Father and son killed at funeral procession as violence increases in the West Bank

The family of a father and son killed by Israeli settlers in Gaza speak exclusively to The Independent about the impact of losing loved ones to Israeli settler violence

Maira Butt
Sunday 15 October 2023 18:55 BST
Comments
<p>26 year old Ahmed Al Wadi and his father 63 year old Ibrahim Al Wadi at Ahmed’s graduation 6 months ago. They were both killed by Israeli settlers in Qusra village this week </p>

26 year old Ahmed Al Wadi and his father 63 year old Ibrahim Al Wadi at Ahmed’s graduation 6 months ago. They were both killed by Israeli settlers in Qusra village this week

“He’d got engaged just weeks ago,” says Muhammad Wadi, 29, as he mourns the loss of his younger brother Ahmed. “He was looking forward to carrying on his love, and to getting married next summer. He was a loving person.”

Ahmed Wadi, 26, and his father Ibrahim, 63, were both killed by Israeli settlers at a funeral procession for four other Palestinians in Qusra village in the West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said this week.

At least 55 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers and over 1,100 have been wounded since Hamas attacks last Saturday. UN Monitors said, adding it was the deadliest week for Palestinians in the territory since at least 2005.

The killings come amid rising tensions in the West Bank, as Israel carries out a crushing campaign of air strikes on Gaza and ground raids against the Palestinian group Hamas, which governs Gaza. Hamas fighters had carried out an attack in southern Israel on Saturday that killed at least 1,300 people.

Ahmed Wadi, 26 (right) and his father Ibrahim Wadi, 62 (left) at Ahmed’s graduation six months

For Muhammad and his family, the loss is beyond a statistic.

“We’re all in shock. My mum hasn’t slept since they died. She can’t stop crying. My sisters are taking it really hard - he was their younger brother,” he says.

The family of thirteen, including six sons and five daughters, was headed by Ibrahim, who farmed around 200,000 square metres of land in Qusra along with his sons. The plot had been in their family for generations. The family had a close relationship to it, planting thyme and olives for centuries.

Ibrahim Wadi, 62, had been part of a centuries-old lineage of farmers planting thyme and olives on their land in Qusra village

Yasir, 25, was in the car with his cousin when his father and brother were killed. Muhammad says they have had to take him to the doctors daily as the trauma from witnessing the murders has taken its toll on his mental health.

The family say messages were circulated by Israeli settlers last week warning that Ibrahim and Muhammad would be killed for resisting the establishment of settlements over their land and celebratory posts were shared following the incident. They say that the names of others have been released as potential targets.

Ahmed had just finished a degree in Public Law in Nablus six months ago and wanted to become a lawyer like his brother. Muhammad says his favourite memories are his morning drives with both to the city where he would drop his father off to work and his brother off to university. “We would talk about everything. Those drives are my favourite memories.”

Israeli settlers and local Palestinians have clashed for decades over ownership of land in the West Bank

Ibrahim, who had completed a Masters in Chemistry in Pakistan had also played an instrumental role in his local community as Director General of Precious Metals at the Ministry of National Economy in Ramallah and a founder of various local and village councils in the southern Nablus area. Family say he had been arrested on multiple occasions for resisting the expansion of settlements and had spent some time in prison.

On Wednesday 11 October Ibrahim and his two sons Ahmed and Yasir joined a funeral procession for four Palestinians killed the day before. Muhammad says the ambulances carrying the bodies were stopped by Israeli settlers throwing stones at cars on the way to the burial. He says settlers then shot Ibrahim and Ahmed in the back of the car as his son Yasir and their cousin sat at the front.

“The bullet passed from his chest to his hand. For my brother, three bullets hit his chest and one hit his neck,” says Muhammad. “They shot the wheels of the car to stop it from getting away.”

Clashes between Israeli settlers, IDF and local Palestinians have escalated since Hamas’s attacks on Israel which killed 1,400 last week. It has led to retaliatory strikes which have killed over 2,329 Palestinians and wounded nearly 10,000.

Pro-Palestine protesters gather for march in West Bank

While the situation continues to escalate in Gaza, experts have warned that it is also rapidly deteriorating in the West Bank. The IDF told the Times of Israel that the incident was under investigation.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in