Bedouin Boy Wounded by Stray Bullet at IDF Firing Range Is Transferred to Israeli Hospital

Yasser Abu Aram had been waiting for advanced medical tests, but was forced to wait two weeks due to bureaucratic mix-up between Palestinian Authority and Israel; Tel Aviv hospital says there is no need for additional surgery

Yasser Abu Aram, 3, in the arms of his grandfather, also called Yasser Abu Aram. outside Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, January 25, 2018.
\ Moti Milrod

A 3-year-old Bedouin boy who was shot in the head earlier this month on an Israeli firing zone in the West Bank was transferred to a Tel Aviv hospital on Thursday, where he underwent additional tests.

Yasser Abu Aram had initially been admitted to Rafidiah Hospital in Nablus on January 8, with a bullet lodged in his head. Doctors at the West Bank hospital performed surgery, but concluded that they did not have the necessary medical facilities for his continued treatment.

However, due to a bureaucratic miscommunication between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Abu Aram remained at the hospital for two weeks. His transfer to Ichilov Hospital followed a Haaretz report earlier this week.

Doctors at Ichilov determined that there was no need for Abu Aram to undergo further surgery and he is now expected to be released back to the West Bank.

The boy’s grandfather, also called Yasser Abu Aram, confirmed that a doctor at Ichilov said his grandson requires no further treatment, but added the family would be taking him back to Rafidiah Hospital.

The boy’s family lives in a Bedouin encampment that was set up without the permission of the Israeli authorities, in the middle of an army firing zone near a Kfir Brigade training base in the Jordan Valley. His is the only family living in the area.

The boy’s grandfather said the 3-year-old was shot in the middle of the night during a training exercise. Israel Defense Forces sources have confirmed that training was conducted in the area that day, but they said the family’s account of the incident was inconsistent with IDF records on the timing of the training.

Following the bullet to the head, the boy continued to function but was vomiting and also bleeding from his head wound.

The family had approached the PA for assistance in transferring him to a hospital in Israel for a more advanced medical assessment, but there was no progress for two weeks. When Haaretz questioned the Civil Administration – the Israeli governing body operating in the West Bank – on the matter, staff there said they had not received any such request. The arrangements were made only after Haaretz’s report.

The boy’s transfer to Ichilov was facilitated by the peace activist women’s group Machsom Watch.