Awartani, through a message shared by a Professor of Palestinian studies at Brown University Beshara Doumani, stated the shooting is part of a 'larger story,' at a vigil on campus Monday night

A Palestinian student, left paralyzed in a suspected hate crime, broke his silence – emphasizing that the shooting was not isolated and ‘did not happen in a vacuum.’

Three 20-year-old students – Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid, and Tahseen Ahmed – were shot in Burlington, Vermont, Saturday afternoon while returning from dinner. 

Awartani, through a message shared by a Professor of Palestinian studies at Brown University Beshara Doumani, stated the shooting is part of a ‘larger story,’ at a vigil on campus Monday night. 

He proceeded to condemn Israel as part of his statement, despite the alleged non-Jewish shooter having no ties to the country and revealing no motive. 

‘I’d like to start off by saying that I greatly appreciate all the love and prayers being sent my way. Who knew that all I had to do to become famous was to get shot,’ Doumani read on Awartani’s behalf. 

‘On a more serious note, it’s important to recognize that this is part of the larger story. This hideous crime did not happen in a vacuum.’

Awartani, through a message shared by a Professor of Palestinian studies at Brown University Beshara Doumani, stated the shooting is part of a 'larger story,' at a vigil on campus Monday night

Awartani, through a message shared by a Professor of Palestinian studies at Brown University Beshara Doumani, stated the shooting is part of a 'larger story,' at a vigil on campus Monday night

Awartani, through a message shared by a Professor of Palestinian studies at Brown University Beshara Doumani, stated the shooting is part of a ‘larger story,’ at a vigil on campus Monday night

Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid and Tahseen Ahmed wearing keffiyeh scarves and speaking Arabic when they were shot on Saturday night

Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid and Tahseen Ahmed wearing keffiyeh scarves and speaking Arabic when they were shot on Saturday night

Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid and Tahseen Ahmed wearing keffiyeh scarves and speaking Arabic when they were shot on Saturday night

Jason J. Eaton, 48, is in custody. He is accused of shooting the three Palestinian students on Saturday

Jason J. Eaton, 48, is in custody. He is accused of shooting the three Palestinian students on Saturday

Jason J. Eaton, 48, is in custody. He is accused of shooting the three Palestinian students on Saturday 

‘I am but one casualty in this much wider conflict,’ he continued. ‘This is why when you send your wishes and light your candles for me today, your mind should not just be focused on me as an individual, but rather as a proud member of a people being oppressed.’

In his message, Awartani suggested different outcomes if the incident occurred in the West Bank. 

He said that if he had been shot in the West Bank, instead of Vermont, ‘the medical services that saved my life here would likely have been withheld by the Israeli army.’

‘The soldier who shot me would go home and never be convicted. I understand that the pain is so much more real and immediate because many of you know me, but any attack like this is horrific, be it here or in Palestine.’  

Israel has in-fact consistently provided medical care to Palestinians, including leaders of Palestinian resistance movements and terrorist groups, over the years. 

Additionally, Israel provides medical care, including surgery, to terrorists who were injured while committing their crimes.  

Israeli doctors saved the life of Hamas leader Yahya Ibrahim Hassan Sinwar – who is said to have led the October 7 massacre – when he was in prison in the country, as reported by Business Insider. 

Israeli doctors carried out a brain surgery and successfully removed a tumor in Sinwar while he was serving multiple life sentences for the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers in 1988.

Additionally, Israa Riad Jabes, a woman slated for release by Israel, disfigured herself after failing to detonate a suicide bomb in 2015. She was treated by Israel following her terrorist attack attempt. 

She is included on the list of 300 Palestinians who might walk free in return for 50 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7. 

Hisham Awartani shared a hospital bed photo on Instagram. His family say he is unlikely to move his legs ever again

Hisham Awartani shared a hospital bed photo on Instagram. His family say he is unlikely to move his legs ever again

Hisham Awartani shared a hospital bed photo on Instagram. His family say he is unlikely to move his legs ever again

Eaton's mother said he is a 'very religious' person but had seemed normal on Thanksgiving

Eaton's mother said he is a 'very religious' person but had seemed normal on Thanksgiving

Jason J. Eaton, 48, the suspected gunman in the shooting of three Palestinian students in Vermont

Jason J. Eaton, 48, the suspected gunman in the shooting of three Palestinian students in Vermont

Eaton’s mother said he is a ‘very religious’ person but had seemed normal on Thanksgiving

Jason James Eaton, the suspect, allegedly shot the students without stating a motive and has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges. 

Eaton was described by family as being a ‘spiritual person,’ who was acting normal on Thanksgiving, just two days before the shooting.

The students were speaking in Arabic and English and two of them were wearing keffiyehs, leading police to believe it was a hate-motivated attack.

Police say he confronted the students after emerging from a porch, shooting them all without saying anything about his motive.

He was arrested on Sunday at his home, and is said to have told police: ‘I’ve been waiting for you.’

Eaton today pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder. The 48-year-old was a full-time sales assistant for CUSO Financial Services in Williston – but he was terminated on November 8.

He worked at the company for less than a year before being sacked for undisclosed reasons.

While he was still an employee, he described his role with the phrase ‘laying down my life for my friends,’ on his professional social media page.

Elisabeth Rutledge, a company spokeswoman, told the Boston Globe: ‘We are horrified by the shooting and are cooperating with law enforcement as they investigate.’

But prosecutors said today there is not yet enough evidence to charge Eaton with a hate crime, and that they do not yet know what his motive was.

President Biden spoke with Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger today and later released a statement to condemn the attack.

Awartani’s relatives told NPR earlier today: ‘The doctors are currently saying it’s unlikely he’ll be able to use his legs again.

‘He’s confronting a life of disability, a potentially irreversible change to his life and what it means for his future.’

The bullet pierced his spine and is now lodged there. Doctors say operating to remove it would be too dangerous.

The family of a second victim, Kinnan Abdelhamid, said he is ‘still shaken’ from the shooting and too ‘afraid’ to leave the hospital. 

‘Kinnan told us that he was afraid to leave the hospital. Our child may be physically well enough to be out of the hospital, but he is still shaken from this horrific attack. We know that this tragedy will shape the rest of our lives,’ his family said. 

‘While this has been a devastating time for our family, we are extremely proud of our son. In the face of hate, he has exhibited courage and strength. No child should have to endure this pain. As parents, our primary focus is our son’s health, safety, and future.’ 

First responders loading one of the victims into an ambulance after Saturday's shooting

First responders loading one of the victims into an ambulance after Saturday's shooting

First responders loading one of the victims into an ambulance after Saturday’s shooting 

His family, who live in the West Bank, sent him to the US because they thought he would be safer here.

Suspect Eaton is a 48-year-old former financial adviser and part-time farmer who describes himself as a ‘radical’ libertarian on the ‘ADHD spectrum’.

His social media pages are largely private, but hint at a disillusionment towards America.

Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said investigators believe Eaton moved to Burlington, having previously lived in Syracuse.

His work history is based mainly in New York State. According to his social media, he worked as an assistant scoutmaster for a Cub Scout troop until 2021.

The Boy Scouts said in a statement: ‘Mr. Eaton’s alleged actions do not reflect the values of Scouting.

Since the Hamas massacre of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) has recorded a nearly 400 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States, compared to the same period last year.

According to a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization also received an increase of requests for help and reports of bias between 7 October and 4 November.

The group received a total of 1,283 requests for help and reports of bias between 7 October and 4 November – the majority being related to ‘free speech issues,’ according to the organization. 

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