Monday, March 06, 2006

Battle Plan: Arm Your Youth, Complain When They're Killed 

Palestinian youths, supporters of the Fatah movement, hold weapons during a rally in memory of Amer Basiouny, 15, in Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus Sunday March 5, 2006. Basiouny was killed Friday by Israeli troops during a pre-dawn raid on the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp, Palestinians said. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
I usually specialize in irony, but the irony is already so thick in this photo and its caption that I'm not sure I even need to add anything.

Seriously, it seems I might be even more against the killing of 15 year old Palestinian kids than the Palestinian weapon merchants are. After all, I'm not sticking guns in kids' hands -- on camera -- and pointing the way to enemy soldiers.

Amer Basiouny himself may or may not have been armed. His relatives claim not, the IDF, perhaps predictably, claims he was:

According to relatives, 15-year old Amer Basiouny was shot by Israeli forces raiding the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp when he ventured onto the roof of his house after hearing gunfire in his neighborhood.

An Israeli military spokesperson told the AFP news agency, that Basiouny was armed: "Our soldiers were conducting an arrest operation in Nablus. They saw an armed man on a roof, opened fire against him and identified a hit". Camp residents denied that the teen was carrying a weapon.
You might be surprised but, not having been there myself, I can believe the relatives' account. On the other hand, there have been numerous cases of armed teens running around in live fire and AP photo zones. But whether Amer was armed or not, the death of a 15 year old in a conflict that was supposed to have been peacefully negotiated already is tragic.

Either way, my response at the funeral would not be to ply more kids with more weapons. But that's just me.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: