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Was Ahed Akhil of Beit Ummar, Palestine murdered for no reason? Coloardo Group calls for an investigation.

January 12, 2021

Ahed Akhil, 24 year old sweet shop (candy store as we would call it) in Beit Ummar, killed by an Israeli security guard and left for five hours to bleed to death.

The Israeli policy in the West Bank, when stripped to its essential, is simple enough: make life intolerable for the Palestinian people living there so that they will be forced to leave. Some have, many however, in what is a political act in and of itself, refuse to be pushed out their ancestral lands. The recent killing of Beit Ummar resident Ahed Akhil and the consequences for his family are a case in point.

Was Ahed Akhil murdered?

Just a month earlier, he had just opened a sweets shop called “Walls of Jerusalem” in his home town of Beit Ummar, a town of 18,000 people living with Area C of the West Bank, completely administered by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). He had gone to a nearby open market established by Rami Lev just outside the Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion to by some kind of specialty cheese there where he was shot and killed. The market serves both Israeli settlers and Palestinians from Beit Ummar.

As his now devastated family members tell it, Ahed Akhil was never involved in Palestinian politics. With no history of violence, he was not active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fateh or Hamas; nor did he have any known enemies.

One thing for certain, the Israeli military explanation of Akhil’s death lacks credibility. According to Israeli sources Akhil was in the process of attacking an Israeli at the marketplace with a knife; he was shot and killed by what sources say was an Israeli security guard.

Gush Etzion is actually a complex of 22 settlements with a population of 70,000 settlers. Like all other settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights, it is deemed illegal by international law.

Members of Akhil’s family have been interrogated. There is a likelihood that the family will be harassed now by the Israeli authorities for years to come. Not only has the Israeli military refused to return the victim’s body, but it has announced – as it has done thousands of times that it will demolish the Akhil residence.

In any case, the details of exactly what happened on January 5 outside Gush Etzion’s walls is not known.

Palestinian sources here state side) are suspicious of the Israeli narrative that Akhil threatened someone with a knife in a place heavily guarded and fully armed by the IDF. They point out that the idea that a “Palestinian with a knife” would attack someone in a market that is heavily guarded with Israeli military – they, as usual, heavily armed – is ludicrous. The image thus created is of a fanatic or madman. Akhil was neither They point out that the scenario of Israel accusing Palestinians of knike attacks is a common place rationale to justify the outright murder of Palestinian civilians – men, women and children – killed by the IDF or settlers.

Nor did the Israeli repression end with Akhil’s death.

In the days that follow the IDF entered Beit Ummar guns blasting and shooting gas cannisters and detonating stink bombs. The Israeli Occupation forces proceeded to interrogate members of Akhil’s family and subsequently notified his father that their home would be demolished. Protests as a result erupted. Israeli forces have since made several incursions into the town of Beit Ummar, shooting and firing gas cannisters that have resulted in multiple injuries.

There were also many arrests.

Keep in mind that one third of all children arrested and incarcerated by the Israeli military come from Beit Ummar, most of the for “the high crime” of throwing stones at Israeli armoured vehicles. More of this took place after Akhil’s death.

Members of Akhil’s family have been interrogated. There is a likelihood that the family will be harassed now by the Israeli authorities for years to come. Not only has the Israeli military refused to return the victim’s body, but it has announced – as it has done thousands of times that it will demolish the Akhil residence.

In a press release, the Center for Freedom and Justice – Colorado – a kind of informal Colorado sister city project with a civic organization with the same name – noted the following:

We at Center for Freedom and Justice – Colorado question the official Israeli explanation for the killing. We call on the U.S. State Department to investigate what appears to have been an unauthorized use of force and the death of an innocent person.

A letter to that effect was sent by email to the State Department.

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