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October 2000 - Return to Complete Index                 MiddleEast.Org       10/07/00
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                   A Murder in Cold Blood

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10/07:

On 3 October 2000, Aseel Assalih, 17, from the town of Arrabeh in the Upper Galilee died after having been severely beaten and shot in the neck by the Israeli military.

According to a statement given by his older sister, Nardine, Aseel was attending a demonstration in Arrabeh on 3 October with friends.   His parents, who were viewing the demonstration from a nearby hill, attest that Aseel was neither throwing stones nor holding any signs during the protest, but, rather, he was chanting slogans with his friends.  At some point, during the demonstration, Israeli soldiers advanced their position and Palestinian protestors dispersed in all directions.  Aseel ran into a nearby olive grove for protection, but Israeli soldiers followed him, caught him and began to severely beat him.  After subjecting him to two separate beatings, he was shot with one bullet, at close range, in the neck.  The soldiers then left the area and alerted by-standers to his location.

When the group reached him, he was bleeding seriously.  The group called an ambulance, however, given restrictions set by Israeli police and soldiers, the ambulance was unable to get through quickly, so Aseel was placed in a private car and transported to Al-Hayaat Medical Center in 'Arrabeh to receive emergency first aid.  There, medical center staff gave Aseel CPR and stabilized him.  He was then transported via ambulance to a nearby hospital, but, once again, Israeli military presence in the area made it impossible to transport him quickly.  The ambulance was not allowed through quickly and was forced to stop at numerous checkpoints established along the way.  Once at the hospital, he was immediately taken to surgery, but after approximately 10 minutes, the surgeon ended the procedure as there was no possibility of reviving the child.  The hospital reports indicate that marks of serious beating were evident all over Aseel's body.

According to Nardine Assalih, Aseel was a bright, gregarious boy, and extremely active in the Seeds of Peace program, which attempts to bring Israeli and Arab youth together.  Aseel had participated in the group for
several years, traveling with them to both the United States and Switzerland.  At the time of his brutal killing, Aseel was wearing a Seeds of Peace tee-shirt. [It has been learned by MER that last year Aseel attended a special camp in New England that brought together Israeli and Palestinian teenagers eager to meet each other and work together for a peaceful future].

According to his sister, Aseel was a strong believer in non-violent struggle and the possibility of peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians, at the same time as allowing both peoples to express their own national identity.  Aseel's violent death at the hands of Israeli soldiers and police has caused many members of the community to re-examine the ideals that Aseel held so high and to question what is the role of Palestinians living inside Israel?  If the life of a Palestinian child and citizen of Israel can so easily be destroyed by Israeli forces, how ready and willing is Israeli society for peaceful co-existence?

     [This information from an Israeli correspondent from details prepared by
     Defence for Children International/Palestine Section in Ramallah]

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