Funding Issues Delay Rehabilitation for Palestinian Man Paralyzed by Israeli Army Gunfire

Harun Abu Aram was shot amid clashes in the southern Hebron hills when he tried to stop Israeli soldiers from seizing a generator. The Defense Ministry didn't respond to several appeals to facilitate his treatment

Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf
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Harun Abu Aram at the hospital.
Harun Abu Aram at the hospital.Credit: Courtesy of the Abu Aram family
Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf

Harun Abu Aram, a 24-year-old Palestinian who is paralyzed since being shot in the neck by the Israeli army during a dispute over the confiscation of a generator in early January, has not been receiving required medical attention due to funding issues.

The Defense Ministry has not responded to appeals for funds needed to treat him in Israel. In the absence of a decision from the ministry, the Palestinian Authority may offer to foot the bill for his treatment in Israel.

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Abu Aram was shot on January 1 amid clashes in the southern Hebron hills following a dispute in the village of al-Rakiz, half of which falls inside an Israeli military zone. A hospital report at the time said that he was paralyzed by the injury.

The Israeli military said that Abu Aram was not shot deliberately. At the time, it said Military Police began a preliminary investigation, which would determine whether a comprehensive investigation would be opened. Two months after the fact, the army has told Haaretz that the preliminary investigation is ongoing.

Initially placed on life support in Hebron’s Ahli Hospital, Abu Aram is still in serious condition and can only communicate via eye movement. Two medical evaluations commissioned by nongovernmental group Physicians for Human Rights recommended that he be treated at an Israeli hospital, as he requires treatment that the Palestinian health system cannot provide.

Israeli hospitals agreed to treat his injuries on condition that they receive funding.

One of the medical evaluations by Dr. David Schol warns that “every delay reduces the chances for rehabilitation and [increases] the risk of the patient suffering irreversible damage.”

The village of al-Rakiz.Credit: Emil Salman

A letter by Nur Asi of Physicians for Human Rights says that Abu Aram requires respiratory treatment and rehabilitation. “Since the army says he was shot accidentally or due to negligence, Israel should bear responsibility for his medical treatment.”

Abu Aram’s family appealed to the Defense Ministry via Joint List lawmaker Ofer Kassif in mid-February, to transfer him for additional medical help. Physicians for Human Rights appealed to the ministry on Thursday. Both requests have not received any response.

The ministry told Haaretz that they have received the Thursday request and that it is under examination.

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