On Sunday, October 26, the MPT team attended the funeral for Orwa Hammad, the fourteen year old US citizen who was fatally shot by the Israeli military last week. Over a thousand people (mostly men) came out in the village of Silwad to mourn his death. All the shops were closed in honor of him and cars and buildings were covered with posters honoring him.
The funeral had to be postponed until Sunday so his father could arrive from Louisiana and his mother from Jordan. Walking with the precession which filled parallel streets we met the parents of other children who were recent victims of Israeli shoot to kill actions which are in violation of their own rules of engagement. An unsubstantiated statement by the Israeli military says young Orwa was preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail; multiple eye witnesses disagree.
After the burial 50 to 100 boys returned to the site of the shooting. As black smoke rose from tires the Israeli military fired large quantities of tear gas, about 4-5 salvos of 20 tear gas grenades each. They also fired two different types of rubber coated bullets at the boys. Four ambulances we used to take the injured to medical care.
During the first tear gas attack a neighbor opened their door to get us in out of the tear gas. They gave us wipes for our burning skin and eyes. They brought out a tray of refreshments for us, but we took advantage of a lull in the tear gas to make a break-for-it to put more distance between us and the soldiers. As we thanked them for their hospitality they express their appreciation for us being there in solidarity with them.
While we watched from where the gas was less we were left worrying about our new friends. Not only has the Israeli military occupied the edge of the village near their house but after and hour of gas attacks their house must be filling with it. It must be hard having such an awful and momentous event as the killing of child happen outside you house. It is likely to be a place of contention for a long time.