'No life under occupation' says father of Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli police in Jerusalem

'No life under occupation' says father of Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli police in Jerusalem
Omar Abu Assab was a middle-school student. In the past month, says his father, he had become very emotional about Israeli raids and house demolitions in Jerusalem and his hometown, Issawiyah.
3 min read
West Bank
18 November, 2021
16-year-old school boy Omar Abou Assad was killed by Israeli fire on Wednesday [Defense for Children/Twitter]

The father of a Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem has spoken out about the emotional state of his son in his final days, blaming Israel's occupation and ruthless policy of home demolitions in the occupied territories for the events that led to his death. 

Omar Abu Assab, a 16-year-old school boy from the town of Issawiyah, just outside of Jerusalem, was killed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday. Israel claims he attempted to stab two Israeli policemen.

Palestinians in Jerusalem “can’t have any life because of the Israeli occupation”, said Ibrahim Abu Assab, Omar's father.

Ibrahim also told The New Arab that he only learned about his son’s death while being questioned in Israeli detention.

“Israeli forces came at night and arrested me, my wife and my older son”, he explained. “They took us to a detention centre and separated us into different rooms. They interrogated me about my son’s habits and his daily life as well as about our family for several hours. Only in the last five minutes did the Israeli interrogator tell me that my son attacked two policemen and was killed”.

Omar Abu Assab, added his father, “had been talking about the situation in Issawiyah and Jerusalem repeatedly in the last month. He would talk about the families who received notifications of house-demolitions and about Israeli settler raids at Al-Aqsa mosque”.

Last Monday, Israeli forces raided Issawiyah, arrested three Palestinians, and gave two Palestinian families demolition notices for one house and two livestock barns. The orders were executed Thursday morning.

The livestock barns had already been demolished four times in the past few years.  On Tuesday, Israeli authorities forced a Palestinian family in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Rass Al Amoud to demolish their own home, which they had been building for twenty years.

Ibrahim Abu Assab pointed out that his son, Omar, “learned about these things at school and came home talking about them. In the last weeks he became very emotional about it, but we didn’t think he would actually try to take action”.

Tensions in Jerusalem between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinians have been high in the past months, especially in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and at the Damascus Gate areas, where the Israeli police have clashed with Palestinian youths to prevent them from gathering in the public space.

Tensions rose further after the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem resumed bulldozing works at the Yusufiyah cemetery, razing graves and clashing with Palestinians.

According to the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Jerusalem - OCHA, Israeli demolitions of Palestinian property in Jerusalem have risen by 21% in 2021, mainly due to the lack of construction permits, which are most often denied to Palestinians anyway.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem in a move widely considered illegal under international law.