The father of 17-year-old Nadeem Nowarah, who was killed by an Israeli bullet during a protest organized in commemoration of the 66th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba, has offered the following letter to the international community:(PNN/AVAAZ) Last month an Israeli soldier’s bullet ripped through my son Nadeem’s chest and lodged into his school backpack. The security camera footage showing Nadeem, who was only 17, falling to the ground after he was shot plays endlessly in my head. Dozens of young Palestinians like my son have been killed in cold blood by Israeli soldiers, including his friend Muhammad, 16, who was shot dead on the same day. No parent should suffer as I am now. The culture of impunity for these killings must end, and together I believe we have the power to stop it.
The impunity of Israeli soldiers is an institutionalized injustice. Israeli forces have killed thousands of Palestinian civilians since the year 2000, but convicted only six soldiers for wrongdoing, and the toughest sentence imposed on any of them was 7.5 months in jail. The United Nations and dozens of human rights institutions have written countless reports urging Israel to investigate cases where excessive force is used and innocent civilians are killed, and yet nothing changes.
Sadly, Israel has shown that it is unwilling to take the necessary steps to stop these violent policies. But other countries have the power to shun Israeli commanders that cover up crimes committed by their troops. Many countries have laws that make anyone who ordered, turned a blind eye to or participated in acts of torture or extrajudicial killings ineligible for a visa.Israeli commanders have assets and business relations abroad, and many travel to Europe and the US. If we show them that criminal actions in Palestine affect their ability to travel outside of Israel, we can start to put an end to this tragic culture of impunity.
Unless we show Israeli soldiers that their actions will not go unnoticed, more innocent young men and women will be killed. Let’s build a massive petition to the EU council of Foreign Ministers and the US State Department to institute travel restrictions on specific Israeli commanders who have overseen criminal violence in Palestine. Their travel should be frozen until those responsible for extrajudicial killings and torture are held criminally accountable.
With determination and hope,