Actions in Chicago, San Francisco, Remember Murdered Beit Ommar Youth

10 March 2011

Thursday, March 10th, 2011, 7am: Responding to an international call to action, Palestinian solidarity activists in Chicago renamed street signs on downtown street corners commemorating a Palestinian youth killed two years ago by the Israeli military. The activists used ladders just as morning rush hour commuters were starting to arrive in Chicago’s loop, and replaced street signs that read “Honorary Ben Gurion Way” with “Honorary Mehdi Abu Ayyash Way.”

According to the activists, David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, was responsible for drafting policy which intentionally drove Palestinians from their homes and disallowed them from returning. The activists also gave out flyers to pedestrians explaining why they were doing the action, and information about the thousands of unarmed Palestinian civilians murdered by the Israeli occupation.

The activists in Chicago responded to an international call to action to remember murdered Palestinian youth from the Palestine Solidarity Project, a Palestinian-led organization in Beit Ommar village in the southern West Bank which organizes unarmed resistance to the Israeli occupation.

Mehdi Abu Ayyash, aged 17, from Beit Ommar, was shot in the head by Israeli Forces on March 4th, 2009 and died of his injuries several months later. A second youth from the same village, Yousef Ikhlyal, aged 17, was shot in the head by rampaging Israeli settlers on January 28th, 2011.

On Wednesday afternoon, activists in San Francisco unfurled a large banner over the highway reading, “Justice for Mehdi Abu Ayyash,” as part of the international events planned. More actions are expected to take place in the coming weeks in different locations around the world.

Hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers reside in the West Bank, a fact deemed illegal by International Law. These settlements are built on land stolen from Palestinians and settlers often harass and even murder Palestinian residents with impunity. To date, none of the soldiers responsible for killing Mehdi Abu Ayyash, nor the settlers responsible for killing Yousef Ikhlyal, have been brought to justice by the State of Israel.