Yusef Aqel Sadik Srour: The fifth nonviolent protestor killed in Ni’lin

June 8, 2009

Yusef Akel Sadik Srour was killed when he was shot in the chest with a .22 caliber bullet—shot by a sniper during Ni’lin’s weekly, non-violent demonstrations against the Wall.  He died before they were able to reach the hospital in Ramallah. 

 According to Hindi Mesleh, a resident of Ni’lin who was at the protest, right before Yusef was shot “a 16 year-old boy was in front of him—he got shot and so he fell on the ground…when Yusef saw he was running to carry him to take him to the ambulance, but he could not reach him because while he was going there he got shot in the heart.”

 The boy was shot in the stomach and is currently in critical condition.  At the same demonstration, four other peaceful protestors were shot with live ammunition—one that was driving in his car.

 Yusef was married with 3 children, and his wife is pregnant. 

 Yusef attended the protests for over a year, and was always in the front.  He had been shot 13 times before with rubber bullets and once with a teargas canister.  He was also arrested by the Israelis twice for his participation in the protests. 

 Mesleh says the village will remember Yusef as a “very generous and nice guy.  He was well-known in the village and he was always smiling, he talked with everyone.  He was the kind of person that when you saw him in the street you would stop to talk with him.”

 Yusef is the fifth person to be killed at Ni’lin’s non-violent protests. 

 “For sure when the others were killed, the village was sad, but for Yusef they were more down…Yusef had a special and unique character, he was a happy guy.  His death is something that the people will feel…he will be missed for sure.  He was one of the strategic organizers of the protests.”

 Mesleh says that now “everyone is expecting to die, especially the kids” for their involvement in the demonstrations and that the “Israelis are targeting everyone who is involved in the protests.  They don’t want nonviolent protests to continue.”

 “I guess Israel is worried about these popular, nonviolent struggles that are taking place in Palestine…Israel does not want this kind of resistance to spread around Palestine.  Nonviolent resistance gets a lot of media and international attention, and it is something that Israel cannot argue against…it is not threatening the life of Israelis or Israeli soldiers.”

 “Its people with nothing in their hands—except a few kids with a few stones.  They are protesting the Wall; they want their voice to be heard.”

 Israel has consistently responded to Palestine’s nonviolent resistance with deadly force—in Ni’lin, Bil’in and the other villages that organize weekly, nonviolent protests against the Wall. 

 Mesleh says that “there should be local and international pressure on Israel to force it to stop using such heavy use of violence against nonviolent demonstrators.”

 Although Ni’lin mourns Yusef’s death, they will continue their struggle against the wall that has stolen over 50,000 dunams of their land in order to construct illegal Israeli settlements.


One comment

  1. Well-done article on a very difficult subject. It always helps to humanize a statistic. In this particular case, this article is something tangible that his family can take some comfort in.

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