After probe, father says son was executed
After IDF rules killing of two Palestinians shot dead near Nablus could have been avoided, residents of their village want to bring shooters to justice, 'They went looking for scrap iron to make a living and were shot point blank,' father says adding will take case to international courts if necessary
|Published:||04.07.10, 00:39 / Israel News|
Residents of the West Bank village of Awarta were not surprised by the findings of the IDF probe, which determined that the killing of Palestinian cousins Muhammad and Salah Qawariq by the army last month could have been prevented. Faisal Qawariq, the father of 18-and-a-half-year-old Muhammad says, "They were executed in cold blood at point blank," and says the two were completely innocent and had no intention of harming the soldiers.
The incident occurred some two weeks ago, when the two approached soldiers at a checkpoint near the West Bank village, and aroused the soldiers' suspicions. One of the soldiers, who felt threatened, opened fire at them, and they were killed.
It was initially believed that a terror attack had been foiled, and that the two planned to attack the soldiers with a pitchfork, but later, doubts were raised, and an investigation into the incident was launched.
At the end of the probe, it was concluded that the youths' death, as well as the death of two other Palestinians in the village of Iraq-Burin a day earlier, could have been avoided.
"I dropped everything and ran to the hospital in Nablus. No one was sure yet who had been killed, but they pointed to me at the hospital, and said, 'There is the father of the martyr' and started to embrace me'," the father Faisal recounts.
Salah (R) and Muhammad Qawariq (Photo: Ali Waked)
Holding in his hands an x-ray of his son Muhammad, he said, "My son and his cousin were executed in cold blood. Even the Israeli media that quoted military and pathologist reports said they were not in a stressed state when they were shot. They were two friends doing some farming and collecting aluminum and scrap iron to make a living."
Awarta residents say they will always remember the two as inseperable, from the first grade to graduation, and that even after completing high school the two continued to make a living together by collecting scrap metal.
"All they were caught with was scraps, and the bottle they allegedly used to threaten the soldiers with was a plastic water bottle, the same bottle they took with them every day to drink from," Faisal said.
"To say they threatened the soldiers is ridiculous. The whole village knows who these two children are – two quiet boys who were never detained and never threatened anyone."
'They said they would have better work'
While the father is convinced of his son and nephew's innocence he noted, "Even if they did threaten (the soldiers) – neutralize them, wound them but don't kill them. It wasn't even killing them – It was executing them." The father stressed that if necessary, he would take the matter up to international tribunals. "I hope that my son will be the last casualty but one needs to keep on persecuting whoever did this so that the Israelis would stop their bullying."
The father claims that a relative who witnessed the conversation said that the Coordination and Liaison Authority officer admitted that the army's version didn't seem credible. "What attack merits four entry chest wounds, numerable exit wounds and fully burned legs? They were shot with Dum-Dum bullets which explode inside the body," the father said.
Dalal, a grocery shop owner frequented by Muhammad and Salah said that the two were polite boys who used to stop at her shop to weigh the iron and aluminum they collected: "They would sell the iron they collected for six or seven shekels, and would share a bottle of juice that costs one shekel. You could tell they were polite boys."
She noted that the two visited the shop the day they were killed. "They said they believed they would have better work that day, but they never came back," she said.
The father Faisal could not hold back his tears, saying, "May God avenge whoever killed them. Even if whoever murdered our children will not be tried to the full extent of the law there is a God above and he will do it."