel that anyone in the vicinity
is deemed at risk from Palestinians throwing stones. Previous rules of engagement had
been more limited.
Abdos father Shadi said the boy had left school earlier than normal on Monday.
He was just looking on while the clashes were taking place, Shadi added. He was still
wearing his school uniform.
If Im honest with you, I never really expected my son to be a martyr or to die like
this, Shadi said.
Muhammad, Abdos 17-year-old brother, described him as my closest friend, who
loved computer games.
He was the only one I could trust to tell all my secrets, knowing that hed never reveal
them to anyone, not even to our parents, Muhammad said.
Abdo was the fourth Palestinian child killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank
this year.
His killing will not deter Palestinians from resisting the occupation of their homeland.
That much was obvious as thousands turned out for his funeral and youth vented their
anger in new clashes.
Even though they knew that some among them would be shot as indeed they were
youth kept on throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. The struggle goes on.
Budour Youssef Hassan is a Palestinian writer and law graduate based in occupied
Jerusalem. Blog:budourhassan.wordpress.com. Twitter: @Budour48
Posted by Thavam