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Palestinian boy, 8, loses eye after being shot by Israeli police in Jerusalem

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The story of a Palestinian boy who lost an eye after being shot in the face by Israeli police has angered Palestinians across the occupied territories who see the incident as another tragic example of Israel’s wrongful targeting of Palestinians with excessive force.

Eight-year-old Malek Issa was on his way home from buying a sandwich on Saturday afternoon in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya when he was shot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by an Israeli police officer.

Issa’s family told local media that the boy had left a restaurant and was headed home when he was shot by police, allegedly at point blank range.

While Israeli police claimed that their officers were engaging in “riot control” measures in Issawiya, video footage of the moments before the shooting, published by Haaretz, shows what appears to be normal activity in the street.

Amid a number of unassuming pedestrians and vehicles, a child in a blue hoodie, purportedly Issa, can be seen dashing across the street and disappearing around the corner, out of sight of the camera.

Moments later, all the pedestrians in view of the camera suddenly duck their heads, seemingly in response to the gunshots, and beginning running. A group of young men are then seen rushing out from the side street where Issa had entered, carrying his flailing body into a civilian car to be taken to the hospital.

By Tuesday, the family of Issa reported that his condition had stabilized, but that he had lost sight in his left eye, and would be needing surgery likely to remove his eye and to stop internal bleeding.

In a video published by the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, a Palestinian NGO in the neighboring town of Silwan, Issa’s father Wael says his son “escaped death” and that there was likely no brain damage — something the family feared would happen due to the severity of his injuries.

#العيسوية #اصابة الوالد: " اصابة مالك كانت قاتلة… نجا من الموت.. لكنه فقد بصره في العين اليسرى "آخر تطورات الحالة الصحية للطفل مالك عيسى 8سنوات والذي اصيب السبت بعيار مطاطي وهو في طريقه الى منزله عائدا من مدرسته .. برفقة شقيقاته حاملا حقيبته المدرسية وبعض السكاكر!! #تفاصيل#Issawiya#InjuryThe child's father: "Malek's injury was fatal … He survived … but he lost his sight in the left eye."The latest development of the health condition of the boy, Malek Issa, 8 years old, who was wounded with a rubber bullet on his way home from school .. accompanied by his sisters, carrying his school bag and some candy !! #details

Posted by ‎Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan مركز معلومات وادي حلوه -سلوان‎ on Tuesday, February 18, 2020


Wael added that there was fear that if doctors could not control the internal bleeding, the inflammation from Malek’s left eye could spread to his right eye.

No stone throwing or ‘rioting’ preceded shot

Israeli police told the media that the officer in question claimed to have fired his weapon at a wall for “calibration” purposes, and that he thought Issa was hit by an alleged Palestinian stone-thrower.

In a report, Haaretz quoted eyewitnesses who said Israeli policemen were just “standing there” in the neighborhood, and that no stone throwing or “rioting” was happening.

The witnesses said that the officer was knowingly aimed at the boy and fired directly at him. One witness, a local bus driver, said that when he confronted the officer over what he had done, “he told me to move on,” while his fellow officers threatened to beat the bus driver up.

According to Haaretz, the Justice Ministry’s unit for investigating police officers took statement from eyewitnesses, but was not yet undertaking an official investigation, but rather a “probe” into the incident.

As of Wednesday, the policeman in question had not yet been summoned by the ministry to give an official statement on the matter.

It remained unclear if the officer was still on active duty following the shooting.

An all too common occurrence

The shooting of Issa struck a chord with Palestinians across the occupied territory due to the chilling familiarity of the incident.

Stories like Issa’s are not uncommon: a 10-year-old boy suffered severe brain damage after being shot in the head with live ammunition in Kafr Qaddum last fall; a 14-year-old boy lost his leg after being shot while playing soccer with his friends last spring; a 15-year-old boy lost a portion of his skull after being shot in the head in 2018.

In each of the cases listed above, the Palestinian boys who were injured were reportedly engaged in mundane activities, like Issa, and were still targeted by Israeli forces. Additionally, in each case, no wrongdoing was found on part of the soldiers or officers responsible.

Palestinians and human rights groups have long criticized Israel for its excessive use of force against Palestinians and the lack of accountability for the Israeli soldiers who commit such crimes.

In East Jerusalem, residents complain of over policing of their neighborhoods by Israeli police, unnecessary stops and searches of minors and young men, and frequent raids and arrests.

Over the past year, Issawiya has been subject to an increased Israeli police presence, daily raids, including on schools, and the forceful arrest of residents.

In June, a 21-year-old youth from the town was shot dead during protests. Rights groups later said that he posed no direct threat to soldiers at the time.

Locals alleged that the number of arrests in the last half of 2019 is as high as 600, with child arrests in Issawiya making up 41 per cent of all child detentions recorded in East Jerusalem.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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5 Responses

  1. Misterioso on February 20, 2020, 7:15 pm

    “As ye sow. so shall ye reap”

    “The Moral Devastation of the Continued Occupation”
    Part One of a Two-Part Series by Alon Ben-Meir / February 18th, 2020

    “I have long maintained that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank defies the moral principle behind the creation of the state. Contrary to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s assertion, the occupation erodes rather than buttresses Israel’s national security and cannot be justified on either security or moral grounds. Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ is tantamount to perpetuating the occupation, which will be to Israel’s detriment. Unless Israel embraces a new moral path and ends the occupation, no one can prevent it from unravelling from within only to become a pariah state that has lost its soul, wantonly abandoning the cherished dreams of its founding fathers to have an independent democratic Jewish state.

    “There are four ethical theories—Kantian, utilitarian, virtue-based, and religious—that demonstrate the lack of moral foundation in Trump’s peace plan. In this article I will discuss the Kantian, utilitarian moral theories and in the following article I will cover the virtue-based, and religious theories.

    “The first moral theory is deontological ethics, whose greatest representative is Immanuel Kant. According to this theory, consequences are irrelevant to the moral rightness or wrongness of an action; what matters is whether the action is done for the sake of duty or out of respect for the moral law.

    “Kant provided several formulations of the moral law, which he refers to as the categorical imperative; for our purposes, what is most important are his first two formulations. The first is the principle that morality requires us to act only on those maxims we can universalize. As he puts it, ‘Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.’ In short, never do anything that you couldn’t will everybody else to do at the same time.

    “The question is whether the Israeli occupation is a policy that can be universalized and pass this test of moral reasoning. The answer is clearly no; the policy of occupation is rationally inconsistent, as it requires Israel to exempt itself from moral and political norms that the rest of the international community recognizes (and which serve to protect Israel itself).

    “Israel is making an exception of itself – which is the capital sin, according to Kant, as in effect Israel is saying: ‘We don’t have to live by the same rules as everyone else.’ This is evident from the fact that Israel denies the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and justifies that in the name of national security, even though the achievement of absolute security would invariably render the Palestinians absolutely vulnerable.

    “Whereas Israel has agreed numerous times to a two-state solution, it continues to usurp Palestinian land, thereby violating international agreements which Israel is signatory to (UN Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords). In doing so, Israel is clearly defying the first formulation of the categorical imperative, which as Kant showed, requires us to honor our agreements and contracts. That is, Israel is acting on a maxim or policy of breaking its agreements to serve its self-interest, which cannot be universalized without contradiction because then the institution of reaching international agreements cannot be sustained, which obviously don’t bother either Trump or Netanyahu.

    “Although many countries break international contracts, that does not affect Kant’s argument as he knew full well that people lie, cheat, and steal. His concern is with the principle of morality and what it requires regardless of whether these requirements are, in fact, met. By maintaining the occupation, Israel is flouting the moral law while expecting the Palestinians to uphold the same norms.

    “The second formulation is to never treat another person merely as a means, but always also as an end in themselves. In other words, what Kant is saying is that as free rational beings who can act in accordance with morality, each of us possesses intrinsic worth which implies that we must respect the inherent dignity of each individual.

    “In the case of the Palestinians who are under occupation, Israel is treating them as objects rather than persons who can rationally consent to the way they are being treated. Israel is coercing the Palestinians physically and psychologically by denying them human rights, through, for example, administrative detention, night raids, and expulsion, thereby robbing them of their dignity and denying them their autonomy, which Trump’s Deal only reinforces.

    “The second moral theory is Utilitarianism, which in its modern form originated in England with the works of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. In contrast to Kantianism, this theory places all emphasis on the consequences of our actions. It states that an action is morally right if it produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.

    “The moral evaluation of any policy depends on whether it maximizes utility. Utilitarianism agrees with Kant on one fundamental point, which is that morality prohibits making an exception of oneself. For obvious reasons, governments give greater priority to their own people. But does the occupation maximize the security and well-being of all Israelis?

    “In spite of the fact that Israel takes extraordinary measures to enhance its security, the occupation is, in fact, undermining the security of the state, as is evident from the repeated bloody clashes which have intensified since unveiling of the peace plan, and the costly state of readiness that Israel must maintain. Moreover, if Israel were to extend its moral considerations beyond its own people to include the Palestinians, then the policy of occupation still fails on utilitarian grounds even more acutely.

    “To be sure, while Israel resorts to utilitarian arguments to justify its treatment of the Palestinians, in the process Israel reveals the classic pitfall of utilitarian thinking. It ultimately does not provide sufficient protection and respect for human rights, which directly erodes Israel’s moral standing within the community of nations.”
    Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

  2. Kay24 on February 20, 2020, 8:41 pm

    They are vicious animals wearing the uniform of their country. They are sadists who take pleasure in wounding and killing unarmed children. If this was an Israeli kid, the zionists would be howling with outrage, and crying for revenge. This is a slow genocide of helpless civilians, and the world seems to be watching and doing nothing. They occupy, they steal, they kill, they wound, they defy international laws, they justify, they lie, and the US and other enablers, try to convince us the victims are the aggressors. What kind of bull crap is this?

    This poor little boy is yet another victim of Israel’s endless crimes.
    The world has accepted the violence as the norm, and does nothing.

    • Misterioso on February 20, 2020, 8:57 pm


      Well said!

      “They occupy, they steal, they kill, they wound, they defy international laws, they justify, they lie, …”

      And they’re slowly digging their graves!!

  3. just on February 21, 2020, 9:04 pm

    The US is further disgracing itself, following Israel’s lead… can’t handle the truth @ all:

    US bars entry to researcher who exposes Israeli rights abuses …

    Forensic Architecture, based in the UK, uses groundbreaking methodologies such as digital forensics and spatial analysis to expose human rights abuses. The group has published several investigations concerning Israeli violations against Palestinians.

    Weizman, who holds Israeli and British passports, was due to travel to the US for Forensic Architecture’s first major survey in the country at Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design. The exhibition, titled Forensic Architecture: True to Scale, opened on Thursday and runs through late September.

    That exhibition includes new findings concerning the brutal beating of Faisal al-Natsheh in the West Bank city of Hebron in 2014. The investigation relies on a virtual reality model of the site of the assault and cross-referenced testimony from Dean Issacharoff, the soldier who beat al-Natsheh, as well as testimony from two witnesses.

    Weizman had also intended to use his trip to the US to advance an investigation into a Florida detention center where migrant children are held in cruel conditions.

    Two days before his scheduled departure, US authorities informed Weizman by email that his right to travel to the country under a visa waiver program had been revoked because an algorithm had identified a security threat. …

    Exposing injustices

    Forensic Architecture analyzed multiple video and audio sources and employed computer modeling to pinpoint the Israeli Border Police officer who killed unarmed Palestinian teenager Nadim Siam Nuwara in May 2014.

    The Border Police officer, Ben Dery, received a nine-month prison sentence over the 17-year-old’s killing – a lenient sentence but exceedingly rare conviction over the slaying of a Palestinian by Israeli occupation forces.

    In partnership with the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Forensic Architecture revealed that Israel doctored footage in an attempt to cover up the killing of two boys in Gaza in 2017.

    Analysis by the group also contradicted Israel’s claims that a Palestinian citizen of Israel was attempting to attack police with his car when officers shot him during a home demolition raid in the unrecognized village of Umm al-Hiran in 2017.

    Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan, a math teacher, bled to death after being shot and was branded as a terrorist by Israeli political leaders. …”

    more @

  4. Lillian Rosengarten on February 22, 2020, 2:37 pm

    How absolutely disgusting. How much longer can these Israeli criminals continue . It is unbelievable how similarly the hatred of Palestinians can be compared to the Nazi hatred of Jews (and others). History really repeats itself.

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