Sam Tsohonis, 26, says the mural portrays the April 2002 Israeli invasion of the Jenin refugee camp when 300 Palestinian homes were reduced to rubble in five days by army bulldozers. 

 

He is currently in the West Bank as a volunteer for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which protests non-violently against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

 

He was shot in the leg by Israeli soldiers in July after protesting against the building of Israel's West Bank apartheid wall. 

 

Tsohonis, an art student in the US, said the mural is an acknowledgement of Palestinian suffering.

 

Suffering

 

“I don’t really know what their suffering must have been like but this mural is just about communicating it to the outside world," he said.

 

"There is a tendancy for people to turn their heads the other way when something awful like what happenned in Jenin takes place. But I hope this mural will remind people so they don't forget," he added.

 

The Israeli invasion of Jenin killed
59 Palestinians

Tsohonis said he was inspired to paint the mural after attending the memorial service of Rachel Corrie, the American student who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in March.

 

The art student, who went to school in the same town as Rachel, said: “The thing that I didn’t have in common with her was her commitment to working for the benefit of others…

 

International outcry

 

"Everything I had done in my life, up to this point, had been purely for purposes of self-gratification. It made me want to find that commitment to others within myself.”

 

The invasion of Jenin sparked an international outcry last year and the United Nations assembled a team of inspectors to go and investigate allegations of war crimes.

 

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refused to allow the UN team access and denied there had been a massacre although more than 50 bodies were recovered, including women and children.

 

The Israelis said they invaded the refugee camp to root out resistance fighters.  

House-to-house fighting ensued and 23 Israeli commandos were killed despite using innocent Palestinians as human shields.