***image2***The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza assault that investigates violations of human rights and international law committed in the context of the Israeli assault on Gaza in December 08/January 2009 will hear as well accounts of the repression meted out in the West Bank during this period.
As during any war and large scale assault conducted by Occupation forces, during the attack on Gaza â which alone killed over 1400 people â soldiers also brutally repressed any protests and acts of solidarity by Palestinians anywhere within their reach.
On the 28th of December, during a demonstration in Ni’lin in solidarity with Gaza, Border Police shot and killed two young men in Ni’lin. Arafat Khawaje, 22, was shot in the back and was killed instantly. 20-year-old Mohammed Khawaje was shot in the forehead. He was pronounced brain-dead on the evening of the 31st December.
A resident of Niâlin and a second eyewitness of these brutal murders have been invited to go to Geneva and give eyewitness testimony during the UN public hearings (most probably in the afternoon of 6 July 2009). They are part of the fact finding work of the Mission and will allow victims, survivors and witnesses to submit information and speak for themselves before representatives of the international community. The public hearings will be broadcasted on live television (among others, through al-Jazeera) and the video will also be subsequently uploaded and archived, normally within 2-4 days, onto a specially created webcast link on the OHCHR Fact Finding Mission webpage
The murder of the two young men is only part of a broader strategy comprised of a mixture of psychological warfare, threats, arrests and collective punishment which is coupled with injuries and killings of people in the villages that resist the Wall. The army has viciously tried to quell the popular resistance, killing 16 people â half of them children â since 2004. Over 1,500 people have been injured in the villages currently protesting. However, left without land, without jobs and without a future the struggle for our rights is our only option.
Even though these hearings will not bring justice for Mohammad and Arafat, at least Ni’lin has the chance to tell the world of these brutal murders. Five years after the International Court of Justice declared the Wall illegal and to be dismantled, the UN still has not taken any relevant action. They shall know that their inaction in front of the ongoing construction of the Apartheid Wall and Israeli crimes is being paid for by the lives of our people.
Mohammad and Arafat, you will NOT be forgotten and the world will know what happened to you! You and all those that were murdered will continue to live in our struggle!
Transcripts of the hearings will be subsequently published here.
The UN will publish a report on its findings in August/ September 2009. More info can be found on here.