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Child DeathsRod Driver for Salem-News.com
Even in death Ibrahim was still moving. Israeli soldiers were using his body for target practice.
(RICHMOND, R.I.) - The nation was shocked by the horrific shootings in Tucson on Jan. 8. It is particularly tragic when a child is killed. Christina Taylor Green was a gentle 9-year-old whose dreams of helping others were ended by an assassin’s bullet.
Hundreds of other assassinations of children routinely escape public attention, especially if the victims have Arabic names. Two years earlier, on Jan. 4, 2009, another 9-year-old was killed.
Nine-year old Ibrahim Awajah, his siblings and his parents lived in Gaza. Ibrahim was a happy child who disliked guns and violence. To visualize what happened to the family, imagine waking at 2 am to hear soldiers yelling and bulldozers working to demolish your home. As parents, you rush to get your children out of the house before more concrete crashes down in their bedroom.
The Awajah home was quickly reduced to rubble, as the family took refuge under a tree. Kamal and Wafaa Awajah tried to comfort their children and keep them warm on that winter night while Israeli soldiers and tanks passed by – occasionally firing at them.
In the morning they returned to their house to assess the damage. Suddenly Ibrahim screamed. He had been hit by a bullet in his side.
His father picked Ibrahim up, and the family ran to the street for help. Instead of helping, or even allowing, the distraught parents to get Ibrahim to a hospital, Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured both the parents.
Then as Ibrahim and his father lay in the street, an Israeli soldier shot the little boy in the head at close range.
Ibrahim’s mother tearfully begged for mercy for her other children. And the soldier laughed at her. Even in death Ibrahim was still moving. Israeli soldiers were using his body for target practice.
In Gaza that month, Israelis killed 1390 Palestinians. Young Ibrahim was one among 318 children killed. Some of them died from American-made white phosphorus.
The killing continues today. Israelis are not punished for atrocities against Palestinians such as stealing their land, homes, crops and water or even for killing Palestinian children.
President Obama is unlikely to pay tribute to Palestinian victims as he did the victims of the killings in Tucson. Instead, he’ll continue vetoing any U.N. criticism of Israeli cruelty, just as he did the recent U.N resolution against further Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land. He’ll go on giving Israel sophisticated weapons and billions of dollars each year as gifts from the American taxpayers. And Israel will continue abusing Palestinians with impunity.
(You can “meet” the surviving members of Ibrahim’s family – living in a tent near the rubble of their home. A 23-minute video is found at donkeysaddle.org by selecting “One Family in Gaza.”)
Rod Driver is a former Rhode Island State Representative who lives in Richmond, R.I.
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