On Saturday, 28 July 2021, at around 3:00 P.M., Muayad Abu Sarah (al-‘Alami), a 37-year-old resident of Beit Ummar in Hebron District, drove to the entrance to the village with three of his sons. Two of them – Muhammad (11) and ‘Anan (9) – were in the back seat of the car and Ahmad (5) was sitting in front. The father noticed soldiers by the military post and drove backwards. After driving about 30 meters, he turned around, and then the soldiers opened fire at the car.
In two segments of video footage published by B’Tselem, the car is seen approaching the post and then slowing down and driving backwards. Then, for no apparent reason, soldiers standing by the post are seen running towards the car and opening a massive volley of fire at the passengers: the father and his three children, Ahmad (5), ‘Anan (9), and Muhammad (11).
The video includes footage from two security cameras: on the right, a smartphone documentation from one camera (whose original footage the military seized after the incident); on the left, footage from another angle including sound, in which the shots are heard. The clocks on the two security cameras show an hour’s gap as they were not synchronized: one was set to daylight saving time and the other was not.
The choice to open fire at the car, in the heart of a populated residential area, was unjustified, as none of the passengers posed a risk — to the soldiers or to any other person. The explanation offered by the military, that the soldiers fired at the car after suspecting the passengers had buried a dead baby – has absolutely no bearing upon the shooting.
This heinous killing of an 11-year-old boy demonstrates, yet again, how low the value of Palestinians’ lives is in the eyes of the soldiers, their commanders and the policymakers – who are responsible for the military’s lethal open-fire policy. The official statement than a Military Police investigation has been launched is merely a means of silencing criticism, and this kind of investigation is the first step towards whitewashing the incident.