Mahmoud Shawa, 19, was shot just below the knee by an Israeli soldier during a non-violent demonstration against the Israeli-imposed ‘buffer zone’ near Nahal Oz border crossing. He arrived at Shifa Hospital bleeding heavily.
The bullet, entering and exiting just below Shawa’s left knee was clearly intended for his kneecap, paralleling the injuries of two of four demonstrators shot by Israeli soldiers on March 30 in two separate Land Day demonstrations. One year earlier, Wafa An Najar, 17, was ‘kneecapped’ as she and her family returned to the site of their home, destroyed during the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008-2009. As Wafa stood roughly 800 metres from the border in Khoza’a, southeast of Khan Younis, an Israeli soldier targeted her, hitting her exactly in the kneecap.
Shawa, like those injured on March 30, says he will return to the demonstrations when he can walk again.
“I came because we are protesting this buffer zone,” he said.
The teen is representative of the youths who demonstrate alongside women and men: fearless, ready to defy Israel’s attempt to annex Palestinian land, and human.
“He had his university books with him,” said Shawa’s friend. “He came from university to the demonstration.”
Shawa is studying information technology.
The demonstration today was in keeping with the non-violent demonstrations protesting the Israeli-imposed ‘buffer zone’, a restriction which extends far beyond the 300 metres Israelis say is off-limits. The Israeli soldiers’ shooting was in keeping the Israeli army’s policy of targeting visibly unarmed civilians, acts later to be whitewashed under the pretext of ‘security’.