October 4, 2000
9:50 AM   Subscribe

A 12-year old Palestinian boy whose death in an Israeli-Palestinian gun battle shocked the world was killed by Israeli soldiers, a senior army commander confirmed today. The death of the boy, Mohammed Jamal Aldura, was captured by French television. The images of his terrifying last moments have come to symbolize the chaotic nature of the violent confrontations of the past few days. The death toll is at more than 50 now, almost all of them Palestinians.

Me and my wife both saw this on TV the other day.

Needless to say, it was very graphic and shocking. The poor boy was hiding behind his father who himself was behind only a small stone and trying to wave that he was unarmed and not a threat. He did this continuously for 15-20 seconds, and then all of a suddenly, there was a burst of gunfire, with 10-20 bullets hitting him, the boy, and all around them. The boy was dead, and the man was injured critically.

This to me, did not look like a random act of chaotic violence, but more of an act of murder.

This distressed my wife so much she started crying, the images were so shocking.

Thanks to Sudama for the link... I hadn't seen the story in the "press" which seems not to want to print the "other" side of the story.
posted by da5id (20 comments total)
Ack... Link didn't post :-(

Democracy Now!
posted by da5id at 9:55 AM on October 4, 2000

until recently a vast and unpopulated wasteland, nytimes.com's abuzz is now buzzing indeed...though mostly with propagandistic treatises. one posting actually celebrates the killing you refer to above, cheering "good news! one of osama bin laden's minions has been killed!" thankfully i can't find that link again, it was sickening.
posted by subpixel at 10:04 AM on October 4, 2000

I hadn't seen the story in the "press" which seems not to want to print the "other" side of the story.

Crap. If you heard about it, then somebody's talking about it, right? You saw it on television. Did you even look in the online news archives? CNN's got stories, AP, Agence France Press, Reuters, all the biggies.

posted by Mo Nickels at 10:11 AM on October 4, 2000

Yes, I saw it, as one of the last stories run on the evening world news. Those stories are there for a reason. A large majority of people don't have the attention span to watch 30 minutes of news, so they stick the least desirable stories at the end of the broadcast where they will cause the least amount of stir.

And yes, I looked online, and didn't find anything the day after this story ran on TV.
posted by da5id at 10:22 AM on October 4, 2000

No one ran it as a story on its own, but it was featured prominantly in a number of srtcles about the outbreak of violence and the death of 28 people the first day. I saw it in the NYTimes, Fox News Avantgo, and the Daily News.
posted by rich at 10:25 AM on October 4, 2000

And it was such a strong image to ensure it made the front page of the broadsheets here. There's something iconic about it: in fact, graffiti of the boy's face is (are?) appearing all over the occupied territories.
posted by holgate at 10:58 AM on October 4, 2000

One thing that makes me uncomfortable about this story is the number of protesters who involve their children in the effort. The 12-year-old boy who was killed was nicknamed Scamp for his past participation in rock-throwing protests. His mother is claiming that the boy and his father were sent away from the protests and going to buy a car when they were caught in a firefight. Why were they at the protests in the first place?

I think the incident is tragic and the Israeli soldiers should be held accountable, but one of the factors that has to be considered is the role that parents are playing by bringing young kids to the scene of protests that often become violent.
posted by rcade at 11:57 AM on October 4, 2000

And yes, I looked online, and didn't find anything the day after this story ran on TV.

You didn't look on CNN.Com. The story and photo were lead story on the site.
posted by rcade at 11:58 AM on October 4, 2000

I'm probably going to get a fearsome verbal lashing for saying this -

Yes, the kid died. Yes, he should not have been shot like he was.

But -

While I have big problems with the Israelis in this whole sorry mess, you must remember that the soldiers were doing their job on an individual level - how were they to know he was unarmed - he might have been carrying a gun, or a bomb or anything, that could have maimed or killed them.

It is possible they didn't even know he was so young. It does not appear that they decided to shoot just him.

Correct me if I am wrong. I will retract this if the soldiers set out to shoot the child, because he was a child.

Kids are used like this in political / paramilitary confrontations. It happens in the North of Ireland as well. You'll see kids of 12 and 13, of both sides running around, rioting with anything from rocks, to petrol bombs and sometimes pistols. Occasionally they'd be shot by British soldiers (thankfully, that has not happened in quite a few years).

It's one of the tragedies of human conflict. War is horrible.
posted by tomcosgrave at 12:25 PM on October 4, 2000

I'd bet that our US Military's recon missions overseas--all of them--target the entire families that threaten US interests at home and abroad. You couldn't make a better enemy than by letting some 12 year watch you gun down his parents and the militant relatives, friends, etc. Just my speculation. Personally, I try not to think about, or get excited about this whole topic of the injustices that go on in the world. It is generally, a totally futile expenditure of energy.
posted by greyscale at 7:25 PM on October 4, 2000

I try not to think about, or get excited about this whole topic of the injustices that go on in the world

Rock on, greyscale! That's why people like me have to work 2x as hard.
posted by sudama at 8:03 PM on October 4, 2000

I have read at least two or three articles about the death and one of them mentioned the boy's rock throwing in the past. Perhaps, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I think the more likely scenario is that he told his mother he was going car-buying and the part about protesting wasn't mentioned as he didn't want to worry his mother.I do think though if the soldier deliberately aimed at the boy then they should be punished. This BBC article gives the father's side of the story, and if true, is a horrid tale of what happenend. 45 minutes stuck in crossfire and then the soldiers firing on the ambulance that tried to rescue his son.However, I have to question what was the boy doing there in the first place. Parents should not place their children in a situation like this and this is why I think some blame should be laid with the parents.Another article on the BBC says it was widely publicised in the US and a still photo was on the front page of the NYT. (the photos are heart-wrenching)

posted by jay at 8:36 PM on October 4, 2000

sudama. if you lived in this area don't you think it would be a_ a bad time to buy a car b_ a bad time for a walk with your son c_ a bad time to be around soldiers with live ammunition d_ a good time to go on vacation in Tahiti. I suppose it could have been that he was going to buy a car to flee town for Tahiti, but reports suggest A) that this person was involved in militant unrest of sorts that predisposed him to negative attention from armed patrols, B) that he involved his children in his militant-esque activities and C) that at the time they were shot that they gave the appearance of participating in further militant behavior. why are you defending, or even concerning yourself with another person's problems? it doesn't seem very good judgement given that 1. we don't live there, 2. we don't have all of the facts, 3. we don't have any means of determining the facts, 4. if we could determine the facts, we don't make or decide the laws that would have any relevance in this situation. organisms die all the time. do we get excited about the amoeba we drink? do we get excited about the fetuses that are aborted (spontaneously or not)? if not, then why are you getting excited about this? it's misdirected attention if you think you're doing anyone a favor or benefit.
posted by greyscale at 8:35 PM on October 5, 2000

jesus fucking christ. it's NEVER ok to shoot a kid. what planet are you from? why do you think we have notions of human rights, war crimes, etc.? i quoted you dismissing any concern for the "whole topic of injustices ... in the world" and that's what i'm actively working against -- injustice in general. i said nothing and meant nothing about that palestinian father's lack of judgement and to what extent it contributed to his kid's death, but regardless it's NEVER ok to shoot a kid. get real.
posted by sudama at 8:35 AM on October 6, 2000

oh my god. oh my god. that is one of the ugliest images i have ever seen. i sat in front of my monitor and completely lost the good mood i started the day with.
greyscale, it is evident that you don't have kids of your own. you are obviously one cold motherfucker.
read this and you'll see we infact do have the means to learn all the facts. sudama is right. killing children is especially wrong. it doesn't matter much who's fault.
posted by daddyray at 4:49 PM on October 7, 2000

Greyscale did not shoot the kid, and he did not say it was okay to shoot the kid. We all agree you should not go around killing kids. If you think getting angry from thousands of miles away does any good, aim it at the people who did the shooting, and not the guy who thinks it's a waste of time. Or lobby the government to stop gifting money to Israel. Ever hear of Sisyphus?
posted by thirteen at 8:10 PM on October 7, 2000

that's exactly the problem thirteen, we're thousands of miles away. its real easy to sit here behind our monitors in our comfy western houses, and spew rhetoric about the responsibility of the parents blah blah blah and i agree with greyscales assertion we don't see the whole story to an extent. but "organisms die?". give your tuque a shake, thirteen, cold is cold.
pick up a rock and hurl it at an armoured soldier and then come back and thell me "organisms die". enough lies-blaaaaaaaaCk!
so there, now you've been told
posted by daddyray at 9:23 AM on October 8, 2000

sisyphus? never heard of 'im.
posted by daddyray at 9:24 AM on October 8, 2000

Kids get shot. Big deal. I don't see why, as a minor, I am any less deserving of getting killed than an adult.

Really, though, its unlikely that they were shot on purpose. Considering how often "own goals" occur in real wars, and the fact that IFFing is even harder in urban areas, the killing of some obviously innocent people really isn't surprising.

For those of you who blame this on the Israeli government... why? They've offered the best deal the Arabs could imagine, as far as the peace talks go... but the Egyptian government couldn't take yes for an answer. They've done everything they could to prevent this from happening again, but I guess they'll just have to go through another round before they all wise up. How many major wars did it take Europe to settle down?

On an even more sadistic note, the United States can't stop funding Israel. Spheres of influence, my friend. Spheres of influence.
posted by Ptrin at 3:00 PM on October 10, 2000

palestinian hospitals are reporting that the vast majority of gunshots coming in are wounds to the chest, neck and head. the Israeli sharpshooters are being told to shoot to kill, make no mistake.
posted by sudama at 11:01 PM on October 10, 2000

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