Case Study: Mahmoud, 13 years old

Mahmoud Q., 13, from the West Bank village of Jayyous, near Qalqilya, went from a bystander at a protest to a multiple gunshot victim to an intelligence recruit over the course of four days.

Mahmoud told Defense for Children International – Palestine that on the afternoon of July 23, 2017, he had spotted children burning a tire near Israel’s separation barrier while out on his family’s land. He stepped back, certain their actions would invite trouble. Shortly after, Israeli paramilitary border police arrived on the other side of the separation barrier and the children fled.

“I stayed because I did not do anything,” Mahmoud told DCIP. “One of the border police officers saw me and ordered me to stop, so I stopped and did not move at all. I was a short distance from them, but one of them shot me in the right leg with a live bullet.”

“I tried to run, but I could not because of the injury. He shot me again, but this time in my left leg. I fell to the ground, and he fired another bullet, but it hit the ground and scattered into fragments. One of the pieces hit my right leg, and another one hit my shoulder.”

While Israeli forces were detaining Mahmoud, his parents arrived, but were told to leave at gunpoint. Border police crossed the barrier and wrapped his legs, but he continued to bleed profusely. The officers placed him on a stretcher in a military vehicle and transferred him to an ambulance. He arrived at Meir Hospital inside Israel around 45 minutes after he being shot.

Admitted in critical condition due to severe blood loss, Mahmoud woke up the following day in the hospital’s intensive care unit and under the guard of two Israeli police officers who verbally abused him and denied him family visitation. He remained under guard until July 31.

Around 8 a.m. on July 27, while still hospitalized between surgeries, Mahmoud told DCIP that a police investigator questioned him while he was still in his hospital bed. The interrogator did not inform him of his rights, and no lawyer or family member was allowed to be present. He accused Mahmoud of throwing stones and shouted at him, calling him a liar. Mahmoud denied all accusations, but signed a statement in Hebrew without understanding it.

The interrogator then offered him NIS 200 ($56) and a mobile phone, Mahmoud said, and asked him to report information on children who throw stones in his village. Mahmoud refused.

“ ‘This phone is yours. The money too. But when you go home, I want you to stand for a while with the children who throw stones and breach security and public order, then call and tell us about them, so we could have them arrested,’ he [the interrogator] said,” Mahmoud told DCIP.

The same day, Israeli police asked Salem military court to extend Mahmoud’s detention in absentia. DCIP successful argued against the motion and secured his release on NIS 4,000 ($1,115) bail and NIS 5,000 ($1,395) third-party guarantee. He was released on July 27, 2017.

Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP) is a local, independent Palestinian human rights organization committed to securing a just and viable future for Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.