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Mohammad Tamimi: ‘They beat me into confessing’

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Mohammad Tamimi, 15, was shot point-blank in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet following a protest in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank in December.

The bullet, considered by Israel as a “non-lethal weapon” in the West Bank, entered his face below his nose and lodged into the back of his skull.

He was placed under a medically-induced coma and woke up 72 hours later after a series of surgeries.

Doctors were forced to remove a portion of his skull owing to inflammation in his brain. His head is now deformed and a part of his brain is left unprotected.

Manal Tamimi is Mohammad’s relative and a prominent activist in Nabi Saleh, where residents have led non-violent protests against the Israeli occupation for years. She saw Mohammad’s injury just a few minutes after the incident. “His face was full of blood. We couldn’t even tell it was him. We all thought he was going to die.”

Manal Tamimi (Photo: Jaclynn Ashly)

The doctors who performed the surgery were preparing the right words to inform Mohammad’s family that their son had lost his life. But, surprisingly, he survived. “No one thought he would make it,” Manal told Mondoweiss.

Since Mohammad was released from the hospital, his condition continues to be “very bad,” Fadel Tamimi, Mohammad’s father, tells Mondoweiss. He has not recovered even 50 percent, he says.

“He still doesn’t see well with his left eye and his right hand and leg are not strong. He has to swing himself when he walks. Somebody must always stay near him to make sure he doesn’t fall down when he walks,” Fadel said.

The teen is not permitted to even ride in a taxi owing to his exposed brain, Manal adds.

However, Mohammad’s severe injuries did not stop Israeli forces from barging into his family’s home at 3 a.m. on Monday and arresting the teen, along with nine other residents — the majority of whom were minors.

To add insult to injury, before Mohammad was released from Israeli custody a few hours later, he was forced into confessing that his head wound was not sustained by Israeli forces shooting him in the face, but was instead the result of an unfortunate bicycle accident.

Forced Confession

Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), celebrated Mohammad’s alleged confession on the agency’s Arabic Facebook page, saying that the minor had admitted himself during interrogations that the injury was sustained from a bicycle accident.

CT scan of the bullet in Mohammed Tamimi’s head. (Image via Nabi Saleh Popular Committee)

This statement was published despite the fact that it contradicts medical records, a CT scan, eyewitness accounts, and an image of the actual rubber bullet after it was removed from Mohammad’s skull.

Manal’s first reaction was to laugh. “Israel will literally say anything to discredit us and ruin our village’s image. They can’t stand that the rest of the world is on our side.”

On Tuesday, COGAT released another statement on the incident saying that Mohammad had “conveyed” the bicycle story “a number of times” to Israeli officials.

“According to the boy’s version, he suffered a head injury when he fell from off his electric bicycle and his head bashed against the bicycle handlebars,” the statement read.

The statement goes on: “We shall continue revealing the truth in order to expose the Palestinian mechanism of incitement.”

However, Mohammad says that he admitted that he was injured from a bicycle accident because Israeli forces had “beaten him” into confessing.

“We were in a car on our way to the interrogations and there were two Israeli officials who kept beating me in my face, back, everywhere and kept telling me that I had to admit it was a bicycle accident,” Mohammad told Mondoweiss.

The Israeli officials also confiscated medicine from Mohammad’s pocket; medicine which is crucial for his recovery. They refused to give it back to him unless he admitted that Israeli soldiers did not actually shoot him, Mohammad says.

“I was very scared and I didn’t want them to continue beating me, so I confessed,” the 15-year-old explained.

Fadel, Mohammad’s father, remains confused about Israel’s motives. “I don’t know why they are so focused on discrediting the truth. I think they just want to find a way to get out of taking responsibility for what happened — especially since Mohammad’s case has gotten so much media attention.”

‘Dehumanizing’ campaign

When Ahed Tamimi was informed of Mohammad’s injury on the same day, the then 16-year-old, who has witnessed her parents dragged away by soldiers on numerous occasions and her relatives killed, finally snapped.

She threw a slap that sent ripples throughout the world. Following her arrest a few days later, hundreds of journalists paraded to the small some 600-person village to interview the residents.

“Since Ahed’s arrest there has literally only been three days that we haven’t had a journalist come to our home,” Manal told Mondoweiss.

The international attention the Tamimi family has received in the wake of Ahed’s arrest has not sat well with Israeli authorities. Some Israeli officials have advocated a harsh prison sentence for Ahed, now 17, while others went so far as to encourage violence against the teen.

Last month, reports emerged that Michael Oren, an Israeli deputy minister and former ambassador to the United States, had led a Knesset subcommittee inquiry two years ago into whether the Tamimi family were indeed a real family.

The inquiry explored whether the Tamimi family were hired actors who were put together in order to advance “Palestinian propaganda,” and questioned whether they were Palestinian at all, owing to their blond hair, light skin, and blue eyes.

Fadi Quran, senior campaigner at the advocacy group Avaaz, says that Israel uses these tactics to “shift the spotlight away from its abhorrent abuses of basic human rights.”

The Tamimi family has become a prime target for Israel’s crackdown because the residents were able to “humanize Palestinians to an international audience” during their near decade-long nonviolent resistance.

“People saw brave men, women and children facing live bullets and armed soldiers,” Quran pointed out.

But, according to Quran, the “humanization” of Palestinians is a dangerous challenge to Israel’s policies in the West Bank.

“Israel’s goal is not just to de-legitimize the Tamimi family, it is to dehumanize them so that the world does not flinch if they are shot in the head or their children are dragged from bed and arrested,” he said.

“This is not new — Israel has pursued [a campaign] of dehumanizing Palestinians in the media for decades.”

‘Remain silent’

While Israel leads a campaign to “dehumanize” the Tamimi family on the international stage, they have simultaneously led a crackdown on the village for months.

At least 19 residents have been arrested since Ahed’s slap. At least 13 are still in Israeli custody, including Manal’s two sons. Most have been arrested during overnight detention raids.

According to Mohammad, when he was released from Israeli custody, he was told by Israeli authorities to send his village a message: “We will arrest everyone in your village.”

On Monday evening, Israeli intelligence called the homes of seven families in Nabi Saleh and ordered their sons to come to the police station for interrogations, according to Manal.

They threatened the families that if their sons did not show for interrogations, then Israeli forces would raid the village again and “everyone will pay the price,” Manal tells Mondoweiss.

The escalating crackdown on the village has forced residents to take unprecedented measures, including organizing “practice drills” earlier this month to prepare the children and teens in the village for Israeli detentions.

The drills included blindfolding some 30 children in the village and having them undergo mock interrogations, based on the experiences of other residents who have been arrested by Israeli forces.

Quran was the individual who led these drills in Nabi Saleh and he has done the same with 2,000 other Palestinian children across the West Bank who were expected to be targeted in Israeli detention raids.

“Our trainings teach the children key skills in psychological well-being, remaining silent, knowing what to expect when arrested, and building community that helps ensure they withstand even the toughest forms of interrogation and abuse,” Quran explained.

This is imperative to protect the children, Quran said. He said that, for instance, Israeli authorities had threatened Ahed that they would arrest her 11-year-old cousin Jana Jihad if she refused to confess to the charges against her.

The drills were aimed to prepare them for Israeli interrogation tactics like these and to ensure that the children understand their rights, Manal says.

While some have criticized the village’s use of these drills, residents argue that it’s an unfortunate reality that Israel targets children in the village with detention.

And, indeed, one of the participants of the detention drill, 13-year-old Sohayib Tamimi, was one of the 10 residents detained in the overnight raid on Monday. Residents hope that the training and preparation he received will make his experience in Israeli detention less traumatic.

Jaclynn Ashly

Jaclynn Ashly is a journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. You can find her on Twitter @jaclynnashly

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57 Responses

  1. Emet on February 28, 2018, 10:10 am

    Lies and half truths. This story is contested. It is also being said that he fell off his bicycle. Publish the x-rays.

    • John O on February 28, 2018, 11:06 am

      They’ve been published, including in an earlier post on MW. However, your sheer incompetence at defending Israel is of great assistance to the cause of justice for the people of Palestine, so don’t give up just yet.

    • oldgeezer on February 28, 2018, 11:17 am

      There are released medical records and non-Palestinian eye witnesses.

      The only liars are the criminal israelis.

    • eljay on February 28, 2018, 11:28 am

      || Emet: Lies and half truths. … ||

      Please specify which part(s) of the medical report by Istishari Arab Hospital are false. (Or is it all false because the hospital name has the word “Arab” in it?)

      || … This story is contested. It is also being said that he fell off his bicycle. … ||

      Evidence for the shooting has been supplied. Where’s the evidence to support the “he fell off his bicycle” version of events?

    • Mooser on February 28, 2018, 11:57 am

      “Publish the x-rays.”

      You don’t even look at the articles, do you?

    • amigo on February 28, 2018, 2:15 pm

      What did you fall off emet.

      Your own petard.

      • RoHa on February 28, 2018, 5:57 pm

        Pssst! A petard is a bomb. Falling off it is probably safer than staying on it.

      • Cazador on March 1, 2018, 10:35 am


        A pétard is a fire cracker in French. Emet fell off something more powerful. Who knows if he was hurt by a rubber bullet on the head, considering his logical thinking… Show us the x-rays, Emet.

      • RoHa on March 1, 2018, 5:42 pm

        Maybe a firecracker in modern French, but originally it was a shaped charge, inside a bell-shaped case, used to blow open doors and make holes in fortifications.

        Hence: “the engineer hoist with his own petard”.

      • eljay on March 1, 2018, 7:22 pm

        || RoHa: Maybe a firecracker in modern French, but originally it was a shaped charge, inside a bell-shaped case, used to blow open doors and make holes in fortifications.

        Hence: “the engineer hoist with his own petard”. ||

        No, it was an especially strong fart (péter): “the engineer; hoisted, by he’s own pétard’s”. Climb down from your tower already, you elitist and arrogant pos. :-P

      • RoHa on March 1, 2018, 7:45 pm

        There is certainly a connection between petards and péter. I do not know whether it is the nature of Frenchmen, or just that weird French food.

      • echinococcus on March 1, 2018, 11:00 pm


        Actually, RoHa is entirely correct; as signaled by “engineer” within the same Shksp quote . As for French, the first recorded use of pétard, from 1495, denotes an explosive charge to blow up an obstacle (just as described by R for the English engineer’s petard), while its use for artillery items comes about a century later –firecracker is 19th century.
        As for farting, any fart is a “pet”, even if not “especially strong”.

      • Tuyzentfloot on March 2, 2018, 4:54 am

        The origins of petard and péter are Latin and Greek. ‘Pedo’ , or foot, is used to describe escaping, fleeing. So they’re no onomatopoeia.

      • RoHa on March 2, 2018, 8:38 pm

        Echi, this is why it is probably best to avoid going to a pet shop in France.

      • echinococcus on March 4, 2018, 1:59 am

        Actually, RoHa, anywhere in France is becoming intolerable. The place is looking and behaving more and more like any of the English-speaking Puritan holes; one might as well sit tight in the US and save the trip expenses.

      • RoHa on March 4, 2018, 4:36 am

        It has always been a dubious place. Runny cheese, for starters.

      • Mooser on March 4, 2018, 1:19 pm

        “It has always been a dubious place. Runny cheese, for starters.”

        But in France every Frenchman knows his language fro “A” to “Zed”. (The French never care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce in properly.)

    • zaid on February 28, 2018, 3:09 pm

      no sane person would believe that this child lost have his skull due to a bicycle accident.

      • just on February 28, 2018, 5:29 pm

        ““Having been interrogated under such conditions, it’s no wonder if Tamimi indeed confessed to sustaining the injury due to a bike accident,” he said. “He may as well have confessed to it being the result of a dolphin-back-riding accident in the sea of Nabi Saleh.””

        I expect no sanity from any Zionist or their supporters. I fervently hope that this entire unfolding and heartbreaking debacle (courtesy of israel) will continue to shed light and the truth and somehow finally force the collective eyes wide open of the complicit ‘Israel is wonderful’ world.

        I hope that they vomit every day while looking at each other. It should be more harsh, but I like the image…

      • echinococcus on March 1, 2018, 11:03 pm


        no sane person would believe…

        They aren’t talking to any sane persons but to Zionists and American TV-watchers.

    • chocopie on February 28, 2018, 4:59 pm

      Just look at his face. Where is your humanity?

    • RoHa on February 28, 2018, 5:55 pm

      And this why the Israeli soldiers do what they can to save children from such horrific accidents.

    • CigarGod on March 1, 2018, 10:30 am

      Everytime a Zionist speaks, Judaism suffers.

    • Misterioso on March 1, 2018, 11:22 am


      You are so f****d up. With supporters like you, Israel needs no critics

    • genesto on March 1, 2018, 12:22 pm

      Grow up and see the truth for what it plainly shows itself to be! I’m truly sick and tired of the Zionist spin doctors who will not – and, seemingly, cannot – FACE THE TRUTH about history of their precious Jewish state and the fantasy narrative they’ve been told about it since they were practically infants.

      Once again, GROW UP, stop believing everything your parents told you and THINK FOR YOURSELVES!!

    • johneill on March 1, 2018, 11:41 pm

      if it were a bike accident: what’s it say about israel that they arrested a child in the middle of the night (along with a dozen members of his family, most of whom have yet to be released) and interrogated him without his parents or a lawyer present – to investigate a damn bike accident?

      • RoHa on March 2, 2018, 8:42 pm

        It says that Israel is very strict about maintaining public safety. Even bike accidents get a full inquiry.

  2. amigo on February 28, 2018, 11:48 am

    Agreed Emet.

    They should be handed over to a neutral internstional body.

    But even if they are deemed legitimate . you and your ilk will then accuse said neutral body of being antisemites and jew haters.

    Dont you idiots ever tire of embarassing yourselves.

    Zionism is on it.s last legs and going down fast.enjoy the fall.I know I will.

    • gamal on February 28, 2018, 12:54 pm

      “I know I will”

      something to keep us warm during the 48hrs curfew we under apparently from 4pm tomorrow, Leinster too, Mooser wrote snow and here we are.

  3. Ossinev on February 28, 2018, 1:00 pm

    “Lies and half truths”
    Please do elucidate:
    As in what in your “judgement” are the lies and what are the “half truths”.

  4. Jackdaw on February 28, 2018, 2:14 pm

    I admit this doesn’t look good. What does Mohammad Tamimi look like now?

      • ToivoS on February 28, 2018, 6:09 pm

        Just, what is interesting about your post is that it is the WaPo that published that article. How often does that happen, i.e. the WaPo defying the Israeli official line. Now that is news.

      • RoHa on February 28, 2018, 8:09 pm

        I, too, was astonished to see it. I didn’t know US newspapers were allowed to publish that sort of thing.

    • John O on February 28, 2018, 3:42 pm

      “I admit this doesn’t look good. ”

      … as Nixon said after Watergate.

    • chocopie on February 28, 2018, 5:16 pm

      They arrested a medically fragile minor who has part of his skull missing and his brain unprotected. You’re right it doesn’t look good. It looks terrible. Who would do that? What government in the world would haul a child in that condition out of his home? It is unbelievable.

      • on February 28, 2018, 8:34 pm

        And take his life saving medication and beat him while in that medically fragile condition – only the most moral army in the world would do that.

        It will be incidents like these that will line the walls of future Nakba memorials and museums exposing the virulent racism of Jewish Zionists and Israel.

    • annie on March 2, 2018, 3:00 am

      jack, he looks like a surviver. someone willing to comply and agree to a far fetched make-believe story to facilitate staying alive and going home to his family. and i presume, after a healing period, doctors will replace that part of his skull currently missing and the shape of his head won’t always be that way. if israel doesn’t kill him first.

      • Jackdaw on March 2, 2018, 11:10 am

        Coercing confessions from 15 y.o.’s is the easiest thing in the world.

        I don’t believe his arrest had any value.

        That said, I believe the greatest problem now facing us, is not the I/P conflict.

        One day, your grandchildren are going to ask you why didn’t you save the planet, and you will have no good answer.

      • Mooser on March 2, 2018, 12:37 pm

        “One day, your grandchildren are going to ask you why didn’t you save the planet, and you will have no good answer.”

        Yes, “Jackdaw”, our grandchildren will have (like the Rabbi informed about solar explosion) only one question…

      • Mooser on March 2, 2018, 1:04 pm

        “One day, your grandchildren…”

        “Jackdaw” as an advocate for Israel you are such a roseh avis, it’s only fair to give you a little help.

        BTW, doesn’t ‘Israel’ have enough illegal and uncontrolled nuclear weapons to lay waste a good portion of the globe?

      • oldgeezer on March 2, 2018, 1:48 pm

        One day jackdaw’s grandchildren will ask him why he didn’t save the planet. All he will be able to to answer is that I was too busy defending a racist supremacist apartheid state and trying to justify it’s constant daily human rights abuses against millions of people. No they weren’t a client I just agreed with them.

      • RoHa on March 2, 2018, 8:47 pm

        “to justify it’s constant daily human rights abuses”

        Oh, Tuyzentfloot!

  5. JosephA on February 28, 2018, 11:57 pm

    Just when I thought the Israeli war and propaganda machine couldn’t get any more terrible… then, this savagery against the 15 year old Mohammad Tamimi.

    Also, as an aside, I am:
    – NOT surprised that the genius Emet spouted his nonsense, the same old story, every time
    – VERY surprised that this story was in the Washington Post. Bravo!

    • on March 1, 2018, 10:23 am

      Agreed – it shocked me that the Post ran with this. I’m sure a Pro Israel story will soon follow followed by many many more.

      • genesto on March 1, 2018, 12:26 pm

        How long can these so-called eminent, mainstream news sources, like WaPo, continue to run from the truth? This tells us that the answer is not forever!

        Can the Zionist-controlled NYT be far behind??

  6. Ossinev on March 1, 2018, 7:16 am

    Just been announced that the UK`s Prince William will be making the first ever official Royal Visit to Israel and also to what the Royal Press Office describe as the”Occupied Territories”
    Big problem for the Zraelis. He could get to see and meet some Palestinian children in the West Bank and possibly (horror of horrors) meet Ahed and Mohammad.
    What are the poor Zraelis going to do.Possibly detain and lock up all Palestinians of either sex on suspicion of being Palestinians for the duration of the visit?
    The Yahoo,Rivlin and co are singing the praises at the moment ( 70th anniversary of the establishment of the colony etc) but as the date gets closer they may well be in a panic.

    • on March 1, 2018, 11:36 am

      Can you imagine if the Prince did meet with the Tamimis – perhaps Ahed could give him a well deserved slap for not inviting her and her family to the Balfour celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary. I’m sure if they did, they would have been eating real hummous at the festivities not the pirated Israeli version. Heck, the Tamimis could have served all the guests so as to reassure them of their subservient social status. Nothing makes the privileged happier than being served by the very people they have tamed / domesticated – it reminds them of all the good they have done in spreading civility to the savages.

      I honestly wonder whether the Prince has any clue of his country’s complicity in creating the mess that is present day Israel. And if he is aware – why isn’t he too ashamed to show up in the OT? How do you become shameless?

      • Mayhem on March 4, 2018, 10:17 pm

        @LHunter, take off your blinders and take a look at the Middle East in its entirety. Israel is the biggest success story by far in the region preventing a small fraction of this part of the world from sinking totally and irreparably into an Islamic abyss.

      • Mooser on March 5, 2018, 2:20 pm

        Israel is the biggest success story by far in the region preventing a small fraction of this part of the world from sinking totally and irreparably into an Islamic abyss.”

        Yeah, that’s great, a couple of million Jews against 2 billion Muslims. You like those odds, “Mayhem”?

        And naturally, every Jews in the world will agree with you, that’s just what we came this far to do, get in a conflict with Islam.

      • eljay on March 5, 2018, 3:41 pm

        || Mayhem: @LHunter, take off your blinders and take a look at the Middle East in its entirety. Israel is the biggest success story by far in the region preventing a small fraction of this part of the world from sinking totally and irreparably into an Islamic abyss. ||

        Israel is the biggest success story because the U.S. gives it “unwavering commitment” / “unbreakable bond” / “no light between” political, financial, military and economic support. Had the U.S. spent the past few decades treating Israel the way it has treated Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan (to name but a few states), that small fraction of that part of the world would have sunk totally and irreparably into a Judaic abyss.

        Take your blinders off.

      • on March 28, 2018, 2:23 pm

        Mayhem – sorry it took a while to take the blinders off – done now and what I’ve come to notice is just how ugly and vile Israel is to the whole region having started wars of aggression against Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. Now Iran is lined up. Just a bunch of punks and criminals that are sly enough to have US backing for now. When that disappears so will a Jewish state. Then you will need to crawl back under your rock and wait for the Messiah like the rest of us.

  7. nrhunter on March 1, 2018, 10:37 am

    I used to struggle to try to find at least one redeeming quality to attribute to the State of Israel. I have given up – the State of Israel has no redeeming quality whatsoever. The more I have read the more I realize it has NEVER had any redeeming quality but, rather, is a State built on lies, hatred, murder, terror, racism and self-deception.

    • genesto on March 1, 2018, 12:28 pm

      There are some good and brave people there, some of which are friends of mine. But, as a state, you’re right. Israel seems to lack any socially redeeming qualities at this point.

      • nrhunter on March 2, 2018, 10:30 am

        Thanks for noting – my comments were directed at the State not toward the individual citizen.

  8. Cazador on March 1, 2018, 10:43 am


    ““Having been interrogated under such conditions, it’s no wonder if Tamimi indeed confessed to sustaining the injury due to a bike accident,” he said. “He may as well have confessed to it being the result of a dolphin-back-riding accident in the sea of Nabi Saleh.””

    Dolphins are too humane for such a negligence or attempt… It wouldn’t surprise me if the Israelis tried to train some to carry bombs and explode with them close enough to ships and boats of various sizes. That way the absence of Israeli boats would clear zionists from verbal and other types of attacks from the country’s boat sunk. BDS I SAY! That’s the only thing that shows Israeli/zionists’ scare. Cut the source of money, obviously.

  9. Jane Porter on March 2, 2018, 6:17 pm

    Wel, if WAPO dares to publish this story, it means that the situation or Israel is not so good anymore in the western countries and especially in the US. who supported them until now.
    Interesting too, the comments on the article, especially the zionist ones.
    And when you see how the intellectual contribution of Jewish communities has been important for Europe through the centuries and now , we see how much damage Zionism, in Israel and elsewhere has done to this,and how lot’s of these zionists complete brainwashed idiots are supported by western racist idiots and crooks for their own purpose.
    But luckily intelligent and courageous Israelis, though they were brainwashed there from the cradle,realized that and are fighting today against zionism . As a young brilliant Israeli writer said(sorry I forgot his name): “Israel is the dirt under Europe’s nails. Indeed what Europe could not do after they lost their colonies, they applaud Israel for what it does to the Palestinians and other countries around it. ..They receive Liberman and Nethanyahu like heroes all the time.

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