As the frail body of 12-year-old Nassir Al-Mosabeh fell to the ground on Friday, September 28, history was repeating itself in a most tragic way.
Little Nassir was not just another number, a ‘martyr’ to be exalted by equally poor refugees in Gaza, or vilified by Israel and its tireless hasbara machine. He was much more than that.
The stream of blood that poured out from his head wound on that terrible afternoon drew a line in time that travelled back 18 years.
Almost 18-years to the day separates Nassir’s recent murder and the Israeli army killing of Mohammed Al-Durrah, also 12, on September 30, 2000. Between these dates, hundreds of Palestinian children have perished in similar ways.
Reports by the rights’ group, B’tselem, are rife with statistics: 954 Palestinian children were killed between the Second Intifada in 2000 and Israel’s war on Gaza, the so-called Operation Cast Lead in 2008. In the latter war alone, 345 child were reportedly killed, in addition to another 367 child fatalities reported in Israel’s latest war, ‘Protective Edge’ of 2014.
But Mohammed and Nassir – and thousands like them – are not mere numbers; they have more in common than simply being the ill-fated victims of trigger-happy Israeli soldiers.
In that single line of blood that links Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah, there is a narrative so compelling, yet often neglected. The two 12-year-old boys looked so much alike – small, handsome, dark skinned…