Israeli Forces Shoot Dead Palestinian Teen At Checkpoint in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, April 25, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Saturday shot dead a Palestinian teenager after an incident on the Z‘ayyim military checkpoint to the east of East Jerusalem, said witnesses.

Seventeen-year-old Ali Abu Ghannam was shot dead by Israeli forces stationed at the checkpoint around 1:00 a.m. following a scuffle.

Witnesses told WAFA that Israeli soldiers stationed on the checkpoint stopped Abu Ghannam, who was crossing the checkpoint with his sister on foot, and insulted his sister verbally, provoking a scuffle.

Abu Ghannam engaged in a scuffle with the soldiers after they uttered vulgar words to his sister before he was shot dead.

According to the Israeli version of the incident, Abu Ghannam was shot dead after allegedly attempting to stab the soldiers.

Israeli police said in a statement that the young man ‘wielded a large knife’ and attempted to stab the soldiers before being shot dead. However, witnesses and the young man’s relatives denied such claims.

Abu Ghannam’s cousin, Haitham, was reported by Reuters as saying that his cousin was killed for no reason.

“He arrived to A-Zayyim checkpoint when the soldiers shot him for no reason, without him attacking them. Witnesses told us that they saw them (the soldiers) shooting him and executing him,” he said.

Forces refused to hand over  the young man’s body to Palestinian paramedics, and instead transported it to Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.

Local news media (Ma’an) reported that Abu Ghannam’s father, Muhammad, was summoned by Israeli intelligence and security forces to the al-Z‘ayyim checkpoint to identify his son’s body, and then was taken to the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem.

After identifying his son’s face, Muhmmad was prevented from seeing his son’s body to see where or how many times he had been shot.

He said that Israeli intelligence informed him that his son’s body will be delivered to the family on condition that only 20 people attend the funeral, but that he refused these conditions and demanded that his son’s body  be delivered to the family without any conditions.

Meanwhile, the presidency condemned the Israeli ‘murdering’ of Abu Ghannam under the false pretext of attempting to stab soldiers stationed at the checkpoint.

The presidency affirmed the urgent need for an international intervention to insure the protection of the Palestinian people, to end the Israeli occupation, and to help establish an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Palestinian national movements, mainly Fatah, declared a three-day mourning in al-Tur village, Abu Ghannam’s hometown.

Fatah’s Media and Culture Commission slammed Abu Ghannam’s killing as ‘a racially-motivated crime’ and ‘organized terrorism’.

“Abu Ghannam was murdered for racist motivations. We are certain that the world will  become aware of the Israeli soldiers’ disregard of international law and humanity,” said the commission.

It attributed Abu Ghannam’s killing to “the Israeli soldiers’ desire to murder, motivated by their sense of racial superiority.”