8 December 2023

Mohammed had been in a coma for four days and underwent two operations to remove a rubber-coated steel bullet lodged in the back of his brain. (Middle East Eye)

Mohammad Fadel Tamimi has been dubbed as “the boy who refuses to die”.

Journalist, Nabeelah Shaikh reports on this sad and tragic chain of events.

A Palestinian boy who was shot in the head by Israeli shoulders in 2017 and received medical assistance from a team of doctors here in South Africa, was sadly shot again by Zionist forces in June – but he is on the road to recovery.

Mohammad Fadel Tamimi, now 20-year-old, has been dubbed “the boy who refuses to die”.

Tamimi, who is from Nabi Saleh, a village near Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank, was shot in the forehead by Israeli soldiers in 2017 while walking home with his little brother. He is the brother of feisty young activist Ahed Tamimi (21) who visited South Africa in 2017 with her family, including Mohammad, as part of a tour organized by local group Shamsaan Pals4Peace.

Durban activist Nadia Meer visited Tamimi and his family in Palestine last week and is hoping to assist the family.

“It was painful to see Tamimi that way, laying there with those serious injuries. He has swelling that needs to go down before he has his next major surgery. He will hopefully have his surgery in September and I hope I can return to offer him support,” said Meer.

Meer said children were constantly targets of Israeli soldiers and what has happened to Tamimi, needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

She said Tamimi was arrested and detained four times already, since 2014.

“He was shot twice and straight in the head of all places. This is clear that children are targeted and are the biggest victims in this all, and that’s what I’d like to highlight,” said Meer.

Meer is looking into how she can offer further support to Tamimi’s family, as his recovery will be a long road that would require different forms of therapy.

“I don’t want what has happened to other young people to happen to him. They feel full of despair and they feel like life is not worth living, and they just let themselves become targets for Israeli soldiers because of that. I don’t want that to happen to him, so I’m just trying to constantly be there for him and his family,” said Meer.

Tamimi’s aunt, Manal Tamimi, said the family was still in shock and it feels surreal that they’ve had to go through such trauma, for a second time.

“Mohammed is doing much better over the last few days. He’s finally speaking again and has started to eat. But it’s going to be a long road for him. We are all still very traumatized. It felt like a repetition of 2017, all over again. When we heard he was shot, we were told that he was dead. We arrived at the hospital expecting to see his body, but he miraculously survived this second bullet,” said Manal Tamimi.

The South African medical team that helped in the treatment of Tamimi previously, said they were shocked and dismayed.

“He has thankfully survived another gunshot wound to the head. After having surgical intervention at the Al Istishari Hospital in Ramallah for yet another incident of sustaining a head wound, Mohamed is recovering. It is with grave concern that we as medical professionals hear about the repeated gun related trauma to the brain sustained by this young patient,” said Dr Ridwan Mia, who was part of the team.

Mia said Tamimi underwent extensive surgery to his face in 2018, when he was brought to South Africa, and had made a good recovery.

“We would implore all humanitarian and governmental organizations to please begin to look after the rights of our children and ensure that they are kept safe and away from the brutal harm carried out by occupying armed forces. Children are innocent but unfortunately vulnerable targets in occupied Palestine, the Ukraine, Kashmir, Yemen and other parts of the world. And medical teams are left having to care for the various physical and mental injuries that they sustain because of the merciless attacks by occupying and foreign armies, who are equipped with state of the art weapons designed to inflict maximum bodily harm,” said Mia.

Mia said this was not acceptable in a world that claims to care for the rights of children.

“We pray and hope for Mohammed’s speedy recovery and wish strength upon his family who has to endure this trauma with him,” he said.

Meer says if anyone would like to assist with financial contributions towards Tamimi’s rehabilitative care, funds are being collected through her NGO, 2 Suns Shamsaan.

Account Name: Shamsaan

Bank: FNB

Account Type: Cheque

Account Number: 6277 168 6668

Branch Code: 210555

Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ

Reference: Tamimi

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