Dhisheh, West Bank — Palestinian tradition dictates. That only men carry the dead to their graves. Still, a distraught Suhad Khamur clutched the handle. A black platform carrying the body of his youngest child.
For a few moments, he led the funeral procession for Amr, 14. Who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli bullets during a raid on the Dhesheh refugee camp. Around him, mourners packed the streets inside camps in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, south of Bethlehem.
“She used to be my right hand,” Khamor later told NBC News.
As she sat surrounded by women offering prayers. And condolences in the family’s backyard last Tuesday. The 48-year-old grieving mother of four wore a necklace with Amr’s picture.
“I depended on him for everything,” he said of the boy who loved Levantine folk dance, football and dancing the dab.
Around Khamur, small and large posters from various Palestinian organizations. And institutions proclaim Amr as a martyr. At least one carrying the red. And white insignia of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, designated. A terrorist group by the United States, called on Palestinians to “not die without a shower of bullets.”
Amr’s death is the latest in a growing wave of violence in the region. Last year, 146 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The largest number since 2004 during a period of intense violence known. As the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising. According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
Last year, 5 women and 34 children were killed.
Five Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli civilians, according to the B’Teselem report. Which was based on an independent investigation that included testimony. And evidence collected by field workers, footage, media and social media.
In 2022, 29 people were killed by Palestinians in Israel. East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry. 23 civilians — including a child — and six members of Israel’s security forces died.
The return of Benjamin Netanyahu as head of Israel’s most right-wing government is raising fears that the violence will worsen.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 18 Palestinians – both civilians and combatants – have died so far this year. Amr is among four Palestinian children killed this month.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said Amr died on January 16 during. A violent riot”, in which several people allegedly threw stones, explosives and Molotov cocktails. Security forces responded with live fire and other tactics. It said, although it did not confirm that an Israeli bullet killed the teenager.
A State Department spokesman said on Monday that officials were “concerned.
By the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank” and had followed the recent violence .
“This year has seen a sharp and alarming increase in Palestinian deaths. And injuries, including many children,” they said. “Urgent steps should be taken to reduce further casualties and tensions in the West Bank.”
Tor Wensland, the UN envoy for peace in the Middle East, also warned of continued violence. Which comes amid political tensions and a stalled peace process.
“I am particularly appalled that children are being subjected to violence. Children should never be the target of violence or harm,” he said on Wednesday.
Israel has accused the Palestinians and some international organizations such. As the United Nations of exaggerating Palestinian casualties. And underreporting and discriminating against Israeli victims. “This was the year with the most terrorist attacks against Israelis in a decade. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan said in New York on Wednesday, referring to 2022.
Khamur arrived at the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation. A local non-governmental organization that provides medical care. Where his son was taken after the Israeli raid. He’s worried but still hopeful — according to the refugee camp grapevine. Amr was shot in the shoulder during a clash with soldiers.
But then, Khamur sees a “red sea” and blood gushing from Amr’s nose. He knew his son was dying.
“I told him I still needed him. I asked him to come home with me and we still have a lot of work to do,” she said. “But he continued to bleed.”
Amar died soon after.
Amr’s parents deny that their son threw Molotov cocktails or was involved in clashes with Israeli forces. Although Dhesheh is under full Palestinian control. Israeli security forces conduct infiltrations and arrests inside the camp. Which has a population of about 15,000.
In a statement shared on Twitter, the British Consulate in Jerusalem called. On Israeli authorities to conduct a “swift and transparent investigation” into the shooting of the teenager. The IDF also said it was investigating the circumstances surrounding Amr’s killing.
Following a series of attacks targeting Israelis last year. And heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. The Israeli military has been conducting frequent raids on Palestinian towns and cities.
The violence comes amid tensions over the Palestinians’ long campaign for an independent state in the West Bank. Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, which were seized by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. While most of the world views the West Bank as occupied, Israel considers it disputed territory. And has built dozens of settlements that are now home to some 500,000 Jewish settlers. Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem is also not recognized by most countries.
Meanwhile, Amr’s father, Khaled Khamur, is worried about his remaining three children.
“We hear gunshots every day,” he said. “We don’t have security here.”
Khaled Khamur added, “I was a prisoner and I don’t want my children to suffer like I did.” “Our children have a right to a normal life.”
Lawahez Jabari reports from Dhisheh, Paul Goldman from Tel Aviv and Ayana Khan from London.