During the past week, Al-Haq documented two attacks on Palestinians residents of East Jerusalem by Israelis. One of the victims is only 11 years old.
Hamouda Naser Kastero
On 2 April 2012, 11-year-old Hamouda was playing with his cousin near his aunt’s house in the Old City of Jerusalem when he was hit by a car. Hamouda fell to the ground and the driver, an Israeli Jew wearing Orthodox religious garments, stepped out of the car, grabbed Hamouda by his T-shirt and hit him on the head several times. Hamouda began to cry and several Palestinians rushed to remove the boy from the attacker’s grasp. Hamouda recalls being taken away by paramedics to hospital. (Al-Haq affidavit No. 7249/2012)
As soon as Hamouda’s father, Naser Hamouda Kastero, (37 years old), learned about the incident, he was told by his family to go to the police station in the Old City. However, the ambulance driver called him and informed him that he was taking his wife and son to Hadassa ‘Ein Karem’s Hospital in West Jerusalem. Naser then changed his route and went to the hospital to check on Hamouda, who was in the emergency room and had red marks and bruises on his head and neck. Several Israeli police officers came to the hospital and took a statement from Hamouda, who was discharged from hospital the next day. Naser is worried about his son’s psychological health especially given that Hamouda since the incident has been suffering from nightmares.
Four days after the incident, Naser went to the police station in the Old City for updates on his son’s case. The Israeli police officer told him to go to another police station, where he could have had access to the information related to the car accident. Naser complained that the incident involved more than a car accident, and that the physical assault against his son should be investigated. He then asked if the assailant had been arrested. The Israeli officer told him that the attacker had been questioned and the file had been transferred to the judiciary system to decide whether he had to be arrested or not. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7250/2012)
Muhammad Husein ‘Uthman and Firas Muhammad al-Ramadi
On Sunday, 1 April, Muhammad, (24 years old) and his friend Firas, (22 years old), went to West Jerusalem to finish some construction work at a house in a Jewish neighbourhood. When they did not find the owner of the house, they went to have tea at their friend’s working place. On their way back home in Sheikh Jarrah, which is only a 20-minute-walk from that neighbourhood; they were attacked by Israelis, who were likely settlers living in occupied East Jerusalem.
At around 7:00 pm, Muhammad and Firas took a shortcut to their house, the route was empty and there was little light. Muhammad and Firas heard some people talking behind them; saying that Arabs were garbage. Muhammad and Firas kept walking in the hope of avoiding them. In spite of this, Firas was hit with an iron baton on his elbow but managed to escape by jumping over a nearby fence. When he looked back, he saw five Israelis wearing Orthodox Jewish garments hitting his friend. Muhammad was hit on the head with an iron baton and fell to the ground. The attackers continued beating him until Muhammad felt blood covering his face and fainted. While half-conscious, he heard someone yelling at his aggressors in Hebrew to leave him. He recalls being carried to an ambulance, where an Israeli officer gave him and his friend Firas a piece of paper asking them to call him the next day to give their statements. When the two men were finally examined, it was found that Muhammad had two deep cuts on his head and a brain concussion, while Firas had a broken elbow.
The next day, Muhammad and Firas went back home though Muhammad was still feeling ill and kept throwing up. They both went to a police station in Jaffa Street, where they had to identify their attackers through photos that were shown to them by a police officer. Muhammad and Firas recognised one of the Israeli aggressors. The police officer told them that they would be calling them later for further investigation. At the time of writing, they have yet to receive this call. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7251/2012, 7252/2012)