A mother asked her son to go to the market to buy some stuff, and she said to him: “if some money is left you can keep it.” He went to the market to bring his mother what she asked for, and had a little money left. So he went to buy some candy for himself. He asked the salesman: “how much does this kind cost?” And the salesman said a price double what the kid had. The kid suggested that he would pay half of the cost today and the rest tomorrow, and the salesman agreed.
The boy took the candy and went out of the store, walking a few steps. But almost immediately he came back and said to the salesman: “listen – maybe I can’t pay you the rest tomorrow so take your stuff back.” The salesman said: “I don’t need the rest, I just donated the candies to you.” The kid shook his head and said: “but maybe I can’t do something for you in the future, so thank you but no.” And he left.

Later on, news was spread in Bethlehem area, people passed it from mouth to mouth: “A kid has been killed next to the Church of the Nativity.” Every person had different details, and the evil in the details, but they agreed on one simple point: that a child was killed, resting without peace.

How much is it important to know how the family got this news? How the mother received the shock? Is it important if he has other brothers and sisters or how big his family is? If he lives in a village or refugee camp or city? The facts tell what happened in one steely sentence: the eyes of this child will not see the next sunny day.

Bethlehem city lost this child: does the place hold an implication that means this child must die? Another innocent to the slaughter? If the place had another name or held another history, would it change the facts and tell another story?

Some people said that he was killed by receiving a bullet into his body. Some people gave more details about the kind of bullets that killed him and said: “it was a dumdum – a bullet prohibited internationally.” But in the end some soldiers shot this bullet for some reasons.

The soldier and the boy were in the same place, their fates abruptly colliding. We know that soldiers carry these killing weapons, and we know that the kids do not have any kind of weapon. He is a child; did the soldier recognize him as a child? Can he imagine that one of the other children that surround his target is his own son? And if he misses his target, would it bring harm to his child?

The soldier is surrounded by other soldiers who are protected and fortified, he is on a mission, and the military leaders take account of different risks that their soldiers are going to face during any mission. So maybe some kids will throw some stones at the fortified military jeeps that are designed to protect soldiers under hostile conditions. Or maybe they expect the kids to throw roses at the jeeps!

Maybe the soldier thought that his life was threatened while he watched the kids from this armored jeep. Maybe he is not a sadistic soldier who enjoys killing. Maybe they did not drill into him in the army the golden rule: “Shoot to kill and survive to kill”. The soldier did not know the boy – it was not a personal issue. So why is he dead? Is it just that mistakes can happen?

We can’t know exactly how many times this mistake has taken place. Is it one thousand and something, is it two thousand and something? Is this number related to the second Intifada? What about the other years of Occupation? How often during 40 years? Then when is it possible to say that this kid was killed by a colonial soldier – is this just when the child is killed by a bullet?

Should the human rights organizations ask the military leaders and commanders to recheck the military orders and procedures? Is it a political issue that disputing parties should negotiate to find a solution: to stop the killing of kids? Is it important to be balanced in power to stop killing each other’s children? Is it not enough to make them protected simply because they are children? Is it important to refresh the memory of people that kids are kids whatever their nationality. In spite of bitter feeling. We know that this child is not the first one that has been killed and that he will not be the last one on this bereaved earth, if the conscience of humanity does not wake up.

How much is it important to articulate the details when we lose a soul? Should everything be crystallized in incontrovertible reason before we can take a stand; or can’t the solution be just one phrase; end the Israeli Occupation.

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