By: Mohammad Shaaban
Reaching school from his home in the old town in the heart of Hebron and returning home back is not easy for the child Islam Al-Tamimi, as he risks his life, which steals a large part of his thinking.
This puts Islam in a conflict between which path to take and where he feels somewhat safe.
Islam has only two options, either to pass through the occupation barriers and thus be subjected to searches and terrifying screams from the Israeli occupation soldiers or to take another road and face the Israeli settlers lurking for Palestinian children to beat them.
At a time when the child Islam is supposed to sleep quietly and safely, these disturbing thoughts come to his mind that rob the pleasure of sleep.
Dozens of Palestinian kids in the Old City and the areas near the occupation settlements in the heart of Hebron continuously, as fear overwhelm them due to the attacks of extremist settlers under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces.
The flag that the family of the child Islam placed at the entrance to their house, adjacent to the settlement of “Tel Rumeida” in the center of the city, provoked the occupation soldiers and settlers, making the family a target for their attacks.
This is normal. The Palestinian flag was not just a piece of cloth hung on the walls of the house, but rather the identity of all Palestinians who cherish their own land despite all the attempts of the Israeli occupation to uproot them.
Sherif Al-Tamimi, Islam’s father, says that his two children, Islam, 13, and Obada, 11, were subjected to repeated attacks by Israeli settlers that almost cost them their lives.
He points out that his children were subjected to Israeli settlers’ attempts to run over, beat, throw stones, pepper gas, and threaten to stab them, in addition to abuse and harassment pursued by the occupation and its settlers against the children of the area.
The last of these attacks was that armed settlers under the protection of the occupation forces severely beat the child Islam while he was in the old city of Hebron, causing bruises and injuries to his head, after which he was treated in the field.
Islam’s father explains that he arrived at his child’s place within a few minutes, and filed a complaint to the occupation police against the aggressor settlers, noting that the occupation forces refused to hand over the records of the surveillance cameras that recorded the attack.
This racist policy pursued by the occupation was not only against the family of the child Islam, but against the Palestinians as a whole, as the occupation pays great attention to attacks with a racist background if the victims were Israeli settlers, but if they were Palestinians, the issue is not of value.
This encourages the extremist settlers to carry out their attacks against the Palestinians on an ongoing basis under an Israeli legal cover that justifies their crimes and gives justice to them, regardless of the crimes they commit.
This increases the Islam family’s fear of an increase in settler attacks in the coming period, especially with the approaching dates of Jewish holidays and celebrations at the end of this month.
As for the moment the settlers attacked the defenseless child Islam, feelings of terror were evident in him, as he knows very well the thirst of these extremists to harm and beat Palestinian children.
Islam says, “I noticed a settler assaulting me on the side of my way home once after I went to buy some things. I called my father and stayed with him on the phone.”
As soon as the child Islam started talking to his father on the phone, the settler rushed thirsty to beat him and cut off communication with his dad.
He continued, “I was very afraid, and my father kept calling me on the phone, trying to reassure me, until the settler attacked me with severe beatings, and then rushed out screaming and calling for help from the occupation soldiers.”
Near the Ibrahimi Mosque, the child, Hakam Al-Mohtaseb, 11, was playing football with his friends in the courtyard of the Al-Amr Elementary School, before a number of Israeli settlers noticed him and chased after them.
“We were playing and laughing, and we were surprised by a number of settlers running towards us and cursing us,” says Hakam.
He added, “My friends and I ran away from the place. The settlers continued to chase after us until I fell from a height of about 3 meters, severely injuring my ankles.”
He points out that the settlers arrived at him after his fall, and when they found his blood filled the place, they left him on the ground and left.
Hakam’s father explains that the Israeli settlers deliberately pursue and abuse Palestinian children, and attack them in the presence of the occupation army.
Children of the Old City and areas near settlements in Hebron are deprived of their right to psychological security and peace, and face harassment and attacks aimed at intimidating and demoralizing them.
Palestinian children are subjected to various attacks, including detention, searches, direct beatings, stone throwing, and pepper gas, in addition to deliberate assassination attempts.
The Palestinian Prisoners Club’s report until the end of February 2022 indicates that the occupation forces detained 160 Palestinian children in a way that violates the rules of international law and the Convention on the rights of the children.
Safa contributed to this piece
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