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Middle EastNews

The Thirteenth Bullet: A Day in the Life of a Palestinian

“They killed my boy, and then they wouldn’t even let me bury him. That is my most basic right as a father, and they took that from me too.”

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“They killed my boy, and then they wouldn’t even let me bury him. That is my most basic right as a father, and they took that from me too.”

For 7 years, Moayyad Al Alami and his wife struggled to get pregnant. Upon the birth of little Mohammed Al Alami, Moyyad always called Mohammed his miracle, his dream come true. 12 years later, Moayyad was blessed with 2 more kids: Anan and Ahmed. 

One fateful day, Moayyad takes his Renault white van and his kids for a routine grocery store trip. On their way back, Mohammed reminded his father of a small detail, “Dad, you forgot something.” Puzzled, Moyyad asks, “What did I forget?” Mohammed’s face lit up with a mischievous grin as he replied, “Snacks.” A hint of a smile crept onto his father’s lips. Moyyad couldn’t resist his son’s plea for snacks, so he put the car in reverse to head back to the store. 

In just a minute’s time, 12 bullets rain down on the van. Moyyad screamed at his kids to lower their heads and kept driving quickly to escape. When they finally reached home, Moyyad’s brother rushed to the scene, having heard the shooting and witnessed the bullets. Moayyad opened his trunk to reassure Mohammed and his kids that they were safe, saying, “The soldiers are gone, you can get up. You can get up now.” 

 But Mohammed still lies in his 8-year-old sister’s lap, and his sister, in shock and cradling his head, pointed at the pool of blood surrounding him. Five-year-old Ahmed was curled up on the car’s floor, sobbing. They found that five bullets nestled in Mohammed’s small body. 

A bystander, 26-year-old Sleibi, was horrified to find the family’s groceries still lying in the backseat, covered in Mohammed’s blood. 

Later, during the funeral procession, more bullets rained. Moyyad’s voice quivered as he spoke, “They killed my boy, and then they wouldn’t even let me bury him,” he said. “That is my most basic right as a father, and they took that from me too.” His sister and brother were still in shock. 

This heartbreaking incident is but one example of the grim reality faced by countless Palestinian families today. Such violence traumatizes Palestinian children, leaving scars that have profound effects on their lives and mental health.

Amnesty International says that many Palestinians are ‘systematically tortured’ in Palestine. To illustrate a sense of the minds that drive this violence, the first Israeli Prime Minister was asked ‘What shall we do with the Palestinians?” With a dismissive gesture of the hand, he said ‘Expel them’. The order to expel the population ‘without attention to age’ and ‘women and children as well’ is both horrifying and unacceptable. Since then, over 2000 children have been killed by Israeli forces.

As we reflect on the story of Moayyad Al Alami and his beloved son Mohammed, we must remember that this is not an isolated incident. It is a stark reminder of the ongoing atrocities in Palestine that have taken a heavy toll on innocent lives.

Change has become inevitable. It is our collective responsibility to stand up against injustice, advocate for peace, and work towards a future where children like Mohammed can grow up in a world free from fear and violence. 

That day, it was 12 bullets. Are we waiting for the 13th?

To learn more about Mohammed’s story, you can read the full article here.


References

Amnesty: Israel: Torture still used systematically as Israel presents its report to the Committee Against Torture 

Defense for Children International Palestine: Distribution of Palestinian Child Fatalities by Month

The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited

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