Umar, 14 years old, is the nephew of Mahmoud who owns a minimarket in the refugee camp.
On the night of Al-Qadr, at the end of Ramadan last year, another of Mahmoud’s nephews, aged 17, was murdered by soldiers who fired live ammunition at Palestinians protesting the army’s terrorism against the civilian population during the Shuvu Ahim operation and the Gaza war. The military spokesman announced the IDF had opened an investigation. Perhaps it hasn’t been completed, perhaps it will never be completed and perhaps the IDF will cover its ass in this incident as it has in others before and after it.
Mahmoud showed us a photo of his murdered nephew and said he was studying in Ramallah to be a cook. But he won’t become a cook. Nor will he become 18. He’s one of many children and youths for whom time has stopped.
I hope I’ll see Umar again next year, and the year after, and the years that follow, hope that this Umar, and all the other Umars, will be able to live out their lives.
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A sign posted on the checkpoint entrance says that from June 15 vehicles will no longer be permitted to park in the parking lot. They’re preparing to “sterilize” the area for the Fridays during Ramadan.
Some of the questions the taxi drivers ask:
- What will we do?
- How can we make a living under these conditions?
- Why are they closing it down even before Ramadan?
- Where will we leave our cars?
But they have no one who’ll listen to them, and they certainly have no one who’ll respond.