Aysar Yasser a-Zaben, 16 years old, was shot in his back yesterday evening in his family’s lands in Mazra’a al-Sharqiya, east of Ramallah, apparently by a settler.
Aysar al-Zaben’s body was found in his plot by family members only hours after he was shot. He was found lying dead on the ground, face down, with a bullet hole in his back after being missing since the evening.
According to initial information, al-Zaben was shot by a settler when tending in his lands between 4:30 and 6:00 pm. At the time, a group of youth from the village scuffled with a settler near the adjacent Route 60. According to the testimonies of some of these youth, they were throwing stones towards Route 60, near a roadblock preventing Palestinian access to the road. At some point, a settler stopped his car and exited it, beginning to shoot live ammunition towards them, which caused them to run away back to the village. Escaping the shots, they were not aware that al-Zaben, who wasn’t with them and did not participate in the stone throwing, was hit.
As hours passed and al-Zaben did not return home, his family began looking for him. Having heard the shots earlier in the day, they began calling the Israeli Army, police and Civil Administration trying to locate him, thinking he may have been detained. Eventually, they set out to look for him in their fields, where they knew he had worked in the afternoon. According to his uncle, his lifeless body was found lying face down on the ground with a bullet hole in his back.
Mazra’a al-Sharqiya is an agrarian village of about 5,000, located 15 kilometers Northeast of Ramallah. Despite the village’s location next to Route 60, which runs across the West Bank from north to south and was, in part, built on the Mazra’a's lands, residents have no access to the road, as all the paths leading to and from it have been blocked by Israel.
After being disconnected from Route 60 in recent years, the only road from the area’s villages to Ramallah is a dangerous old agrarian road, which due to the mountainous terrain is often flooded in winters, completely disconnecting the region from the rest of the world.
Last Tuesday, a group of settlers from a nearby settlement have amassed in the Mazra’a al-Sharqiya’s lands and attempted to enter the village after the Israeli government announced it will demolish illegal houses in a number of West Bank Jewish-only settlements. Residents, who suspected the settlers intend on holding a “price-tag” action in the village, confronted them, and manged to ward off the invasion.
They were then attacked by a force of soldiers who shot dozens of rounds of live ammunition and eventually also invaded the village.