“Your son’s life is over,” those were the exact words an Israeli military official used to inform the family of a slain Palestinian teen that their son was killed by a soldier at Giti Avishar junction near the illegal Ariel colony, in the occupied West Bank.
While a soldier, a British recruit in the Israeli occupation army, phoned her parents in London to tell them that, although she was present during the alleged attack, she was fine and not hurt, the army was calling the family of the murdered Palestinian teen, Atallah Mohammad Harb Rayyan, 17, informing them that their son was killed.
The Electronic Intifada said the soldier, identified as “L” by the Israeli army and media – said “I knocked him back with my weapon,” and that “he went back and forth between me and my commander, trying to stab us.”
It also quoted The Jerusalem Post identifying “L.” as a lone soldier from London in the Israeli army. The publication appears to name “L.” as Lian Harush in the caption of the main image in the article – the same picture of “L.” posted by the Israeli army.
This is how it is, a person who came all the way from London to become a soldier serving in the army that illegally occupies Palestine kills children, destroys homes and lands, needs to be always ready to shoot what is perceived as a “legitimate target,” and make sure they tell their families “they are fine.”
“Your son’s life is over,” this is what was said in a short, cold-hearted phone call by the army to Atallah’s family.
This is what it means to live under an illegal and criminal occupation, trigger-happy soldiers who are suspicious of every Palestinian and are willing to deliver fatal shots just because they did not like how a Palestinian looked, walked, or acted.
The soldiers are secured behind large concrete blocks, iron barriers, and even in fortified military towers, but are always ready to shoot first and even not ask questions later.
Attallah, from Qarawat Bani Hassan town, west of Salfit, was a high-school student who, just a day before he was killed, attended a technology exam, hoping to head to college to secure a better future, however, the occupation army had other plans it seems.
He is just one of the dozens of Palestinians executed by Israeli soldiers, and colonialist settlers, on military roadblocks in the West Bank between the years 2015 and 2021.
His fault? He crossed the road fast, trying to avoid being struck by passing cars in an area that has a busy intersection largely used by illegal colonialist settlers, three military posts, and a fortified tower, all in a square area that does not exceed 100 meters.
Attallah’s father, Mohammad Rayyan, works at a concrete and marble factory in Nablus city, and said that he would, from time to time, ask his son to help him when he can.
“I phoned him and asked him to drop by after he completes his final exam, I kept waiting, but he never showed up,” he said, “But instead, I received a phone call telling me he is dead.”
“Later on, dozens of soldiers invaded our town, before the army stormed and violently searched my home – they asked me about my son, his life, his hobbies, friends…” Mohammad added, “They then confiscated my son’s phone, some of his clothes and personal belongings, including school certificates, pictures, and his watches, and took measurements of our house, a move they do when they plan to demolish the property as an act of collective punishment.”
The teen’s grandmother said the family was planning a party once he graduates from high school. “But instead of a happy family gathering and a party, we started planning his funeral,” she stated.
— This feature story was written in Arabic by Yamin Nubani – WAFA News Agency and was translated and edited by the IMEMC