An eight-year-old Palestinian boy froze to death after falling into a lake near the neighbourhood of Beit Hanina in occupied East Jerusalem on Frida.
Qais Abu Rmelah was reported missing on 4pm on Friday after he headed out to a local market and never returned. His body was found on Saturday at the bottom of a rainwater-filled pit next to a construction site, reported Haaretz.
Although his disappearance and the circumstances that led to his death are unclear, the boy is reported to have apparently slipped while making his way to the market and drowned in the lake which was full as a result of the heavy rains last week.
A devastating video which surfaced online shows the frozen body of the young boy, wearing a visible red jacket, being carried by several first responders.
After being pulled from under a wooden plank with his head stuck in the mud, Qais was rushed to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, according to the Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith, suffering from hypothermia.
Several attempts to revive him were made, however, was pronounced dead.
The governor extended his condolences to the child’s family and thanked Palestinian residents in Beit Hanina who came together to help find the child following his disappearance, calling for unity in the face of the Israeli occupation.
🔻Palestinian 8 yr old boy Qais Abu Ramila who went missing in East Jerusalem was found dead in a pool of rainwater today morning after long hours of search
🔻His family initially feared that he might be kidnapped by Israeli settlers, as happened to the child Abu Khdair years ago pic.twitter.com/jM838YNNDg
— SadaeMazlomeen صَدائےمَظلُومِین (@SadaeMazlomeen) January 25, 2020
Israeli occupation authorities were held fully responsible for Qais death by the Governor, emphasising that the authorities should have blocked off the open water ditches to prevent children accessing them.
The incident prompted the family and residents of Beit Hanina to call out the Jerusalem Municipality for neglecting the area and not building a fence around it, during Abu Rmelah’s funeral on Saturday.
“It’s not a reservoir, it’s death trap,” stated one family member.
Palestinian body the National Social Movement in Jerusalem said: “How to they leave such a dangerous complex without coverage or an iron fence that guarantees that no children will fall into it, especially since all children pass from there? This is negligence because this is an Arab neighbourhood, if its residents were Jews, the municipality would not neglect safety measures.”