Isolated incident: Soldiers refuse to treat injured Palestinian boy

Accompanied by a settlement security officer, IDF soldiers abuse a Palestinian boy and avoid giving him proper medical attention.

By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz

One day in May M., a 13-year-old child from the village of Qariut left his school and headed to his father’s lands to find out what his chores were for the day. Unfortunately for M., the village’s land borders a plit seized for protecting the settlement of Eli. M. was already used to settlers disrupting his family members while tilling their lands, and he learned to identify the settlement’s security personnel.

Soon after M. reached the plot of land, a civilian security officer from the settlement also arrived. His behavior was unusual: M. says he pointed a gun at him, shouted that he was mad and yelled out a few more words in Hebrew that M. didn’t understand. Then the security officer fired his gun in the air. M. panicked and started running; he stumbled, fell and broke his leg in two places.

The shots were heard in the village and B., a village council member who’s also a Red Crescent volunteer, raced to the scene, video-taping as he drove. What he saw was shocking, and you can see it below.

Soldiers who reached the scene after the shots were fired circled M. and threatened him with their weapons. At 0:22 the security officer is seen returning to the scene. M. said that one of the soldiers tried to lift him up, and the video shows (0:57) how the soldier twists the child’s broken leg. M. said he screamed in pain and begged the soldier to stop – the camera is too far away for the audio to be heard. A short while later (1:18), the security officer draws his gun at the wounded child. M. says that some point, he put it against his head.

You don’t have to be a medic to know that you don’t move a wounded person, yet this is precisely what the soldiers tried to do. Despite M.’s begging, they stop. It seems that causing pain to a Palestinian boy’s broken leg didn’t unduly bother the soldiers.

At the same time, B. and other Red Crescent volunteers, all of them in clearly marked vests, advanced towards the soldiers. At this point the security officer turned his weapon towards them and threatened to fire. The medics approached the scene nevertheless; the soldiers took the security officer from the scene, and demanded only one medic approach the boy. B. made his way to him and set his leg. He demanded the soldiers call an ambulance, but they refused and informed him they will take care of M. themselves. B. wondered just how were they going to treat a person they just beat up, and was ignored. A woman who identified herself as an army doctor told B. not to worry. He repeated his request for an ambulance and demanded that M. be evacuated to a hospital, but to no avail. The soldiers put M. in a jeep, and drove off, the security officer with them.

After driving towards the settlement of Eli, according to M., an Arabic-speaking soldier repeatedly tried to make him confess to trying to infiltrate the settlement in order to commit a felony. M. strongly denied it and the soldier drew a knife and threatened to use it on him. At one point, according to M.’s report, the security officer went over to him and twisted his wounded leg several times, as he was screaming in pain. He was left in the jeep for some two hours or more.

Later on the IDF doctor showed up, injected M. with morphine and glucose and transferred him to the Red Crescent. As a result of his wound, M. had to undergo an operation, and the doctors says the neglect caused him noticeable harm.

So, let’s take stock: soldiers taking orders from a civilian; soldiers and an armed civilian who point their guns at a wounded child and at Red Crescent medics; soldiers denying a wounded child the medical care he requires, and treat him as a beast of burden, moving him to and fro; Soldiers insisting on interrogating him contrary to law (which requires an adult, preferably a parent, present during the interrogation of a minor); an armed civilian torturing a child in the presence of soldiers, who do not stop him; a doctor refusing to evacuate a wounded child to a hospital or provide him with proper medical care, delays his treatment and allows soldiers to hold and interrogate him- with this delay, it is suspected. That’s what made the operation necessary.

Another day under occupation; nothing out of the ordinary. Except this time we have not just the testimony of the Palestinians, always discounted by Israelis, but also a video. If Israelis were truly patriotic and zealous to their country’s good name, they would react with horror to the officers and armed civilians who transformed their military into such an assembly of thugs, of doctors who made a mockery of their Hippocratic Oath. They would have said it is inconceivable that an army created to protect war refugees would behave so brutally towards children, whomever they may be.

But Israelis have already internalized the occupation and know its price full well; they just dislike being reminded of it. So here is a reminder, nevertheless.

Written by Yossi Gurvitz in his capacity as a blogger for Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights. A version of this post was first published on Yesh Din’s blog.