On Monday July 24, 16 year old Mohammed Zendiq lost his leg during the invasion of Nur Shams refugee camp, near Tulkarem, by the Israeli Occupation Forces.
In the 4 hour long invasion, the IOF accompanied by a military bulldozer caused serious material damage to the camp’s main streets and infrastructures as well as private property like citizen’s cars, homes and shops.
Mohammed normally lives in 48 [Mandatory Palestine] with his mother as they both have an Israeli ID, but he visits his father weekly in the Nur Shams camp, in the West Bank. He told us that at the time of the invasion, he was standing in the street when he suddenly felt an explosion. He was then rushed to an Israeli hospital where his right leg was amputated just above the knee. He was treated at the hospital for one month and was released on Monday August 21. During that time, his father was unable to visit him as he has no Israeli ID.
Mohammed is the youngest of five siblings and a high school student, although the injury means that his studies are currently on hold and he might not be able to continue with his studies, considering that he will soon have to return to the hospital for further examinations for six months. Regardless, he stressed that he felt like his future would still be bright, he hopes to be able to get a prosthesis, find a job and marry.
Both his parents were deeply shaken by their son’s injury, although they expressed extreme relief that he was at least still alive. His father described how hard it had been for him not being able to see his son at the hospital, and his mother told us that she had felt like she was loosing her mind for ten days after the attack. She added that the most difficult moment for her was when the hospital handed her Mohammed’s amputated leg. She concluded by saying that she felt “like any Palestinian mother”.
Similarly, his father highlighted that Mohammed was one example amongst many other tragedies. He says that while the IOF claims to only target resistance fighters, and Israeli as well as international news view Palestinians as terrorists, many victims are simply civilians trying to lead a normal life in the camps. Mohammed’s mother expressed her anger over the fact that even in the camp, supposedly under Palestinian control, Palestinians are not “left alone to live in peace”.
Mohammed’s father said that he supports peace without violence, but that he entirely blames the Israeli government for any violence that arises. He insisted on noting that many Israelis side with Palestinians, that many Jews across Europe oppose the Israeli occupation, to make clear that, to him, the Israeli government and its repressive system were the only ones at fault.
Before we left, Mohammed told us: “Right now, Israeli children can swim and run. But what about me?”