On Friday afternoon, when Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition from the other side of the fence, Yaser Abu al-Naja and a few friends took cover behind a garbage container from the front line of a protest in the Gaza Strip
As Yaser peered out from behind the bin, an explosive bullet hit him in the head. His skull was shattered, leading to bloody porridge on one side, eyewitnesses said.
Yaser was 11 years old.
His death on Friday made him the 16th Palestinian child to be shot dead by Israeli forces since the launch on March 30 of the protest against the Great March of Return, which restores the right of refugees and their descendants to return to the country Houses and countries demand, from which they were evicted 1
A few hours later, at sunset, Yasher's mother Samah Abu al-Naja was flipping through Facebook on her cell phone when she came across a photo of an "unknown boy" with hazy and bloodstained clothes.
"His face did not show, but I recognized him as my son from the clothes he was wearing," said 30-year-old Al Jazeera from her home east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
"My neighbor and one of my daughters were sitting with me," she added. I turned to her with the phone in my hand and said, "This is my son."
For Samah, the horror of certainty immediately gave way to a sense of shock. When the young mother went to the European Hospital where Yaser's body was being held, she struggled to remember that her first-born child had been shot.
"I never expected my son to be killed." she cried. "I knew he went out every Friday to attend the protests, but he was driven by curiosity and usually went to other demonstrators with his group of friends."
& # 39; Ray of sunlight & # 39;
Yaser was born in 2006, a year before the Israeli-Egyptian blockade was imposed in the Gaza Strip.
He grew up with three Israeli offensives that devastated the Hamas-led enclave. His family's home was destroyed twice during his short lifetime – once in 2011 and again in 2014 – leaving him and relatives to temporarily seek refuge with other families.
Those who knew Yaser whose funeral took place on Saturday described him as a well behaved, obedient and cunning boy who practices sports and ranks swimming, riding and football among his favorite hobbies.
The night before he was killed, he watched the World Cup with his friends.
"He would help take care of his younger siblings," said his mother. "He was very sociable and loved playing outside with his friends."
The first boy in the family, Yaser's birth, was a great source of happiness for his parents and his father's first wife, Naeema.
Naeema had nine girls before she suggested to her husband, Amjad Abu al-Najar, over a decade ago to marry a younger woman to receive a coveted male heir.
When Yaser was born, the 48-year-old was the old treated him as her own son.
|Relatives of the 11-year-old mourn at his funeral in Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip [Khalil Hamra/The Associated Press]|
"He was always in my house like a sunbeam," Naeema said. "His sisters, my daughters, were very attached to him and loved him very much, we are heartbroken over his death."
Naeema said Yaser's killing was personal to return to his father, who is a man leader of the military wing of the Hamas Al Qassam Brigades
"The Israelis understand only one language", she said. "Whether it's armed resistance or unarmed protests, their reaction is always to kill."
Samah agreed. "A bullet in the head? That was intentional," she mumbled.
Nearby, his father's face, Amjad, was a shocked image, although he told Al Jazeera that his son was no different from the other Palestinian children being attacked by Israeli forces.
"The way he was shot … I can never forget his fragmented skull," he said. "Targeting civilians by Israeli soldiers is a mass violation, but they only become bolder with each subsequent Friday protest."
In a statement issued on Friday, the Israeli army said soldiers reacted with "riot gear" and "resorted to live fire" when it failed.
The statement added that it would investigate Yaser's death and that legal action could be taken if necessary.
Protests against a "national achievement"
Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, told Al Jazeera that the age of 16 children killed between Friday protests is between 10 and 17 years old.
"The number of wounded children is 2,250, including two cases that their legs had to have amputated," he said.
On Friday's protest 24-year-old Muhammad al-Hamaydeh of Rafah was also killed. At least 415 were injured, including three physicians and 11 children.
"A total of 134 Palestinians have been killed and 15,200 injured since March 30," al-Qidra said.
The idea of a popular, unarmed protest movement in the areas east of the Gaza Strip was designed by Ahmad Abu Artema, and was enthusiastically received by a majority of people in all walks of life, including political parties.
Five camps were set up by the Israeli fence along the strip, symbolizing the right of return for many Palestinians in Gaza. At least 70 percent are refugees whose grandparents were forced out of the country a few miles from the fence.
|Thousands participated in the funeral of Yaser Abu al-Naja on Saturday [Anadolu]|
But after almost four months of weekly protests on Friday, the number of participants has dropped and Israel has shown no inclination to improve the situation, by loosening the screws of the paralyzing blockade – let alone picking it up completely.
"I do not measure the success of the protests by the number of participants," said Abu Artema to Al Jazeera.
"Of course the numbers are now lower than at the beginning, but the result is that this has become a crystallized reality in which people now think of Fridays Day of protests, as the weekly People's confrontation with the Israeli occupation."
Abu Artema admitted that in recent weeks, especially after May 14, when 62 people were killed, the number of protesters had decreased. 19659004] "The protest organizing committee began reviewing the movement in its current state and form, which had begun to take on a different face that made many people dissatisfied, such as keeping away the factional influence and returning it popular property, "he said.
Abu Artema said the movement must be strengthened by "diversifying its popular activities".
"We must evaluate the protest movement in a way that can compete with the public and the world. Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…=view&id=167 The silence of the international community Israel encourages to continue to fence thousands of people, "he said.
The general principle is that the protests must continue, he added.
After 14 Fridays, the protests are a national achievement and have taken an unprecedented path towards unarmed resistance, "he said.
Not the last child to be killed
For Samah, who still supports the movement "The protests allowed people to claim their basic rights."
"But the Israeli reaction had led to death, amputations, and serious injuries," she said.
"We've suffered massive losses, such as the loss of a parent or the loss of a child. It's hard for me to endure this loss now that I've experienced it … it's devastating. "
" Yaser will not be the last child killed, "Naeema added. Every Friday there is a new story about a child or a young woman or a young man who was killed. "
" All this does not serve Israelis as a deterrent, "she said.
" This in turn encourages people in Gaza to demonstrate and stand up to the injustices of their reality in these weekly protests. "