On Tuesday, hundreds of mourners carried Habali's body through the streets for funeral prayers.Photos by Majdi Mohammed/AP
Israeli soldiers just shot and killed Muhammad Habali, a 22-year-old disabled man, as he walked home from work in Tulkarem, in the northern occupied West Bank, during a late-night raid on the neighborhood. After leaving his job at a coffee shop, Habali crossed a street where Israeli forces were attacking residents and local Palestinians were trying to defend their homes - or, in the words of the IDF, "a violent riot was instigated and dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks at IDF troops, (who) responded with riot dispersal means and later on with live fire." They shot Habali with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the groin before shooting him again in the head. According to his older brother Alaa Hussam - and video footage - "His back was towards the soldiers. He was walking away from them." Habali, who had difficulty speaking, lived with seven siblings and was "simple and quiet...always helping people."
The assault on Tulkarem was one of almost nightly raids by Israeli forces in occupied territories, usually between midnight and dawn, ostensibly to search for "wanted" Palestinians and potential attackers but largely to terrorize an already beleaguered people. Often illegally crossing into areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, the raids are catastrophically successful: According to Palestinian sources, in November alone the IDF killed 24 Palestinians (mostly in Gaza), arrested 260, including children, and issued 33 deportation orders. Thus have Israeli forces "repeatedly violated...international law by responding to stone-throwing protests by using excessive force," says Amnesty International, and the murder of innocents like Muhammad Habali is "nothing new." From Yousef Munayyer to the willfully incognizant CNN and others in U.S. media who cling to the illusion of Israel as "the holy of holies": "From the River to the Sea, Israel practices Apartheid. If you are more bothered by people calling for freedom and equality between the river and the sea than the actual horrific reality on the ground there, maybe the problem is with you."
— PRUF48 (@pruf48) December 4, 2018