Omar Haitham al-Badawi, 22, was shot and mortally wounded by Israeli security forces as he approached a fire with a towel, intending to extinguish it last Monday, November 11, in the Al-‘Arrub refugee camp, 15 km south of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank.
The fatal shooting took place adjacent to clashes between youths from the refugee camp and Israeli occupation forces. A video circulated on social media shows al-Badawi slowly approaching Israeli soldiers, and someone can be heard calling to bring water. A shot is then heard and al-Badawi collapses to the ground.
Tweeting that al-Badawi “posed no threat to anyone,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov called for an investigation into the killing.
The Palestinian Health Ministry and Israeli army said that al-Badawi was hit in his abdomen by Israeli gunfire. He was rushed to hospital in Hebron but there succumbed to his wounds. Abdel Rahman Hassan, a Palestinian journalist who was at the scene, told Haaretz that al-Badawi had not taken part in the clashes between the Palestinian youths and Israeli occupation forces and described how the victim was attempting to put out a fire when shot.
The incident drew harsh condemnation from the Palestinian Authority, United Nations and Hadash lawmakers. The Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry placed full responsibility for this incident on the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Al-Badawi was a human being,” tweeted the head of the Joint List MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash). “He has family and friends who have seen the records of his last moments as he wallows in his own blood. He is only 22 but from now on, he will be spoken of in the past tense.” Odeh added: “For the army, he was only a Palestinian subject… This is the violent nature of the occupation and it will not change until we end it.”
Omar Haitham al-Badawi was buried on Monday afternoon following a mass funeral procession from his home in the al-‘Arrub refugee camp to the local cemetery.