West Bank family sees no hope for justice in settler killings | Conflict between Israel and Palestine
Moussa is eight years old and he likes marble a lot. But for the past month, this Palestinian boy, who lives in the West Bank, has a new game: “Pretend daddy’s not dead.”
He calls his father, thinks about what he did in his day, and says that he is suddenly going to run into him.
But his father, Bilal Saleh, was killed on October 28.
The 40-year-old man was shot in the chest while picking olives with his family near his home in the small town of al-Issawiya.
Saleh is one of more than 250 Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank, according to an account from the Palestinian government, since the Hamas attack on October 7 started a new war against Israel.
“He was a simple man, attached to his land,” said his widow, Ikhlas, showing images on her phone of Saleh in the fields, reciting the Quran with Moussa and at a wedding.
She struggles to even look at them, let alone tell the story of what happened.
The children crowded around her to fill in the details.
Videos from the scene show four men wearing woven yarmulkes popular among Israeli settlers, shouting at the family as they harvest.
One is armed with an automatic rifle.
The family fled, but Saleh forgot his phone and ran back to get it.
A few minutes later, a shot rings out.
The family ran back to find Saleh bleeding from the chest.
He was taken to hospital about 10km (6 miles) away but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The family says that Ikhlas’ brother and father saw on social media that a man was arrested for the shooting but was released a few hours later.
Police and COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry agency that oversees civilian operations in the Palestinian territories, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.