In January 2007, steps from her East Jerusalem school, the life of 10 year old Abir Aramin was snuffed out by an Israeli border police grenade or bullet fired at her at close range as she was running away from the shooter. The projectile tore off part of her head as it killed her. This was not a random incident as the police had a history of driving their vehicles through the village provoking the schoolchildren with harsh insults to throw rocks at them. Upon being assaulted, the police, in a game of cat and mouse, escalated their response up to and including firing grenades and rubber bullets at unarmed children. Despite the fact that the Israeli NGO Yesh Din documented 14 eyewitnesses to this murder and an independent autopsy verified the conditions of her death, the attorney general closed the case for “lack of evidence.” The Israeli Supreme Court, supposed bastion of human rights according to Zionist liberals, turned down a request only last month to reopen the case. No one has been disciplined or punished for this heinous act.
Abir just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong place which, come to think of it may describe most Palestinian children suffering under the Occupation. According to B’Tselem, over 1,000 Palestinian children have been killed since 2000 and only one perpetrator has been brought to justice.
This little girl was different from the myriad of others attacked by Israeli troops. Her father, Bassam, helped found the seminal anti-Occupation group, Combatants for Peace. It is an Israeli-Palestinian human rights NGO composed of former IDF officers and Palestinian fighters who’ve renounced violence and embraced non-violent resistance to end the Occupation. For this reason, Bassam’s loss was especially poignant for the millions of us in Israel and throughout the world who embraced this perspective for ending the conflict.
The Rebuilding Alliance devised a project to memorialize Abir, a garden at her school where she was killed. Here is how her grieving father described the project:
“I lost my heart, my child,” said Bassam Aramin, “We are here to tell Abir’s story, build the Abir’s Garden Project to give her classmates a safe place to play and to heal, and prove to our societies and the world that it is possible to break the cycle of violence through justice.”
You have an opportunity to strike a blow for Abir and against the Occupation by making a gift to this project which will be matched by a 30% match from Global Giving. But you must make your gift before December 1st to get the match. In this holiday season of thankgiving, let us do what we can to promote healing and improve the quality of life for the children of Palestine.