Breaking: This is Mohammad Tamimi, 15, who was shot in the head by soldiers in December, and still needs surgery to reconstruct his skull.— Haggai Matar (@Ha_Matar) February 26, 2018
Last night he was arrested by Israeli soldiers.
Photo: @OrenZiv1985 / @activestills pic.twitter.com/ZMGdYtBUx0
Before jailed Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi slapped an Israeli soldier who had invaded her yard, she had discovered that one of her cousins, 15-year-old Mohammed, had allegedly been shot in the head at close range by Israeli troops at a protest.
Now, nearly three months after Ahed's well-documented pre-dawn arrest in Nabi Saleh on Dec. 19, Mohammed was detained, in a similar early morning raid on Feb. 26, along with eight other Palestinians, all of whom are reportedly members of the Tamimi family.
Mohammed suffers from severe head wounds. A part of his skull is now permanently deformed and he needs more surgeries, preventing him from attending school for the next six months. But his condition didn't hinder Israeli authorities.
So, why did Israel arrest him, despite the risk of prompting criticism from human rights organizations?
An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokeswoman said the arrests came in the wake of “increase in violent riots and acts of terrorism,” which is Israeli military jargon for describing stone-throwing by Palestinians.
However, Mohammed's case appears to be different from the rest of the eight members of his family. During his detention, he reportedly recorded a confession. Major General Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, said in a Facebook post that, while in custody, Mohammad "admitted" he had sustained the severe injuries in a bike accident and not by a bullet.
There are several reasons why the claim sounds absolutely absurd.
For starters, there was neither a parent nor a lawyer present during Mohammed's interrogation. Secondly, the child's family medical records of his December surgery, including CT scans of the bullet in Mohammed's head as well an image of the bullet removed from Mohammed’s head — all of which have been reported by Israeli media. Lastly, people are having a hard time believing a child could lose almost half of his skull merely by falling off a bike.
What's stunning about @cogat_israel claim that Muhammad Tamimi "fell off his bike" (not shot in the face) is not how big a lie it is: we've seen Orwellian lies before (Beitunia 2014). But such easily debunked lies show the only target audience is Israeli right. pic.twitter.com/vr19yfz7wY— Sarit Michaeli (@saritm0) February 27, 2018
Mohammad was released just hours after his arrest.
Ahed's high-profile arrest and Mohammed's case is part Israel's long — and blood-soaked — history of targeting the Tamimis, especially for the Palestinian family's frequent protests against the illegal grabbing of their lands by Israeli authorities to create a Jewish-only settlement, Halamish.
Ahed faces 12 criminal charges, including assault, and could face a lengthy jail term if convicted.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images