May 17, 2023

A few days ago, the Palestinian Sameh Aktash returned from the earthquake zones in southern Turkey, after his contribution to the relief of the afflicted, to face his fate, being killed by Israeli bullets, in defense of his small village, “Za’tara” against settler attacks, south of Nablus.

Aktash, 37, whose family says he “loved life and helped others in his hometown and in Turkey, which he loved,” was shot in the abdomen, resulting in internal bleeding.

On Sunday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced the death of Aqtash and the injury of dozens in attacks carried out by settlers under the protection of the Israeli army, south of Nablus.

The Anadolu correspondent reported, quoting eyewitnesses, that dozens of settlers, with the protection of the army, stormed the town of Hawara from the direction of “Salman Al-Faris Roundabout” near the Yitzhar settlement, and from the direction of the Za’tara military checkpoint.

The settlers carried out riotous acts in the villages of Hawara, Beita, Asira al-Qibliya, Burin, and Za’tara, after two Israelis were killed in a shooting attack on a car they were traveling in near Hawara.

Benefactor and lover of Turkey

Sameh’s older brother, Wasel Aktash, 52, said that his younger brother “was loving life and merciful to people, and he was a man of prayer, and he loved Turkey very much.”

Wasel told Anadolu Agency that “Samih went out for 40 days praying in Turkey, and he and his family have strong relations with friends and merchants in southern Turkey.”

He reported that Sameh visited Turkey several times with his family, and when the earthquake occurred, he decided to go and provide assistance to the afflicted, and in coordination with their brother Yasser, who lives in the city of Bursa (northwest), Sameh and his family provided in-kind assistance to the earthquake victims.

According to Wasel, “Sameh distributed about two trucks of foodstuffs, blankets and bedding in the Turkish areas hit by the earthquake.”

He added, “What we have provided to the brothers in Turkey is little, and it is something that is not mentioned, and they have a great place in the heart.”

Sameh conveyed sad stories to his family about the extent of the destruction and the suffering of those affected. Upon his return to the village, he began working with the “Beta Municipality” to purchase equipment, cranes, and thermal sensors for use in the event of an earthquake in Palestine.

They obstructed his aid, and he died

Regarding his death, Wasel said: “Sameh stood in front of the houses of the small village to defend his home and his family from an attack from hundreds of heavily armed settlers, protected by the Israeli army.

At dawn on Monday, the Aktash family buried the body of their son in their small village, which has a population of about 150 people, and their origin goes back to the town of Beita, which is located near the Za’tara military checkpoint.

Immediately after his injury, Yazan Aktash (23 years), a volunteer paramedic at the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, provided first aid to Sameh, and told Anadolu Agency that “the settlers’ attack was accompanied by heavy use of live bullets.”

Yazan indicated that the Israeli authorities “knew of Sameh’s injury, but refused to allow the medical staff to transport him across the public road, so we had to take dirt roads and from one vehicle to another, so his arrival at the health center was delayed for about 25 minutes.”

He pointed out that “the cause of death was the delay in arriving at the health center and not allowing him to be transferred to the hospital. We made efforts to transfer him to the Rafidia Governmental Hospital in Nablus, but to no avail.”

Sameh’s departure left great sadness in the hearts of his three daughters, his two sons, his family, relatives, and the people of his town, who lost a symbol of goodness and helping people.

a hard day’s Night

Regarding the difficult atmosphere in which Sameh was killed, Ghassan Douglas, in charge of the settlement file in the northern West Bank, said, “What happened (Sunday) is a real organized war waged by settler gangs, in an organized manner and with the protection of the Israeli army.”

“The town lived through a difficult night, which was described as a real war,” Douglas told Anadolu Agency.

He talked about “about 300 attacks carried out by settlers in towns south of Nablus, ranging from physical assault to burning homes, vehicles, real estate, and others.”

About 725,000 settlers are distributed in 176 large settlements and 186 random outposts (unlicensed by the Israeli government) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to data from the Settlement Affairs Authority of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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