Update: Another Brother of Murdered Teen Arrested as One Teen Released in Beit Ommar
The recent Army arrests of five young men in Beit Ommar have re-infected festering wounds among the families of the village. For the Abu Ayyesh family the arrests of two sons Mohammed, 24, and Thaer, 19, come on top of the October death of their brother Mehdi, 17. In March 2009, Mahdi was shot in the head from less than 20 metres while shopping for a falafel sandwich during an Israeli army incursion. The army is reported to have delayed calling for medical help and then set up a checkpoint to further prevent the ambulance from reaching critically injured Mehdi. 27 pieces of metal were discovered in Mehdi’s head and he died without regaining consciousness in October, 2009. Due to the nature of the shooting, Mehdi’s family has acquired legal assistance and is involved in court proceedings against the Israeli army.
Thursday, Dec 3 at 3am the Israeli Army entered the family’s life yet again when masked soldiers invaded the home and subsequently searched for two hours, violated the Koran, stole Mehdi’s picture from the wall and arrested Mohammed who had constantly stayed by his brother’s bedside for 5 months.
The following night the Army returned and arrested Thaer. Because Thaer was an eye witness to his brother’s murder there are suspicions that his arrest is an effort to prevent his participation in the court procedures. Because no charges have been filed in either arrest one might also conclude that the Army’s actions against the family represent similar harassment to discourage the family from further legal proceedings.
As of December 8, 2009, Yousef Abu Maria,17, and his family are enjoying a happier outcome since his release several hours ago. Like the other Beit Ommar homes, the Abu Maria home was invaded twice by the military Thursday and Friday nights when approximately 30 soldiers woke up each family member at gunpoint. After frightening the children and ransacking the home the soldiers took Yousef. ( Yousef had been arrested and held for two months without charge when he was 13 years old.) He said that his first request after his release was for his father, Ahmed who is a member of Palestine Solidarity Project. Both father and son celebrate the family reunion but remain concerned and saddened by the continued arrest without charge of the 4 remaining Beit Ommar youths.