Investigation into death of e. J’lem teen continues

Milad Ayyash, 17, shot during pre-Nakba day clashes; family claims shots originated in Beit Yehonatan despite denial by its residents.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
May 17, 2011 04:33
4 minute read.
Said Ayyash

Said Ayyash 311. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)

Jerusalem police continued their investigation into the death of Milad Ayyash, 17, a Ras al- Amud resident who was fatally shot during pre-Nakba Day clashes on Friday in the Silwan neighborhood of east Jerusalem – amid claims by Ayyash’s family that he was killed by someone on the third floor of Beit Yehonatan.

Residents of Beit Yehonatan, which houses seven Jewish families in the heart of the Arab neighborhood – and is heavily secured by private guards from the Modi’in Ezrahi company – called the claims “total lies and incitement.”

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“It’s not possible, it’s not rational – especially when you consider the range,” said Eldad Rabinovich, a political activist who lives in Beit Yehonatan with his family.

The police declined to comment on the claims that the shots came from Beit Yehonatan.

“We really don’t know, and we won’t go into speculation,” said Jerusalem Police Spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby. Modi’in Ezrahi refused multiple requests for comment.

A police request for an autopsy was denied and Al-Makassed hospital, where Ayyash was treated, has refused to hand over the bullets for investigation. The hospital has reportedly said that the bullets were 9mm., which are the most common type of bullets for handguns.

“The person that killed my son is the Israeli government that supports and finances the most extreme settlers,” said Milad’s father Said Ayyash, who was surrounded by family and friends in the mourner’s tent set up near his house on Monday – the last day of the traditional three-day Nakba mourning period.



“The settlers are in the heart of an Arab neighborhood, which hurts everyone – but this tragedy hurts me. I hope the death of my beloved son will cause the settlers to leave and end the occupation,” he said.

Ras Al Amud is perched on Silwan, which spreads out along the steep Kidron Valley to the south of the Old City. The neighborhood’s breathtaking panorama of the Old City walls contrast sharply with the burned-out trash and large rocks scattered along the streets of Ras Al Amud on Monday – belying the violence in the neighborhood over the weekend after Ayyash’s funeral.

Ayyash’s stately home, a large house with intricately detailed wrought iron fences and a gleaming new exterior, stands out in the struggling neighborhood where families crowd into buildings which are constructed so closely together there is barely room for a car to maneuver between the concrete hovels.

Said Ayyash works as a literature translator, translating fiction from Hebrew to Arabic, and is among the few upper-middle class families that live in the neighborhood. Through his work, he said, “I try to understand Israelis more – and look, this is what happened to me, I lost my dear son.”

Ayyash said that his son, the youngest of three children, was an expert fisherman, and often accompanied his father to the Jaffa port. Ayyash recalled how he would compete, and often win, friendly fishing competitions against the experienced Arab and Jewish fisherman at the port.

Milad Ayyash bowed out of the trip last Friday, and Said Ayyash was in Jaffa when relatives called and told him his son had been injured in the clashes.

Ayyash, who was shot in the stomach, underwent five hours of surgery on Friday evening, but succumbed to his wounds around 5 a.m. on Saturday, his father said.

Said Ayyash said witnesses from the scene saw a window on the third floor of Beit Yehonatan open and heard four shots fired – a claim Rabinovich strongly denies.

“I talked to people afterwards – everyone in the house, and even Arabs in the neighborhood – and no one heard any shots,” Rabinovich told The Jerusalem Post.

Ayyash added that because of the fighting and tear gas, neighbors were unable to get to his son for several minutes, causing him to lose a large amount of blood and lose consciousness before he reached the hospital.

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On Friday, four police officers, and up to 11 Palestinians, were injured throughout east Jerusalem during demonstrations that broke out after Friday prayers. Thirty-four people were arrested for disturbing the peace or throwing stones or explosives.

The police have maintained that they did not use live ammunition. The investigation is continuing.


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