Two Palestinian teenagers were shot in the knee with live ammunition while playing in the snow near their village of Burin, south of Nablus on Saturday 10th January.

Fifteen-year-old Mohammed Yasser Najar, a 9th grade schoolboy with asthma, and 18-year-old Abbas Jamal Asous, a tawjihi [final exam] student who wants to become land surveyor, were among the teens who went to a nearby hill to enjoy the snow that for the last week has covered large parts of Palestine.

From their room in Nablus Rafidiya hospital, the boys recalled how while they were playing, some 10-15 illegal Israeli settler-colonists, all heavily armed, descended from the nearby illegal outpost of Givat Ronen accompanied by Israeli occupation soldiers, and attacked the teens. Tear gas was followed by live ammunition aimed at the Palestinian children. Mohammed and Abbas were hit and rushed to the hospital.

It is not clear whether the bullets that entered the boys’ knees were fired by illegal Israeli settler-colonists or Israeli soldiers who had arrived to the scene “to protect the settlers and their crimes,” in the words of one of the boy’s father. “Although settlers have guns themselves so they don’t need protection,” the father added. According to international law, it is the duty of an occupying army to protect the population it occupies, in this case the Palestinians, not attack it.

Mohammed’s eldest brother, an 18-year-old, was also injured twice before his kidnap some weeks ago; he is now being held in an Israeli occupation prison.

Burin village is a constant target of both the illegal Israeli colonists and the army. Surrounded by extremely violent Yitzhar and Bracha settler colonies built on land confiscated from Burin, the village suffers almost daily attacks; the army often comes at night to kidnap young men. The local boys school is attacked with tear gas and stun grenades on a regular basis.

Muhammad and Abbas are going home today; they are to return to the hospital in one week’s time for a check-up. After the holidays, school resumes in occupied Palestine in two weeks.