"Cheated by his smile: a boy was shot and left paralyzed"


by Mohammed Al Moghayer from Rafah/Gaza Strip March 2004

An Israeli soldier shot the child AbdelRahman Abu Al Ful from Rafah and left him permanently bedridden.

Betrayal is a habitual characteristic. Terrorism is characteristic in their extreme use of force. Killing, destroying and devastating are the main activities of these soldiers. Yes, it´s the Israeli army: soldiers who don´t know any meaning of mercy or kindness but instead love killing, destruction, and corruption. Never mind if they leave thousands of victims: it seems important for them to wash their hands with blood, never minding if they kill a child, a woman, or an old man.

In Rafah refugee camp, where the criminal Israeli soldiers violate all international Laws, Abdel Rahem Abu Al Ful (a 14 year old child) was forced by a hated Israeli bullet to stay in his bed when it broke through his small head, and wrote for him a new life with Paralyzed people.

A few weeks ago the last year just ended, and another New Year just came. The last year leaves carrying with it agony, pains, suffering and aches, and a new year arrives conveying bright hopes, and wishes. The Palestinians again received the New Year under circumstances as they did many years ago, under oppression, persecution, starvation, and deprivation.

Around the world, people received the New Year by bidding welcome, with pleasure and festivals. In Palestine, people received the New Year with more pains, suffering and renewal of their tragic memories. You will not find anything in the souls of the people except groans and moaning. How can there be pleasure in the New Year for a mother who lost her husband and has become a widow in the middle of her young life?! Who will bring toys for a child who has lost his father? And every Palestinian house has a tragedy which is entitled "occupation".

New Year came while the world and its people take pride in their freedom, but that freedom was stolen by the Israeli occupation. There were millions of Christians who were not able to get into Palestine and celebrate this Christmas in the Holy Land, and as they were not able to get into Bethlehem and Gaza churches, it seems as if they linked visiting the Holy Land (Palestine) with sleeping in the Israeli checkpoints.

The new world just came and freedom flows from every artery of the world, but in Palestine there are millions of human beings who are living without the simple or basic human rights that they deserve.

The world is addicted to the destruction in Palestine. As if it were a usual occurrence for a child to search for his schoolbooks under the rubble of his house, or for a woman to search for her children in the rubble of her demolished house. Or for these technologically advanced Israel planes to shell the houses of the innocents in the refugee camps, making hundreds of victims from innocent citizens.

If you were to walk in the Palestinian street and ask the people about their hopes in the New Year, it would be difficult to find any other answer aside from the usual response: "we hope that we can live in peace, and get back our land, the speedy recovery for our injured, freedom for our prisoners, to get the deportees for their countries and homeland again and to improve that life for a better so we can live in peace and safe life"

Israeli incursions and attacks were too much in the last year, and describing the crimes of the Israeli soldiers will not be adequate to impart the horror of what had happened during the attacks, such as the experience of a woman and her family whom the soldiers detained in one room for two days. When one of the children wants to go to toilet, the child must wait for permission from the soldiers, then one solder points his gun at their heads and drive them to the toilet.

In the last attack the soldiers took Mohammed Al Atrash (51 years old) and put him in the shovel of the bulldozers while they were demolishing the house. This man was taken to the hospital with different parts of his body injured. Also in the same attack, the left the block of one of the rooms with their ravenous dogs which makes fear and horror in the children.

But all these crimes were nothing compared with the 14 years old child, Ahmed Abu Al Ful, whose New Year gift was given with a smile from an Israeli soldier with hatred: an Israeli bullet in his head.

His mother, Um Fadi, sits near her child Abdelrahem who has been left paralyzed in his bed with his bandaged head and exhausted body, she begins to encourage him to move his completely paralyzed left arm a little bit by saying:" let´s move your hand, my lovely son Abed, yes try try try……" Then he answers her by saying: "Mom, I can´t feel anything in my arm, and can`t move it."

She began to ask him again and again to move his arm, then he moved it a little bit, but it seems from his face as if he moving his arm was too difficult, but after he moved it a little big, his mother smiles a wide smile and gave him a big hug and began kissing him by whispering by saying "Thanks goodness, Thanks goodness".

When I asked the child about to tell me in more detail how he was injured, he began by describing what happened that day saying: "It was in the afternoon when I was coming back from my school to our home, and when I get into to our neighborhood, there was an Israeli tank parked in our street. I looked at it and see a head of one of the Israeli soldiers; he was looking and smiling when I looked at him, then I smiled to him in return, and I felt a little bit safe and began crossing the street near our neighbors. I was carrying my school bag in my hand, in the same time the same soldier looked at me and holds his gun and pointed it in my direction, he snipers me, I thought that he wanted to frighten me, so I didn´t care and continued walking faster but he was still pointing his gun toward me. I felt in danger from the way he was looking at me which was full of bitterness and anger as his smile completely disappeared. I moved faster and faster to get into our house, but I felt in a very strong hit in my head, then I felt dizzy and found myself in the Abu Yousif Al Najjar hospital after that."

The child continued speaking but he stopped suddenly and turned to his mother who was listening to him. She was overwhelmed with sadness and weeping. Trhen Abdelrahem reassured his mother, saying: "Mom, thank goodness, I´m fine, so why you are weeping again?!"

Abdelrahem`s mother has nothing to do as rule for of the women in Palestine, but she have to care of her child Abdelrahem, who hasn´t gotten the right medical treatment due to lack of medical equipment. His mother also has to care for her oldest son Fadi (17 years old) who was seriously injured on 11 October 2003, as his knee and leg was smashed and now he has iron equipment in his leg to make this bones rigid. Fadi came home after the hospitals transferred him from one to the next, from Abu Yousif AL Najjar, to the European hospital, then to Naser Hospital, because each of the hospitals didn`t have the ability to give him the medical treatments that he needed, so finally he decided to stay home.

Um Fady also has to care for her husband who was injured in the beginning of the Intifada in his right leg, that things which confines him to bed with his two injured sons, leaving 6 members in addition to him and his wife without breadwinner.

Qasem (7 years old), who is the youngest brother of Abdelrhaman, begins asking his brothers about the bullets and the injuries, saying: "did that bullet hurt? I know that they shoot my brothers and now they will shoot me, but I don´t want to get shot and be like you Abdeelrahem, I want when I get injured to die directly so I will not feel in the pains as you feel…….."

From the other hand, the breadwinner Abu Fadi (40 years old) describes the situations of his children by saying: "Abdelrahaem can´s move his arm, and his memory also became not as it was before, as he feels dizzy and suffering most of the times from the crackup in his skull"

As he added "I´m afraid that my son´s suffering will continue for a long time the same as what happened with my oldest son Fadi, who can´t walk due to the crushed bones of his leg"

Abdelrahem´s mother considers what happened to her two children an outrageous crime, and her children´s youth didn´t protect them from soldiers of the Israeli Army who don´t differentiate between a child, a woman or an old man. As she appeals to the nations who have respect for human rights to look with a merciful eye on the crimes that have been committed against her family in Palestine: crimes against innocent people by the soldiers of the Israeli Army.

Fadi and Abdelrahem were not the only two children who were seriously injured during the Israeli attacks against the Palestinians camps and especially in Rafah, and they are only a drop of water in a river of the massive numbers of the injured and the completely paralyzed children in Palestine.

"The world is a dangerous place to live;
not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don`t
do anything about it."