Diyar Omri: Son of Sandala and symbol of the ongoing Nakba
On the 6th of May 2023, 19-year-old Diyar Omri, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was shot dead by a Jewish Israeli and former soldier in the middle of the road in broad daylight. Israeli media described it as a road rage incident.
Footage from another driver shows the killer pulling Diyar out of his car. Diyar attempts to fight him off and runs back to his car. The killer pulls out a gun and shoots in the direction of Diyar several times, who subsequently falls to the ground. Diyar, who was from the nearby Palestinian village of Sandala, was pronounced dead not long after.
Thousands of Palestinians participated in his funeral and burial, which was awash with Palestinian flags. The message from family members was that Diyar’s killing was a direct result of Israeli ministers and politicians (such as Itamar Ben-Gvir) openly encouraging Jewish Israeli citizens to take up arms against Palestinian Arabs.
The killer’s lawyer claimed that he was acting in self-defence. The Israeli police later declared that he was driving without a valid licence and under the influence.
On the 14th of May, one day before the commemoration of the Nakba, Diyar’s killer was brought before an Israeli court in Nazareth. Palestinians lined the entrance to the court with Palestinian flags, donning keffiyehs and chanting promises to continue the struggle.
For them, they know that justice will not be served through Israeli courts, which only serve to prop up a regime of Jewish supremacy. Indeed Diyar’s cold-blooded execution cannot be seen devoid of the political context of the Palestinian citizens of Israel nor that of the continuing Nakba- the continuing process of Zionist settler colonisation.
Diyar’s village Sandala is located in the Jenin district, separated from its historic urban centre- the West Bank city of Jenin - by 7 kilometres and the Israeli regime’s separation wall.
Named after the sandalwood tree which grows in the area, the village has had a rich agricultural history thanks to its mineral rich soil. The residents of the village all hail from the same family - the Omri’s - who trace their ancestry back to the second caliph Omar Bin Al Khattib.