Israeli soldier shoots Harun Abu ‘Aram (24) during attempt to confiscate generator and gravely injures him, Khirbet a-Rakeez, 1 Jan. 2021
On Friday, 1 January 2021, at around 2:00 P.M., several soldiers, and a Civil Administration officer came to the community of Khirbet a-Rakeez in the South Hebron Hills in order to confiscate a generator and work tools from resident Ashraf al-'Amur (38). They entered into an argument with al-‘Amur and several of his neighbors who arrived at the scene, during which the residents tried to take back the generator. The soldiers pushed them, and one soldier forcefully grabbed community resident Harun Abu 'Aram, who turned 24 that day, by the neck. About 30 seconds later, a soldier fired two bullets, one of which hit Abu 'Aram in the neck. His father, Rasmi Abu 'Aram, tried to take him to hospital in a private car driven by al-‘Amur. Yet when al-'Amur reversed the car, a soldier shot at its tires, and the two men had to transfer the injured Abu 'Aram to another vehicle to get him away. Following the shooting, dozens of residents of the community and from the neighboring village of a-Tuwani arrived. The soldiers fired about 20 rounds in the air to keep them at bay and then left, leaving behind some of the equipment they had come to confiscate. Abu 'Aram is currently in hospital and ventilated, and may remain fully paralyzed.
Abu 'Aram's shooting must be viewed in the context of Israel's continued disregard for the lives and property of Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, and its ongoing attempt to expel the residents of Masafer Yatta, in general, and the residents of Firing Zone 918 in particular. Khirbet a-Rakeez, part of which lies within the firing zone, is home to nine families numbering 35 people, including 19 minors. In the past year alone, Israel demolished seven residential structures in the community, which were home to 30 people, 14 of them minors, as well as a non-residential structure. Israel has condemned the Palestinians who live within this firing zone to a rudimentary existence: it prohibits any construction, denies them the option to connect to power and water grids, and is quick to demolish any structure or other connection to power and water sources they initiate for lack of choice. The community is also exposed to violence by area settlers, fully backed by the state. This policy, which creates an unbearable living environment, is aimed at driving the residents leave their homes — as though of their own accord — in order to make it easier for Israel to take over their land.