Two weeks ago, on October 28th, we received a call letting us know that several boys had been shot by Israeli soldiers in a town called Ya’bad, not far from Jenin. Our contacts say that ten boys were shot and four of these boys, all between the ages of 17 and 20, were admitted to hospital. One boy remains in hospital after surgery to address a broken femur from his gunshot wound. Last week we had the opportunity to speak with one of these boys two days after he was released from the hospital. His name is Sharaf, he’s 20 years old, and he currently attends university in Nablus, studying Business Administration.
Sharaf told us that on the evening of October 28th, he was spending time in an internet cafe like he often does, when three military jeeps entered Ya’bad. Since this happens quite regularly, Sharaf says he paid little attention to what was going on outside, and stayed inside the cafe. When sound bombs began to go off outside, the owner of the internet cafe decided to close up shop, so Sharaf had to leave. Sharaf says he left the shop, was crossing the street, and was shot in the leg from behind with live ammunition. As he was lying on the ground, he was shot again in his other leg. The soldiers that shot him were about 200 meters away.
Some of Sharaf’s friends found him on the street and an ambulance was called. Sharaf says he was losing a lot of blood, and came in and out of consciousness a few times. His friends brought him to a local clinic in Ya’bad where he received preliminary care. Several local contacts told us that Israeli soldiers held the Palestinian ambulance at the entrance to the town for about half an hour before letting it pass to care for the injured boys.
We’ve heard from members of the local municipality that soldiers enter Ya’bad almost every day. Sometimes they use tear gas and sound bombs, sometimes they just drive around with loud music on, other times people are shot. In the same week as this incident, a Palestinian attempted to kill a right wing Jewish activist in Jerusalem and the story received international media attention. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the events in Ya’Bad weren’t even picked up by the local press. As we were leaving Sharaf’s home, our driver and translator Abed went over to Sharaf and showed him one of his old gun shot wounds. Very many men you meet in Palestine have been shot at least once.