Palestinian Boy May Lose Eye after Being Shot by ‘Israeli’ Police
By Sondus Ewies - MEE
An eight-year-old Palestinian boy is likely to lose one of his eyes after being shot by ‘Israeli’ police with a rubber-coated steel bullet after he stepped out from a restaurant.
According to the boy's family and eyewitnesses, Malek Issa was deliberately shot between the eyes on Saturday after he bought a sandwich in the East al-Quds village of Issawiya.
Medics said the impact of the shooting was so severe that Issa may have suffered brain damage.
"Malek is awake but his condition is difficult. The shot has caused fractures to the skull and face, and brain hemorrhage," Issa's father, Wael, told Middle East Eye.
Eyewitnesses said there were no violent protests or stones being thrown when ‘Israeli’ forces started firing.
Wael said ‘Israeli’ forces had come to the area to detain a man, and when they saw a crowd begin to gather, they started firing at random.
‘Israeli’ police, meanwhile, said its officers had employed "riot control measures" during an operation in Issawiya.
However, footage from the scene contradicted the ‘Israeli’ account, showing normal activity in the street moments before the shooting.
‘Israeli’ police have said the incident is being investigated.
The shooting comes after months of frequent raids on Issawiya, which resulted in more than 750 arrests among Palestinians.
'It wasn't a mistake'
Wael said a bus had dropped Malek and his sisters at a stop 200 meters away from their home. Their mother said they could walk home since weather conditions were suitable.
Malek went into the shop to buy a sandwich and was shot on his way out, his father said.
The officer who shot Malek claimed he was not aiming at him but rather at a wall to calibrate his sights and that he thought the boy was hit by a stone thrown by a Palestinian, according to Haaretz.
But Issa's father rejected his claims and said the officer was clearly targeting Malek.
"It wasn't a mistake. The policeman knew that he was aiming between the eyes from a close distance. It was 100 percent intentional," he told Middle East Eye.
Mohammed Abu al-Homs, a member of an Issawiya community committee, said ‘Israeli’ forces have had some presence in the village every day for the past 10 months.
"The constant pressure on [us] is a part of a continuous policy by the occupation against all the people of al-Quds," Abu al-Homs told MEE.
In November, schools in Issawiya were shut down to protest the arrest of a 16-year-old student from school grounds.
Residents saw the incident as a breach of an agreement reached between locals and the ‘Israeli’ police earlier that year stating that the latter would not operate near schools during teaching hours.
Abu al-Homs said the agreement has been violated several times.
Abu al-Homs believes that one of ‘Israel's’ pressure tactics is targeting children in areas such as the head and the eyes "in order to scare and deter the young generation of Palestinians".
"This is political pressure and a barbaric targeting of children, specifically those aged between 10 and 12 who do not pose any threat," he said.
"They want to pressure this generation, particularly the students, in order to hinder the education of Palestinians, especially in Issawiya."