Israel Shot a 15-year-old Palestinian on the Gaza Border. Then It Barred His Hospital Visitors

Adam Salem was hospitalized in Israel for two weeks without being allowed to talk to his family or to receive visits from a lawyer, even though he was not under arrest

Gaza protests at the border, April 2018.
Eliyahu Hershkowitz

A seriously wounded 15-year-old Gaza boy who had been shot at the Gaza border fence was blocked from having visitors in an Israeli hospital or even speaking to his family for two weeks, even though he was not under arrest. His mother’s request to cross into Israel to visit him never got a response.

Adam Salem was released from Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon on Tuesday, but only after Haaretz inquired about him and the Gisha and Al-Mezan human rights groups threatened a court petition.

Adam Salem, who was wounded by IDF gunfire, June 12, 2018.

The army says Salem was shot in the thigh when he tried to cross the border in northern Gaza on June 27. When he was hospitalized, ammunition casings were found in his pocket. He was kept under guard at the hospital, with no one, including two attorneys, were allowed access. Gisha says that no Israeli official contacted the family during his hospitalization.

To really understand Israel and the Palestinians - subscribe to Haaretz

Salem is now at home waiting to be admitted to a hospital in Gaza City. “I am hoping that the injury isn’t serious enough for doctors to have to amputate his leg,” said his father, Imad. 

He said his son was repeatedly told by soldiers to tell them who had sent him to the border and if Hamas had pushed him to go. “He told me [the soldiers] threatened and yelled at him, and that one soldier hit him in the leg, but that he told them that he and his family have nothing to do with Hamas.”

The IDF spokesman refused to address the boy’s being denied visitors, saying only: “The Palestinian youth was taken for medical treatment in Israel after he was shot in his leg following damage to the security barrier and an attempt to infiltrate into Israeli territory. The medical treatment ended and he was returned to the Gaza Strip.”