Intifada on the West Bank from Robin Westenra on Vimeo.
Ibrahim Abu Thuraya: Disabled Palestinian activist shot dead by Israeli troops in Jerusalem protestOutrage after double amputee among of eight Palestinians killed since Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital
17 December, 2017
A Palestinian activist who lost his legs in an air strike has been shot dead by Israeli troops as he protested against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Wheelchair-bound Ibraheem Abu Thuraya, 29, was one of four Palestinians killed during Friday’s violent clashes, according to officials. Witnesses said he was unarmed.
The Palestinian Authority’s health ministry said Mr Thuraya was shot just east of Gaza City, with the Israeli army saying it opened fire on the “main instigators” of violent protests at the Gaza border. A 31-year-old, Yasser Sokhar, was killed in the same clash.
The violent protests followed the decision by Donald Trump earlier this month to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Another 82 Palestinians were injured, five of them seriously, in clashes along Gaza’s border with Israel, the health ministry said.
Mr Thuraya had lost his legs and a kidney in an air strike, according to local reports, and was regularly seen with other Palestinian activists at protests.
“He was injured in 2008 by an Israeli helicopter that targeted him after he brought down the Israeli flag and raised the Palestinian flag along the border,” his brother Samir told AFP .
“It did not stop him from demonstrating for Jerusalem. He went alone every day to the border.”
He is understood to have washed cars for a living and told Shehab News in 2016 he hoped one day he could go abroad to get prosthetic legs. The group Irish Friends of Palestine helped raise money for his motorised scooter, according to its website.
In video footage apparently recorded shortly before his death, Mr Thuraya can be seen carrying the Palestinian flag and waving the victory sign at Israeli soldiers.
In another video, he is heard saying: “This land is our land. We are not going to give up. America has to withdraw the declaration it has made.”
Tear gas was reportedly used against the protesters and at some point Mr Thuraya abandoned his wheelchair, crawling through the grass before he was shot.
His funeral took place on Saturday, The Guardian reported.
Photos and videos showing Mr Thuraya being pushed in his wheelchair shortly before his death have been widely shared on social media.
Nasser Atta, a Jerusalem-based journalist, said on Twitter the death of the Gaza amputee “will be the beginning of the start of a third intifada, they compare him to Mohammed al-Dura killed during the Second Intifada”.
Mohammed al-Dura was a 12-year-old boy killed by Israeli forces during rioting on the Gaza Strip in 2000, prompting worldwide condemnation and violent retribution.
According to the Middle East Eye, Mr Thuraya was known for climbing electricity poles and holding up Palestinian flags during protests.
He told the Irish Friends of Palestine: “Please never look at my disabled body, look at the great job I am doing. I never get despaired. It’s not the end of the world and life should go on.”
Several thousand Palestinians took part in Friday’s protests at the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, according to Israeli forces and eyewitness accounts.
“During the violent riots IDF (Israel Defence Force) soldiers fired selectively towards main instigators,” the military said in a statement.
It said demonstrators in the West Bank threw firebombs and rocks and rolled flaming tyres at soldiers and border police.
Another Palestinian was shot and killed after he reportedly stabbed an Israeli soldier during clashes at the West Bank border, according to reports which claimed he was believed to have been wearing a suicide belt.
He was named by the Palestinian Health Ministry as 29-year-old Mohammed Aqal.
Protests have raged for the past 10 days in the disputed territories since Mr Trump’s announcement – highly controversial because Jerusalem is a holy place to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Israeli forces seized control of East Jerusalem from Arab forces in the 1967 Middle East War and later annexed it in a move considered illegal under international law.
Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza for a decade, claiming this is necessary to contain the territory's Islamist rulers Hamas, who have called for a new uprising in response to Mr Trump's Jerusalem declaration.
Mr Trump said the announcement merely recognises the reality that Jerusalem already effectively serves as the Israeli capital and is not intended to alter the city's borders.