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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.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Reading the mention of the Hippocratic Oath, I was reminded of an account given by Marcus Levin in 1989, when he was called up for reserve duty as an army physician. On arrival at his base, Levin asked for info about his duties, and was told by two colleagues: “Mainly you examine prisoners before and after an investigation.” Levin, startled, repeated, “After an investigation?” and got the response, “Nothing special, sometimes there are fractures. For instance, yesterday they brought a twelve-year-old with two broken legs.” Levin went immediately to his commander and said, “My name is Marcus Levin, not Josef Mengele, and on grounds of conscience I refuse to serve here.” There was another doctor present, who said, “Marcus, at first you feel like Mengele, but you will get used to it.” There was an article about that in ‘Hamishmar’ at the time, ‘You Will Get Used to Being a Mengele’. This was obviously a manifestation of Yitzhak Rabin’s specific ‘break their bones’ policy, but over the decades there have been list after list of specific incidents that together form a complete and nasty catalogue.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Such a shame that author of this article had never read the aforementioned oath.

        … and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

        … I will not cut for stone

        It seems that there are too many of oath’s violators, are there not?

        Reply to Comment
        • Gearoid

          You sir, fill me with the deepest despair.

          If there is any humanity left in that twisted, hate filled supremacist mind of yours, it should come out for this.

          A CHILD, abused by soldiers and civilians with weapons, harmed by their refusal to treat him (missed that part in the skepticism didn’t you,or are the doctors in on it too?). What POSSIBLE justification could they have for these actions? A suspicion? Are you truly such a coward that you consider an unverified suspicion groups for that action?

          I find it very difficult to remain civil with people like you. I do not believe you deserve any decorum or respect. It is only out of respect for the forum and publication I restrain myself.

          But you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a stain on the honor of your family and your people. I sincerely hope someday you wipe away that stain, but I recognize the low probability of that happening.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >You sir, fill me with the deepest despair.

            Welcome to the club.

            >A CHILD, abused by soldiers and civilians with weapons

            I haven’t seen A CHILD abused by anyone.

            >harmed by their refusal to treat him (missed that part in the skepticism didn’t you,or are the doctors in on it too?)

            These are words of a person who is a well-known liar, without any proof at all.

            >What POSSIBLE justification could they have for these actions?

            What actions? Checking a suspect needs any justification?

            >A suspicion?

            Yeah, a suspicion. Palestinian Arab militants more than once had employed Palestinian Arab minors, so the suspicion is well-based.

            >Are you truly such a coward that you consider an unverified suspicion groups for that action?

            There is no such thing as “verified suspicion”

            >I find it very difficult to remain civil with people like you. I do not believe you deserve any decorum or respect. It is only out of respect for the forum and publication I restrain myself.

            You are too kind, but that’s fine really – go as barbaric as you can.

            >But you should be ashamed of yourself.

            For debunking lies? Unlikely.
            By the way, Arabs are not ashamed to use their minors as cannon fodder. Are you saying that I am better than they are, so I should be ashamed?

            >You are a stain on the honor of your family and your people.

            I still haven’t sent even one minor to commit a suicide mission, so honor of my people and my family is doing fine, thank you for your concern.

            >I sincerely hope someday you wipe away that stain, but I recognize the low probability of that happening.

            Given that the strain is rather microscopic, compared to that of some other people (shall I point my finger?) there is not much sense to wipe it off.

            By the way, you, with your support of unjust war against Jews, is rather a strain by yourself. How are you gonna handle that?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gearoid

            I literally do not have words for how disgusted I am by you.

            I am not convinced you are human. You are some manifestation of the worst hatred and tribalism and cowardice humans are capable of. Some unfeeling demon in the guise of a human being.

            If there is any justice in this world, someday you will go through some of the horrible things you so casually support when they happen to others.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >I literally do not have words for how disgusted I am by you.

            Be my guest.

            >I am not convinced you are human. You are some manifestation of the worst hatred and tribalism and cowardice humans are capable of. Some unfeeling demon in the guise of a human being.

            You petty ad-hominem attacks are fun to read. And lack of any even semi-viable argument on you side makes it fun a whole magnitude more.

            >If there is any justice in this world, someday you will go through some of the horrible things you so casually support when they happen to others

            Oh, thank you so much.

            However, you do not know who I am, or what I had experienced in my life. Neither are you capable to explain why mentioned “horrible things” are taking place, and of course not why am I supporting them, which makes your arguments equal to a barking of a small dog.

            Yeah, by the way, you should keep in mind that wishing other people evil is not good for your karma.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gearoid

            The racist, Occupation whitewashing coward mentions MY karma?

            There is irony here.

            Look to your own karma. I know the path of respect and freedom is the right one. How do you justify institutionalized racism, colonialism, oppression? You support those things, so how do you justify them?

            Ad hominems are better than you deserve. Much better.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >I know the path of respect and freedom is the right one.

            You think that you do, but as a matter of fact, you do not. For instance, respect and freedom can only be mutual. If group A keeps to an opinion that group B is below them and can not have equal rights, the only way for group B to have their rights elevated is to oppress the group A.

            >How do you justify institutionalized racism, colonialism, oppression? You support those things, so how do you justify them?

            I support racism? I dare you to back your words – or face consequences.

            Colonialism is a anti-Israeli term which has nothing to do with the reality.

            As of oppression – you are conveniently forgetting that Arabs were oppressing Jews in this region, refused to coexist peacefully in an egalitarian state, unleashed few wars an numerous attacks.

            >Ad hominems are better than you deserve. Much better.

            I can sense your hatred. People like you make the very best of suicide bombers.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Joel

      “B. wondered just how were they going to treat a person they just beat up”

      What beating? Where?

      I see a soldier trying to lift the kid up,and than putting the kid down because the kid was in pain. I see a hot-headed security guy being restrained by a soldier. I don’t see a civilian security guy ordering soldiers.

      If the kid was a criminal suspect, than he goes into IDF custody and not into a Red Crescent ambulance. That was probably the problem. The kid was treated by a Red Crescent volunteer at the scene and by an IDF medic or doctor and than sent to hospital.

      What set off the hot head? Dunno.

      What happened in the jeep is anyone’s guess.

      Did I miss something?

      Reply to Comment
    3. rsgengland

      If M was heading to his fathers plot of land to find out his chores for the day, when he reached the plot of land, one would have expected there to be family members working the land.
      Nowhere in the article is there any mention of anyone being there until the security guard arrived, so either ‘M’ was on a fools errand, or there is something missing or wrong with this narrative.

      Reply to Comment
      • Carl

        Having proved beyond any reasonable doubt that this was a elaborate set up, contrived to besmirch Israel’s name once again, maybe you could now refocus your analytical skills upon 09/11, and let us all know what really happened.

        If you’re not keen, just imagine I wrote ‘really’ in block capitals.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >Having proved beyond any reasonable doubt that this was a elaborate set up, contrived to besmirch Israel’s name once again

          Easy.

          “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.”

          That Red Crescent volunteer is standing at about 1 km. distance and calmly filming the whole event instead of trying to help the kid.

          It would not be the first time where good video is worth more than the well-being of a child.

          By the way, Muhammad ad-Dura was not exhumed so far. Interesting, why is that?

          Reply to Comment
          • Elisabeth

            “By the way, Muhammad ad-Dura was not exhumed so far. Interesting, why is that?”

            Are you enjoying yourself?

            I hope no son of yours will ever have to be exhumed in order to refute vile allegations that you staged his death.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            My young son and I were 100 feet from shots fired in a holdup. I laid on top of my son shielding him with my body, not hiding behind a barrel myself for 40 minutes leaving my son ‘exposed’.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carl

            Thank you for showing me the truth.

            Sorry, I meant THE TRUTH.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Violet

      I have to say, I and many others come here and read and never comment. But what I have seen on this comment thread is really the last straw. It is absolutely astounding how there is a cadre of commenters who not only display complete inhumanity towards the victim of violence (unless it’s a fellow Jew) and blame the victim of the violence, or at the very least, do everything possible to call into question some infinitesimal detail of the article (or video) so as to cast aspersion upon the one who took the video, the medical professional(s), and of course the victim and their family. I guess it’s not enough to have a captive population, be able to humiliate and abuse them at will (with relative impunity), receive gargantuan financial and military aid packages and diplomatic immunity. No, apparently, the rest of the world is supposed to join in the oppression with glee. And when there is video documentation of abuses, either by military, armed civilians or any other Israeli, just take your word for it, that, well, the ‘so-called victim’ deserved it anyway. Appalling.

      Of course, those who work to document the abuses, how suffer verbal abuse and perhaps threats from countrymen for actually not actively participating in oppression of said captive population, takes no malicious glee in the inhumanity on display – thank you. Your efforts are appreciated. They are not enough because the situation remains, but it is something. The captive population appreciates it too.

      To the malicious – you really don’t understand what you are doing, do you? I may be the only one to tell you, but take it to heart: you are verifying the inhumanity, the oppression and abuses. You are displaying to the world the mental illness that is supremacism, ethnocracy and just wicked meanness that so pervades Israel. You are doing enough. Thanks for that.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        These comments from Joel, rsgengland and Herr Dr. Trespasser are even worse than their usual standard. But as you say, many do read and are grateful to still have +972Mag plus organizations like Yesh Din, Physicians for Human Rights, B’tselem, to name only a few, who bring us information that reflects reality.

        Meanwhile we’re hearing that this government will never implement a two-State solution. What they won’t do is therefore official. Maybe those who don’t believe that boy was trying to get to his family’s field and that the civilian security officer and the IDF were actually being kind to him would tell us what their chosen government *will* do that could possibly be discussed with the PA “without preconditions”.

        Reply to Comment
        • rsgengland

          In reply to the article ,I asked/posed a question. If anyone misinterprets that as a comment, then that is their take.
          Yossi Gurvitz never says anything definitive.
          It is always comment alluding to something that allegedly happened to someone somewhere.
          The articles are always extremely subjective, seldom contain any proof of the said events.
          I enjoy reading the articles, but find it difficult to believe that they would be accepted by anyone other than those with predetermined opinions.

          Reply to Comment
      • Elisabeth

        It has been a mystery to me for a long time already why the editors of 972mag do this to themselves: They write excellent articles, and then let the comment threads on their website be totally poisoned by a very small amount of truly sick and inhumane commenters, who always manage to draw the commments down to the lowest possible level.

        Reply to Comment
        • directrob

          My guess is that what you see here is only a fraction of what 972mag receives. It looks like they allow a few in to show that not everyone in Israel agrees with their views. I am not so sure those writers are “sick” and “inhumane”, my guess in real life they are perfectly normal people and some even turn more reasonable over time, but their comments sometimes/often are.

          Reply to Comment
      • “It is absolutely astounding how there is a cadre of commenters who not only display complete inhumanity towards the victim of violence (unless it’s a fellow Jew)…”

        I know what you mean. When I read these comment threads, I remember the outrage that was displayed when young Palestinian men in Jerusalem threw snowballs at a group of charedim. Anyone would think they had been on the brink of perpetuating a second Holocaust with those snowballs. But a kid who is threatened with firearms and left with a broken leg? Children tortured in custody? Doesn’t happen. The humanitarian agencies who provide evidence on these things must be lying. (And I wonder – do these commenters doubt their credibility in other countries too? Is Defence for Children International lying about what happens to children in Sierra Leone?) The soldiers who testify to witnessing must be lying. They must be closet leftists. The soldiers who admit to committing these abuses must be lying. They only want to make Israel look bad. When Palestinians produce video footage and photos, it’s proof that the whole thing must be a set-up, and they’re lying. When they can’t produce video footage and photos, there is of course no way to verify their story, and they’re lying. Testifying IDF soldiers, humanitarian organisations, victims and their families – we are all in cahoots together and we are all lying for the sole purpose of vilifying Israel, because of course Israel is the centre of our universe, and we could have no possible reason (such as, I don’t know, concern for child welfare) to motivate us. When you get down to it, this whole line of argument is quite extraordinarily selfish.

        “Take it to heart: you are verifying the inhumanity, the oppression and abuses…You are doing enough. Thanks for that.”

        That is why I find these comments valuable. The callousness highlights the suffering very starkly. I also know there are other people out there (including people who would identify as strongly Zionist in their politics) who read them and feel more than a little uncomfortable. The comments are perhaps the single best illustration of what happens when you allow loyalty to a state or a political idea to eclipse a sense of right and wrong at its most basic, and this is enough to cause some people to start re-evaluating the things they support and hold to, even if doing so makes them uneasy. If that happens, it’s enough. We don’t need to convince everybody. It’s enough to convince those people of all political persuasions and backgrounds for whom children matter above ideology.

        As an aside, supremacism shouldn’t be equated with mental illness. Mental illnesses are simply health conditions like any other and having a mental health difficulty wouldn’t preclude someone from being compassionate – in fact, some of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever known have had severe and enduring mental health conditions. I know you won’t have meant it badly, but I think anyone involved in peace activism at any level should be careful to avoid stigmatising language.

        Reply to Comment
    5. The Trespasser

      >Meanwhile we’re hearing that this government will never implement a two-State solution.

      Palestinian Arabs will never accept the two-state solution, therefore there is no point in implementing it. Ever.

      As of not believing that the boy was not trying to get to the field – given that the author of this article is not notorious for being a honest person (I’m still waiting for the “peace” letter from Hamas), there is no reason to believe his testimony.

      Reply to Comment
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