Military court extends detention of severely wounded Palestinian child Haitham Jaradat

Severely wounded Palestinian child Haitham Jaradat, 15, from Sair near al-Khalil, has had his detention extended by the Ofer military court for 11 days, even after he lies in intensive care in Shaare Tzedek medical center, shot with a bullet in his back that penetrated his abdomen and stomach.  His lawyer, Karim Ajwa, said that he has had part of his intestines removed and is using artificial respiration, although he can see and hear. Despite his desperate and life-threatening medical condition, he is shackled to the hospital bed, Ajwa reported.

Along with Jaradat, the military court also extended the detention of Laith Muammar Daraghmeh, 18, from Tubas; Daraghmeh was also shot with a live bullet, in his case during a violent “arrest raid” as occupation forces invaded his city, and is too injured to attend the court hearing.

Both of these cases are particularly poignant following the death of Raed Salhi, shot six times by Israeli occupation forces who invaded his home in Dheisheh refugee camp, accusing the unarmed youth – a camp activist involved with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – of “fleeing.” Salhi, from an impoverished refugee family in the camp, was targeted in a violent arrest raid that his comrades and family have underlined as an assassination raid, especially following threats from notorious Israeli commander “Captain Nidal” to “shoot him in front of his mother.”

After nearly a month in intensive care, in a coma, hooked to artificial respiration, throughout which his detention was repeatedly extended, he was held under armed guard, and he was denied visits from his family, he died of his injuries on 3 September. His body was withheld from his family for several days until they filed a court challenge for his return, when he was buried in a mass funeral of resistance that marched through Bethlehem and Dheisheh.

Ajwa, a lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission who now represents Jaradat, also represented Salhi. Haitham, 15, was accused of “attempting a stabbing” at the Kiryat Arba settlement when he was shot by occupation forces, after settlers claimed he was running towards them with a knife. No occupation soldiers or illegal settlers were injured. Haitham was interrogated on video as he lay injured on the ground after being shot by Israeli occupation forces, during which he asked for water and said that he had come “to commit suicide.”

Meanwhile, Laith Daraghmeh was shot in the left leg with live ammunition on 13 September as occupation forces invaded Tubas in a pre-dawn raid, also reminiscent of the attack on Dheisheh in which occupation soldiers fatally wounded Salhi and shot another Palestinian refugee youth, Abdel-Aziz Arafa, in the leg.

The ongoing detention of Haitham and Daraghmeh comes as Abdel-Nasser Ferwana, head of the Prisoners’ Studies and Documentation Unit, said that occupation forces have arrested 927 children so far since the beginning of 2017, while over 300 children remain imprisoned in Israeli jails. Palestinian children in Israeli interrogation and detention have been subject to numerous forms of torture and mistreatment, including humiliation, physical abuse, psychological threats and cruelty and denial of access to lawyers or their family, as well as the use of solitary confinement in order to extract confessions or seek information from minor children. 22 Palestinian teens have been held without charge or trial under administrative detention in the past two years.