Ever since the Awadallah brothers were buried and the kids -being young ones and sometimes grown men – of the town started coming to the settlement nearby to yell a few slogans and throw a few rocks that go only as far as the doorstep of the third out of five houses leading up to the gate of the illegal settlement, a disturbing thought formed in the back of my head.
Someone would one day get shot, and if he died, he would be named as the first martyr to die in front of the clashes of this settlement.
That day came when Mohammad AlQutri, 19, was killed last Friday, August 8th.
It was a regular Friday afternoon, and from my house, I could hear whistling and some shouting. Like every weekend and every Ramadan night. I went out of the house before any clashes began.
I made a quick stop at the supermarket, and the news channel headline delivered the news that Mohammad AlQurti from al-‘Amari refugee camp was killed in front of the illegal Israeli settlement. I called my aunt who was in the neighborhood at the time, who was sobbing, and she confirmed the news. Everything’s calm now.
The fact that he was from al-‘Amari refugee camp made me wonder if he was friends with my cousins and siblings who always mention someone from there. He was.
Mohammad was shot – some say in the stomach, some say in the head – and he was bleeding but not yet dead. The IOF took him, not allowing any Palestinian paramedics to reach him. By the time any paramedic took a look at him, Mohammad had already become the first martyr to be killed in front of the settlement and one to die in anger for Gaza, they’d write on a poster of him. See this for more information of the torture and beating that went on: http://electronicintifada.net/content/football-fan-slain-israel-predicted-he-would-be-next-martyr/13755
The next day, after Mohammad’s janazza, youth came out and the clashes began. From my house, I couldn’t see the people but I saw the soldiers. They were around five in full uniform and weapons on their shoulders. They would point them at the resistors who held nothing but shirts to cover their faces from the teargas and stones in their hands.
Teargas canisters, sound bombs, sirens, and the smoke of flaming tires filled the neighborhood for a good five hours. They filled the neighborhood where the evening before Mohammad had been killed.
Eventually, the empty canisters rolled down the streets. The ambulances had left. The smoke of flaming tires had died out. Even the burning grapes leaves in that one house where the soldiers were firing from went from green, to fire orange, to black.
Everything is calm.
But not so in Gaza. 35 days and going. Rockets, bullets, ambulances, packed hospitals, schools and morgues, and black skies are still there. The grapes leave probably went black a long time ago.