Israeli police officers shot at and gravely wounded an eight-year-old Palestinian boy, Malek Issa, with a rubber-coated steel bullet last Saturday, February 15. The incident took place in the al-Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The child was walking back home from school with his sisters when Israeli police shot at him without any cause or provocation.
The boy was still in serious condition in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem on Wednesday, February 19. “He has a fractured skull, bleeding in the brain, his left eye has not yet been treated and he will probably lose it,” his father Wael Issa told Channel 13 television news. “We don’t have much hope; they gave him a one percent chance of saving the eye.”
Hadash MKs Ofer Cassif and Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) sent a letter to the Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Ardan, requesting “that he open an official investigation into the incident of shooting rubber bullets at a boy, Malek Issa, and that he sustained a serious injury to his eye during his return from school last Saturday.” The two MKs visited the child in the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital where he is hospitalized and also met with Malek’s father and asked to get further details from him about the shooting.
Commenting on the incident, Cassif and Touma-Sliman said, “This is not the first time that Israeli police forces have shot and wounded a Palestinian child. The matter is repeated and reflects a deliberate policy of the occupation whereby fire and force are used against Palestinians with the aim of driving them to despair so that they leave their homes and neighborhoods.” The two communist MKs added, “The Minister of Internal Security cannot simply ignore every such incident, which violates all international laws and norms, and let them pass by. We will work without letup and not remain impervious to these crimes: we shall expose them before the entire world.”
According to MK Cassif, “The only way to end this intolerable practice of shooting children – who clearly don’t endanger the lives of those who shot them – is to prosecute the responsible parties. As long as police make do with empty media statements about an ‘inquiry,’ while the Army’s spokesperson, asked about a child who was shot, merely says it’s ‘aware of the allegations,’ children will continue to be shot without hindrance. There is nobody to make it clear to soldiers and police officers that when they shoot children, they are committing a crime.”
Israeli police have unreasonably stepped up their operations and raids in Issawiya over the past several months and employed excessive force against residents, undermining stability and stoking tensions in the neighborhood. Since May, police have raided over 500 homes in Issawiya and arrested more than 600 residents — only about 20 of whom were indicted, Mohammed Abu Hummus, a member of the neighborhood’s Parents Committee, said in an interview earlier this year.
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