By Ali Abunimah
"“Dir balak, Hammoudeh,” – “Be careful, Hammoudeh (a common nickname for Muhammad)” – these could be the words of any mother as her child leaves the house, to school or out into the street to play. “Dir balak” – words ingrained in me from childhood.
But in this video, they’re the words of a parent watching as a 15-year-old son is dragged off in the middle of the night by heavily-armed Israeli soldiers in full battle gear.
Adults shout at the soldiers, and even beg to be taken along as well, but ultimately they are powerless as their children are taken off coughing amid billowing clouds of tear gas.
One soldier in the video appears to be filming the raid with an iPhone. Perhaps he’ll proudly put it up on his Facebook page?
For Muhammad Ahmad Khalil Abu Hashem, 15, this is his second arrest, and according to Bekah Wolf, founder of the Palestine Solidarity Project which took the video, Muhammad’s older brother was arrested last week.
Their crime? Most likely it is simply that their father Ahmad Abu Hashem, is a member of the Popular Committee of Beit Ommar, and thus harassing his children – the occupiers believe – may be a way to punish or deter him from his work organizing nonviolent resistance against the ongoing theft of village lands.
Systematic campaign against children
This horrible, violent routine is repeated all over the Israeli-occupied West Bank, night after night, and especially in the village of Beit Ommar, where popular resistance to land theft by Israel has been met by the Israeli army with a systematic campaign of arrests and abuse of the village’s children.
Last night was no exception, as the text accompanying the video, taken by the Palestine Solidarity Project, explains, three children and an adult were taken....."