Ahmad Erakat: A Minute Too Late
By: Raneem Ghunaim/Arab America Contributing Writer
What was meant to be a month of celebration for the Erakat family, turned into tragedy. Ahmed Erakat was a 27-year-old Palestinian man who had a wonderful life ahead of him, and many happy days to come. All of that was taken from him at a checkpoint in the Palestinian village of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. He was a brother, a son, and a soon to be husband.
On June 23, 2020, Erakat was murdered by an Israeli soldier. Erakat was left on the ground to bleed for an hour and a half. No one dared or cared to call for help. Help was denied access to begin with. This is what it means to be a Palestinian living in Palestine. The tragic news has been felt heavily by his family and fiancé. Words could not describe the pain of seeing a video of your loved on laying on the ground dead, helpless, while you thought he was just a few minutes away. Imagine how his mother felt watching. Imagine being the sister waiting for him to pick you up from your hair appointment, wondering, “Why is he late?”
After his tragic death, his fiancé was interviewed. Here is what she had to say:
“خطيبة الشهيد احمد عريقات بتحكي: حتى مفتاح دارنا ضلّ معه، اتصل وحكالي جهزي حالك للعرس، بدي آجي آخذك بدري، ما بدي أتأخر.. راح أحمد وتأخر عليّ العمر كله
“أحمد مدلل إمه الصغير، بحب الحياة، عاش قصة حب مع خطيبته، جهز بيته كله وبستنا بعرسه الي تأجل بسبب كورونا، لبس البدلة لعرس أخته وكان يحكي لإمه “بالله ما أنا عريس حلو رقصلها ومزح معها، واستأجر سيارة وراح وصلها على الصالون ورجع عشان يزين السيارة ويزفّ أخته.. انزفّ هو، الناس الي كان لازم يجو عند إمه بعرس بنتها، أجو على عزا ابنها، بدل لبس الفساتين لبسوا الأسود، الكراسي الي نصبوها للعرس، الناس قعدت عليها في العزا”ا
The fiancé of the deceased Ahmad Erakat is talking: Even our house key stayed with him, he called me and told me to get ready for the wedding. “I want to come pick you up early I don’t want to us to be late.” he said. “Ahmad left and took too long, he left me for a lifetime.” Ahmad was his little mamas boy, he loved life, and lived a true love story with his fiancé. He got his house ready and was waiting for the wedding that was postponed due to COVID-19.
Ahmad wore his suit for his sister’s wedding, looked at his mom, and told her, “Honest to God, don’t I make a pretty fiancé?” He danced and joked around with her for a few minutes. He rented a car and drove his sister to the salon, and came back to decorate the car and walk his sister. “We ended up walking him instead, everyone who originally came for her daughter’s wedding ended up going to her son’s funeral. Instead of wearing dresses, we wore black, the chairs that we originally set up for the wedding ended up being the ones people sat on in his funeral.”
Palestinian Lives Matter
Losing a loved one is traumatizing. For those living in Palestine, that is the sad reality. People live in fear wondering if they will make it until tomorrow. How did Ahmad go from planning on picking up his sister for her wedding, to being shot and murdered by Israeli soldiers? Ahmad Erakat, the nephew of a senior Palestinian official, was shot at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli authorities claimed that he attempted to run over an officer, which is why they shot him and left him on the ground to bleed out and die. This accident ended up hurting both Ahmad and the solider—one got a bruise and the other got shot, only one got to go home that night. His death impacted many once his story hit social media. Ahmad will forever be in our hearts. He is one of the many murdered in Palestine for being Palestinian.
Noura Erakat who is his cousin was interviewed hours after the incident. With a heavy heart, she explains how Ahmad was still alive after he was shot multiple times if the Israeli soldiers did not deny to the Palestinian red crescent he would still be alive. But instead, they left him there to bleed. To justify their actions they claimed that this accident was with the intension of car ramping, these allegations against Ahmad as Noura mentioned are disgusting and completely false.
Know Their Names
Just in the last 5 months, 22 Palestinian deaths have been recorded. Below are their names and their stories along with the date of their murder. However, hundreds more Palestinian murders by Israeli officials have not been documented. On a weekly basis, we lose many innocent Palestinian lives. Their stories go untold, and their memory vanishes with them. This is unjust—people fight for a land that was taken from them by force. The severe oppression Palestinians face has not stopped them from fighting for their country.
Every Palestinian in Palestine and out of Palestine holds on to their roots for dear life. It is our job to spread awareness, to be their voice, to call out what’s right and what’s wrong. Palestinian voices are not heard enough—change must happen. People must start listing to Palestinian stories and the media show the truth of Palestinian oppression: the fear that characterizes life under occupation and Israeli control—the hunger, the peril, the lack of human rights. The list goes on. It is your responsibility to educate yourself and others.
Mahdi Eid Ayyad Irmeilat (January 19, 2020)
Amer Manar Hajjar (January 20, 2020)
Mohammad Hani Abu Mandeel (January 22, 2020)
Salem Zuweid an- Na’ami (January 22, 2020)
Mahmoud Khaled Sa’id (January 22, 2020
Ala’ Hani Al- Abbassi (January 31, 2020)
Mohammad Salman Al-Haddad (February 5, 2020)
Yazan Monther Abu Tabeekh (February 5, 2020)
Tariq Lu’ay Badwan (February 6, 2020)
Bader Nidal Nafla Harsha (February 7, 2020)
Fakhr Mahmoud Qurt (February 17, 2020)
Maher Ibrahim Zaatra (February 22, 2020)
Mohammad Ali Hasan an Na’em (February 23, 2020)
Salim Ahmad Salim (February 24, 2020)
Ziad Ahmad Mansour (February 24, 2020)
Mohammad Abdul- Karim Hamayel (March 11, 2020)
Sofian Nawwaf Al- Khawaja (March 22, 2020)
Islam Dwaikat (April 1, 2020)
Zeid Fadel Qaisiyya (May 13, 2020)
Bahaeddin Mohammad Al- ‘Awawda (May 14, 2020)
Fadi Adnan Samara (May 29,2020)
Eyad Al- Hallaq (May 30, 2020)
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