East Jerusalem Boy, Shot in Head by Israeli Police, Still Unresponsive

12-year-old was wounded by new sponge-tipped bullet which was barred from use against minors, but 15 have been wounded by them.

Twelve year old Ahmad Abu Hummus.
Courtesy of the family

The condition of Ahmad Abu Hummus, a 12-year-old boy from East Jerusalem remains unchanged a month after he was shot in the head by a sponge-tipped bullet. Abu Hummus was recently transferred to a rehabilitation hospital; he does not respond to his surroundings.

The boy was wounded early last month by a sponge-tipped bullet fired by a Border Police officer during a confrontation with protesters in the Isawiyah neighborhood. He was shot in the head and evacuated in serious condition to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem.

He suffered from skull fractures and was operated on for four hours. After a week during which he was unconscious and on a respirator, doctors tried to awaken him, but it was determined he suffered neurological damage.

His family says he is conscious, moves his limbs and opens his eyes, but does not speak and does not respond at all to his surroundings. A week ago he was moved from Hadassah to the Alyn Hospital rehabilitation center in Jerusalem.

“He does not respond and does not talk or anything,” said his father Tawfik Abu Hummus. “He moves his body but his mind doesn’t work. The doctors say that maybe there will be improvement.”

His family says he was shot even though he was not participating in the rock throwing in the area at the time. They have filed a complaint with the Justice Ministry unit that investigates police officers.

Police regulations allow the firing of sponge-tipped bullets at the lower limbs of rioters, and they must not be used against children and pregnant women.

In September 2014, Haaretz revealed that police were gradually introducing a new sponge-tipped bullet into use, one that was heavier than the previous bullet. Fifteen people who have been hit by these new bullets have lost eyes. Six of these people were minors, the youngest of whom was six, said the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.