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Occupied Lives: He just wanted a better life

Bassam Abu Muelieq in his house in Mossadar

Mohamed Abu
Muelieq (17) was killed by Israeli forces on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 near
Mossadar village, which is on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.  Mohamed, and his friends Youssef Altelbani (19)
and Mahmoud Alodat (18), were trying to cross over the border fence to search
for jobs in Israel when they were attacked.  Of the 3 boys, only 1, Mahmoud Alodat survived
the attack.  He sustained shrapnel injuries
to his right leg and was forced to lie in the border area until the shelling
stopped.  He then crawled to one of the
nearby houses, which took him approximately one hour, before he was rushed to the


father, Bassam Abu Muelieq (45), recounts the events surrounding his son’s
death: “On the day of his death, I had an argument with Mohamed and he left the
house saying that he was going to visit a friend.  A few minutes later, one of my son’s friends
came and told me that Mohamed and 2 of his friends were on their way to try and
jump the border fence.”


Bassam’s house
is just 800 meters from the fence: “I rushed outside the house and looked
towards the border.  I saw the IDF firing
and shelling.  There were drones all over
the border area and it had completely transformed into a military zone.  There was continuous firing and shelling.  I helplessly stood outside the house and
watched.  I knew that if I tried to go
there, I would be killed.  As I watched,
I kept hoping to myself that my son would just be injured, not killed.”


Bassam had to wait
until the following day to hear what happened to his son.  At 10:00, he received word that ICRC vehicles
were looking for bodies near the border: “I could not recognize my son when I
viewed the body.  His face was completely
deformed and I could just see bones.
 I only knew it was him when I saw the
sandals the two of us shared on his feet.  I was devastated.  Later on, I found out that when the firing
began, the boys were shouting and surrendering hoping to be spared, but they
were shot and shelled to the ground.  This
area was well lit with flood lights, and the soldiers must have seen that these
boys were unarmed.  They have cameras for
that; they surely must have seen that they were harmless.”


Bassam is
unemployed and relies on casual labor employment to get money for his family.  He attributes his son’s decision to try and
jump over the fence to this abject poverty: “The conditions we live in are very
bad.  I used to work in Israel, but here in
Gaza, I have no employment.  My son had
to drop out of school to try and look for work.  He just wanted a better life.  He constantly talked about building a house
and starting a family, and maybe buying a motorbike and some new clothes.  He sometimes made 20 shekels a week working on
other people’s farms and construction sites, but that wasn’t enough.  He had heard that the conditions in Israel
were better, and he thought that it would be easier for him to get a job there.
 He had hoped that by jumping the fence,
he would leave all this poverty behind and have a better life.”



Mohamed Abu
Muelieq (17)

Mohamed’s death
has deeply affected Bassam and his family: “Mohamed was very talkative.  Now the house is quiet and everyone is in
shock.  His younger brother and sister
miss him very much.  Even if they
compensate me for my son’s death, it does not change the fact that he is gone.  It does not change how quiet my wife has
become, thinking about him all the time. What can you even do with such money?  Our children are now the ones paying the price
for the bad economic conditions in Gaza.  All we want is peace and a chance to improve
the economy and the future of the children of Gaza.” 

In the month of
June 2012, 16 children were injured and 2 were killed, including Mohamed,
during Israel’s various attacks on the Gaza Strip.  The targeting and killing of a child, a
protected civilian, is a war crime, as codified in Articles 8(2)(a)(i) and
8(2)(b)(i) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

To see a video narrative given by Bassam
Abu Muelieq 
please click here.