Tamimi medical records contradict IDF official's claim teen’s head wound a con
ABBAS MOMANI (AFP)
A Palestinian family well known for their activism against the Israeli military on Monday released medical records detailing the injuries of 15-year-old Muhammad Tamimi, who they say was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier with a rubber bullet, after a top IDF official claimed the wound was a con.
Muhammad Tamimi’s head injury has been at the center of the controversial case against his cousin, Ahed Tamimi, who was arrested in December after a video showing her slapping an IDF soldier outside her family home in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh went viral.
Ahed, who has been charged with 12 counts including assault and could face a lengthy jail term if convicted over the incident, has told the court that the soldier she slapped was the one who had shot her cousin Muhammad in the head with a rubber bullet just prior to the video being filmed.
On Monday, however, the Israel Defense Force (IDF)’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Major General Yoav Mordechai claimed that the head injury was a farce, and that Muhammad -- who was detained by the IDF earlier in the day -- had admitted during interrogations that he sustained the injury after falling off of his bicycle.
Huge story of what seems to be an unbelievable case of #Pallywood syndrome. Mohammad #Tamimi #AhedTamimi’s cousin apparently admitted to @cogat_israel that he smashed his head on his bicycle and was not shot by IDF. https://t.co/r0jMx8gMDE— LTC (R) Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) February 27, 2018
Israeli army now claims that Mohammad Tamimi admitted in interrogation that he hit his head in a bicycle accident. This in spite of several witnesses seeing him shot by soldiers, and a hospital report stating they removed an IDF rubber coated metal bullet from his skull pic.twitter.com/RibLhR9rFZ— Haggai Matar (@Ha_Matar) February 26, 2018
“The culture of lies and incitement continues among young and old in the Tamimi family,” Mordechai wrote in both Hebrew and Arabic posts.
"What is the truth about Mohammad Tamimi? His father claimed that his son had a rubber bullet in his skull and that the doctors had to remove part of his skull to take it out. What a wonder, Today, the boy himself confessed to the police and to COGAT, that in December he was injured in his skull when he was driving his bicycle," he continued.
Hours later, the Tamimi family released hospital records detailing Muhammad’s injury along a statement slamming Israel’s accusations that they are con artists.
“What began with a far-fetched attempt to claim that we are not a real family at all has now moved to the denial of documented reality,” the family’s statement read.
Documents from the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah contradicted Mordechai’s claim, stating that 15-year-old Muhammad presented to hospital on December 15, 2017 “immediately after a bullet injury (head trauma) by Israeli soldiers (left maxillary area entrance, no exit wound).”
The Haaretz daily also reported having seen CAT scan and images of the bullet fractures removed from his skull, and multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed the Tamimi family's account of the shooting.
The headline-grabbing Tamimi family are well known for their activism and are at the forefront of regular protests in Nabi Saleh, a frequent scene of demonstrations against Israel’s activities in the West Bank.
Israel has accused the family of being provocateurs, seeking out opportunities to stage standoffs for the media between Israeli forces and the youngest members of the family -- particularly Ahed who has repeatedly been at the center of the seemingly endless propaganda war between Israelis and Palestinians.
In 2015, Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (then led by Michael Oren, Deputy Minister for Diplomacy within the Prime Minister’s Office) even launched a formal investigation to determine whether the Tamimis were a “real” family or manufactured to generate anti-Israel publicity.
The investigation “didn’t reach unequivocal conclusions,” a statement from Oren’s office conceded last month.
Oren, the previous Israeli ambassador to the United States, told the paper he suspected that family members who participated in standoffs “were chosen for their appearance”.
Tamimi's father has argued that Ahed’s blonde hair and Western dress have contributed to the attention she has received.
"If she was veiled and dark-skinned, would she have got the same attention?" Bassem Tamimi told AFP. "The Zionist propaganda machine always depicts the Palestinian as dark-skinned and ugly, attacking the blonde victim, but now she is blonde."
Ahed first made headlines in 2012 when then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited her to meet for breakfast after a video posted to YouTube showing her cursing and spitting at an IDF soldier went viral.
She was also photographed while wearing a Tweety Bird shirt and biting the hand of an Israeli soldier in 2015 to try to stop the arrest of a brother.
Ahed has remained in Israeli custody since her arrest in December over the latest assault. Her trial is set to resume on March 11.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticised Israeli authorities' actions in the case, while the European Union has expressed concern over Israel's detention of minors, including Ahed Tamimi.
AFP contributed to this report.
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