Raed Salhi slain by occupation forces, dies imprisoned weeks after shooting while being denied family visits

Photo via Raid al-Salhi’s Facebook page

Raed Salhi, 21, the young Palestinian refugee from Dheisheh camp who has been held in a coma and in intensive care since 9 August, when he was shot at point-blank range by Israeli occupation forces invading the refugee camp, died of his injuries on the evening in Hadassah Hospital of 3 September 2017.  During the weeks following his arrest, he was denied family visits and held under heavy security guard despite his unconsciousness and severe medical condition.

Salhi was seized after being shot at point-blank range by Israeli occupation forces invading the camp on 9 August; along with him, occupation forces seized Abdel-Aziz Arafa, who they shot in the leg. The Israeli occupation army claimed at the time of his shooting that the two unarmed young men were shot as they “attempted to flee the area.”

His family and comrades in Dheisheh camp are still awaiting news of the delivery of his body from occupation forces; upon the news of his death, a spontaneous march broke out in the camp to his family home, where his mother and family received the support of their community, surrounding the home.

Dheisheh camp social media pages reported that media would not be welcomed at the funeral due to the lack of coverage of his situation; many people in the camp and throughout Palestine posted about their memories of Salhi, saluting his dedication to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause, including his affiliation with the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Photo: Hisham Abu Shaqrah

During his imprisonment in Hadassah hospital, his family members were denied permits to visit him under the pretext of ongoing interrogation, despite the fact that the young man was in a coma and unable to speak. His lawyer, Karim Ajwa, reported just days ago that he was being held under strict security guard at the hospital despite his severe health crisis.

“All of the family’s attempts to obtain a permit to visit have failed. The occupation authorities are preventing all members of his family from visiting him to check on his health. The last attempt was several weeks ago by his mother, who suffers from several diseases herself and cannot sleep due to her worry,” said Khaled al-Salhi, Raed’s brother, to Quds News at the time.

Indeed, Salhi’s detention was extended on several occasions by the Ofer military court under the pretext of “completing interrogation,” despite the fact that he was held in critical condition, unconscious and dependent on a ventilator.  On 29 August, Arafa was brought to Ofer military court on a hospital bed to further extend his imprisonment before being moved to the Ramle prison clinic.

Not only was Salhi’s family denied visits with their dying brother, his brother Bassam Salhi was seized by occupation forces in another invasion of Dheisheh camp one week after the shooting, on 16 August, Ma’an News reported.

The PFLP issued a statement on the martyrdom of Raed Salhi, saying, “Palestine, Dheisheh camp and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have lost a courageous struggler committed to liberation of the Palestinian people from Zionist occupation. This young man was committed in his veins with loyalty to the Palestinian cause and his people.” In the statement, they said that “he was always present to confront the occupation in Bethlehem area.” Salhi was also known for his commitment to volunteer activities, incluing health support days and other social activities to support the people of the camp.

Photo via Raid al-Salhi’s Facebook page

He is the 212th imprisoned Palestinian to die in Israeli custody, and Issa Qaraqe, the chair of the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, joined multiple prisoners’ organizations issued statements noting that the killing of al-Salhi was an execution by occupation forces through their point-blank shooting on the streets of Dheisheh as they invaded the camp.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the loss of Raed Salhi, Palestinian refugee and beloved member of his community, under armed guard, denied his family even as he lay dying, shot by the bullets of the Israeli occupation. The outrageous murder of Raed Salhi stands once again as a call to all people of conscience in the world to escalate their campaigns to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice, return and liberation, including through the international isolation of Israel and building campaigns for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).