By Charles A. Radin and Sa’id Ghazali, July 24, 2004.
Note of Likud of Holland: Even if they kill each other, they want to blame
Israel and call the victim a ‘martyr’.
Palestinian militants yesterday opened fire on a Palestinian family whose
members were trying to keep the militants from firing rockets into Israel from
the family’s farm in the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, Gaza residents said.
Hassan Za’aneen, a 15-year-old boy, was killed, and three other family
members were wounded.
Later yesterday, militant leaders huddled with relatives of the slain boy,
according to witnesses, and persuaded the family to declare the boy a martyr in
the struggle against Israel. The shifting of the blame could lessen the possibility
of revenge and provide material benefits to the boy’s immediate family.
Za’aneen’s death — apparently the first to occur among Gaza civilians trying to
prevent other Palestinians from attacking Israel — raised tension in
already-chaotic Gaza, where the Palestinian Authority is in a state of collapse
and armed factions and militias are openly vying for power.
The Za’aneen clan, one of the largest in Gaza, initially refused to erect a
mourning tent to receive extended family and friends after the killing, a decision
understood by Palestinians to mean that revenge must be exacted before the
usual customs attending a death are observed. The reputed shooter also is from
a major clan.
Initially, leading Palestinian factions denied involvement in the shootings. After
the family’s intention to seek revenge was made known, faction representatives
met in Beit Hanoun and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is part of
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, and Islamic Jihad took
responsibility. But the groups asserted that the shootings occurred in the chaos
during a clash between themselves and Israeli special forces.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said that a Palestinian gunman opened fire
on an Israeli armored vehicle around the same time as the Za’aneen shooting,
and that Israeli troops returned fire but that there were no known casualties on
either side. A senior official of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service said
the Israelis had no involvement in the shootings at the Za’aneen home.
The mood surrounding the meeting between the boy’s clan and the militant
groups was extremely tense. Members of the family refused to talk with
journalists, and witnesses to the morning clash and to the negotiations insisted
that their names not be published out of concern for their safety.
Following the meeting, the black banners of Islamic Jihad and the yellow flags
of Al Aqsa Brigades were raised, and the two militant groups issued a
statement asserting: “Our mujahedeen have killed two Israeli soldiers during a
clash that took place in Beit Hanoun/Salah Eddin. A number of Zionists have
been wounded. During the clash, Hassan Jamil Za’aneen fell a martyr. A
number of civilians were wounded, including two of our mujahedeen.”
According to people at the scene, the clash began around midnight Thursday,
when three masked men approached the house of Mohammed al Za’aneen and
tried to set up a launcher to fire rockets into Israel. Za’aneen told them that the
last time rockets were fired from the family’s property, Israeli forces destroyed
the house, farm, and car and that the family did not want this to happen again.
The men left without incident, but returned yesterday morning with more
rocket-firing machinery and were confronted by a crowd of Za’aneen family
members, some of them armed. One of the militants, a well-known Beit Hanoun
resident, tossed a grenade, wounding Hassan in the head.
Relatives put him in a car and were setting out for the nearest hospital,
witnesses said, when the militants machine-gunned the car, killing Hassan with
a shot through the chest. A Bedouin woman walking nearby was also wounded.
A wide range of Palestinian officials in Gaza and the West Bank scoffed at
militants’ assertions that the shootings could be framed as part of the
Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. “Families in Beit Hanoun are
trying very hard to prevent any shooting and rocketing from their lands,” said
Jerusalem-based director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group,
whose field representatives investigated yesterday’s clash and previous, similar
events. “The question is how to prevent this without causing damage to
completely innocent people.
“People are getting more and more frustrated with this terrible intifadah,”
Eid said, using the Arabic term for the Palestinian-initiated battle that has
consumed the region the past four years.
As reported by the Palestinian Authority
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper), July,
24, 2004. Translation by Palestinian Media Watch.
Yesterday morning the 15 year old boy – Hassan Jamil Al-Zanin –
became a Shahid (Martyr) and three other residents were moderately injured…
when an Israeli tank opened fire from its machine guns at a group of residents
that were at the entrance to the Beit Hanun town in north Gaza.
Palestinian security sources noted that the Israeli tank fired at the residents’
homes… and led to the boy becoming a Shahid (Martyr) …
Eye witnesses from the town said that the boy Al-Zanin became a Shahid
when an Israeli tank opened fire at a group of residents while a group of the
resistance were hiding bombs in the path of Israeli tanks in the area.
Residents explained that a dispute broke out between some of the armed men
and people from the Al-Zanin family and as a result of the dispute near their
house the occupation fired heavily, which led to the boy’s becoming a Shahid.