Bassam Aramin has taken the major step of filing an Israeli court case seeking to reopen the police investigation into the death of his daughter (see my series on the subject) at the hands of the Israeli border police. Though eight eyewitnesses testified that the Border Police killed 10 year old Abir Aramin, and though another witness found an Israeli rubber bullet underneath her body, the investigation was closed for lack of evidence as happens with almost all such Arab killings. The Independent notes that Aramin has had two conversations with Border Police officials strongly suggestive of their direct involvement in her death:
Mr Aramin was at a meeting between representatives of the local school and Nissim Edri, a Border Police commander for outer Jerusalem on 20 March in which he says Mr Edri said, “the girl who died didn’t die from the fire of one of our forces in the envelope of Jerusalem. It was someone from another area because they didn’t understand the mentality and the agreements we have with the representatives of the school”. Mr Edri also reportedly added that outside forces would not come to Anata again.
While not legally conclusive, the remarks strongly suggest an assumption among at least some senior officers that she had been shot by border policemen.
Mr Aramin also says he had a heated conversation with the driver of the Jeep at the third reconstruction of the scene by police investigators. He says: “I said, ‘Why did you kill a 10-year-old?’. He said, ‘There was a demonstration’. I said there was no demonstration. He said, ‘Why would we shoot if there was no demonstration’. So they were admitting they fired.”
Here you have two separate instances in which a commander and the jeep driver admit the Border Police’s direct involvement in the incident though they of course do not admit culpability. The commander’s comment suggests that a rogue unit not under his command was responsible for the death. But my question is how could a commander not have control of all units operating in his territory? To fob responsibility onto some unknown third party seems too glib, too obvious.
The article note ironically that not only is Aramin a founder of Combatants for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian peace group composed of former warriors on both sides; he now also becomes eligible to join Parents Circle, another Israeli-Palestinian group composed of parents who have lost children in the conflict:
Mr Aramin, who began to think about the meaning of the Holocaust after seeing Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, says he is more determined than ever to keep up dialogue with Israelis, including the remarkable Israeli-Palestinian bereaved families group which he has joined since Abir’s death. The group includes the Jewish parents of suicide bombing victims. “We have to do all we can to protect the children in this conflict,” he says.
These are two ‘clubs’ I am sure he wishes he would never have become eligible to join.
Thanks to Hasan Bateson for first alerting me to this story.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.