17 year old Hassan was shot in the back by an Israeli soldier when he was awaiting his school bus. The gunshot caused a severe spinal cord injury and paraplegia.
On the morning of 5 January 2018, between 6:00 am and 8:00 am, Israeli soldiers entered Dheisheh Refugee Camp, a camp located just outside the city of Bethlehem. In keeping with a ordinary routine of night raids and home searches, soldiers entered the camp in the small hours of the morning seeking to arrest a resident of the camp. As clashes broke out between residents and soldiers in the center of the camp, the chaos began spreading to the outskirts, and the soldiers finally retreated to the nearby neighborhood of Doha. As the soldiers descended the hill approaching an alternate entrance to Dheisheh Camp, they saw a small group of twelve boys awaiting their school bus just outside the camp, preparing to take the final examination of their high school career.
As the soldiers crested the hill, chaos began unfolding inside the camp. The chaos of the nearby raid had unraveled and spread to the school bus stop area. Hearing the ruckus, 17 year old Hassan looked over his shoulder, hearing shouting from the military captain ordering his lieutenant to shoot at the boys. Turning just in time to see a frightened soldier standing 15 meters away, he saw the firearm discharge and felt a surge of pain in his back, knocking him backwards as he collapsed on the ground. Twelve minors were injured, with Hassan in critical condition.
Due to the lack of emergency response infrastructure as a result of the Israeli imposed military occupation and restrictions of movement within the West Bank, Hassan was rushed to the hospital by car rather than ambulance, local camp residents personally delivering him to the ICU.
Initially received by the ICU at Husayn Hospital in Bethlehem, the staff determined that Hassan had been shot in the 9th spinal disc, with a special bullet type that expands upon impact, thus aggravating the injuries that Hassan sustained. Realizing his critical condition, Hassan was then sent to Mizan Hospital in Hebron, where a former high conflict zone specialist performed a bullet extraction surgery, noting the unusual nature of the bullet and the severity of the injury that Hassan had sustained.
Why we cannot simply sue the responsible?
Illegal under international law to open fire on citizens, the acts of the soldiers prove that there is both immediate concern for repeated military behavior in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as long-term concern for the type of equipment and routine practices the army engages. The state does not offer Palestinians harmed by its security forces a genuine opportunity to file for damages in Israeli courts, offering them no more than the illusion of being able to do so. Denying the right to receive compensation is tantamount to a violation of the right in itself. Moreover administrative review of the Israeli authorities’ actions in the Occupied Territories is primarily in the hands of Israel’s Supreme Court, a court that has permitted residents of the oPt to file petitions, but will refuse to hear them, de facto sanctioning such behavior.
As seen by the previous behavior of the court in instances identical to Hassan’s, the Israeli Supreme Court has adhered to a policy of justified shooting, expanding the definition of “combat situations” to grant sweeping immunity to soldiers from criminal investigations, a liberal interpretation far above and beyond that granted by international humanitarian law.
Hassan’s current files from the Beit Jala Arab Center for Rehabilitation, reveal the following:
a) Complete lower limb paraplegia
b) Normal motor and sensation 1 upper limb
c) Lower Limb loss of motor system
d) Absent reflex in lower limbs
While Hassan is conscious and alert, with no cognitive disorders and has retained both receptive and expressive language skills, he has been diagnosed with paraplegia.
How you could help us:
With concerns about the quality of accessible health-care and movement rehabilitation available to Hassan in Palestine, receiving alternative opinions and care is essential. Having already secured funding from multiple external donors, Hassan currently has a fully funded, all expenses paid 4-week visit to a rehabilitation center outside of Frankfurt, Germany, where he will receive expert medical opinions, rehab for his mid-to-lower body in order to return functions for excretion and movement therapy.
However, there are additional funds remaining in order to concretize the rehabilitation journey for Hassan. The remaining funds amount to 4,000 euros, including the following:
a) Transportation costs by ambulance to and from the Bethlehem hospital to the airport in Amman, Jordan;
b) Round trip plane tickets for Hassan and his father to travel from Amman to Frankfurt;
c) Initial equipment expenses for handicap care; and
d) Visa expenses from the German consulate in Ramallah, Palestine;
Who I am?
my name is Greta and I have spent quite some time in Palestine. Bethlehem is my second home and my best friends are living in Dheheishe Camp. Basically my best friend is Hassan's neigbour and a close friend of his family. He told me about Hassan's case and their struggle to find access to high quality healthcare in the region. So I got in contact with a few people in Germany and started to become the interface between his friends and family in Palestine and the donors who secure his already fully funded 4-week rehabilitation in Germany.
The funds collected via this campaign will be withdrawn by myself as I am currently responsible for arranging the visa, the flights and some handicap equipment (which is hardly accessible in the region) for Hassan. The money which is needed in Palestine (bordercrossing etc.) will be transferred to the family.
If there are any questions left please do not hesitate to contact me and I will of course keep you updated here too!
Thank you very much!
We, his family and friends from Palestine, Germany and all over the world are more than thankful for any support that you can give Hassan! Please share his story whenever and wherever you can!
- Matthias Dunkel
- a b
- Haizea Perez de Arrilucea Gonzalez de Alaiza
- Theresa Raring
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