On Wednesday, October 9, 1996, 14-year-old Mu'taz Jaradat and
17-year-old Ghaleb al-Farukh, from the village of Sa'ir near
Hebron, were both shot in the stomach during the disturbances
following Binyarnin Netanyahu's decision to open the Western Wall
tunnel in Jerusalem.
Both boys were taken to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem,
where they were operated on by Professor Avi Rivkind and
transferred to the surgical ward. Nobody bothered to inform the
families of the whereabouts of their missing sons. The Jaradat
family was convinced that their son had been killed and even began
to make arrangements for the funeral. Only in the evening did a
Palestinian cleaning worker at the hospital, who lives in a
neighboring village, call the parents to inform them that he had
seen their son.
The families asked the Israeli Civil Administration for permission
to visit their sons. This was denied.
What had happened to the boys? Mu'taz began ninth grade a month
ago. He was a small child during the Intifada and knew about it
mainly from the stories of others. One of his cousins was killed by
soldiers, another spent 12 years in Israeli prisons. His
grandfather and his mother had been imprisoned. During these riots,
he went out to see things at first hand, but he managed only to get
to the outskirts of the village when he was shot.
The soldiers took him and put him in an ambulance to Hadassah,
where he was immediately taken into the operating theater. When he
came out, he said he was chained to the bed by hand and foot for
the next four days. One or more IDF soldiers were stationed at the
door to make sure he would not escape with his infusion and
catheter. Mu'taz cried all the time, not from pain but from
loneliness. The soldiers guarding him did not answer when he
addressed them. One of them acted decently, getting hold of a
television for him, flicking through the channels and telling him
to let him know when to stop.
Ghaleb Al-Farukh is in the eleventh grade. He remembers the
Intifada well. His family's home is on the outskirts of the village
- people throwing stones from one side of the house were met by
bullets from the other side. Ghaleb used to hide in a room at the
back of the house until things quieted down. Two of his uncles on
his mother's side were shot by soldiers; one was imprisoned in
During the disturbances, Al-Farukh says he was on the way home from
his family's summer house when he heard a commotion. When he went
closer, he was shot. The family took him in a private car to the
IDF roadblock where the soldiers called for a helicopter. Al-Farukh
doesn't remember anything as he was unconscious.
"I woke up in hospital, chained to the bed. I tried to ask the
soldier who was guarding me what had happened, but he told me not
to look at him and to face the wall." For three days he was told to
face the wall. He was also interrogated. "When I told the soldiers
what had happened, they said I was lying and promised that after
the medical treatment was over, they would arrest me."
In the village, where rumor had it that Mu'taz was dead, his
mother, Miyassar, learned in the evening that he was alive. She
couldn't believe it was true. She wanted above all to see her son,
but she said that the Civil Administration told her this was
impossible. The Administration claimed it granted the permit a day
after the request was submitted.
The next day, Ramallah human-rights activist Amal Nashashibi came
with a friend to Hadassah, but they were forbidden to see or speak
to the children. They were helped by Palestinian hospital workers
to get to the room where they encountered three soldiers. "The
soldiers refused to let us enter. I broke through and saw the older
boy chained to the bed. He beckoned to me, but one of the soldiers
pushed me into the corridor and threw us out."
On Sunday, Amal Nashashibi's sister, Rana, who was a candidate in
the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, came to the
hospital along with Daphna Golan, the director of the Israeli women
organization Bat Shalom. Golan argued with the soldiers outside the
room while Nashashibi went in to speak to the youngsters. "The
boys, who were handcuffed to their beds, had no contact with the
outside world for four days and they were terribly lonely. That had
an effect on their medical progress."
Golan and other human-rights organizations began to take action.
Dr. Philip Veerman, director of Defense for Children International
- Israel, came to visit and sent letters to the office of the
Military Judge-Advocate, to the director of the Hadassah Medical
Organization and to the Israel Medical Association. On the same day
that the letters were received by fax, the chains were removed and
the guards vanished. However, the families still did not have
permission to visit their sons.
On Wednesday, a week after the shooting, Miyassar decided that,
come what may, she was going to see her son. The mothers of Jaradat
and Ghaleb, the latter nine months' pregnant, set out in the
morning from Sa'ir in a car belonging to a Jerusalem resident. On
reaching the roadblock they tried to drive round it but were
stopped by the soldiers. Miyassar supported the pregnant woman and
said she was having contractions and they must let her through. The
trick worked and they got to Hadassah.
Even in the hospital, they were afraid of getting caught. "I felt
like a thief in my own country," said Miyassar. She stood in a
corridor and tried to think of a way of seeing her son. Suddenly
she saw him in front of her on a stretcher, on the way to be
X-rayed. "I wanted to jump on him and kiss him, but though it was
hard, I sat quietly and waited." A Palestinian cleaning worker took
her to her son. She fell on him and embraced him with tears of joy.
Mu'taz and Ghaleb had been crying for days, but on this Wednesday
they were at last comforted. It was exactly a week after the
Both Hadassah and the Israel Medical Association wrote to Defense
for Children International that they opposed the handcuffing of
patients and had repeatedly informed the security authorities of
this. A Hadassah spokesperson said that its medical and nursing
staff had done their best to enable the boys to make a speedy
recovery, but the manner in which they had been brought to the
hospital and guarded - these are the responsibility of the security
forces and not of Hadassah.