Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion on Saturday paid a visit to the hospital bed of a nine-year-old Palestinian boy who lost sight in his eye after he was shot in the face earlier this month by Israeli police in a tense East Jerusalem neighborhood.
Malik Eissa was hospitalized after being struck by a non-lethal munition on February 15. Residents say he had just gotten off a bus in the Issawiya neighborhood when police opened fire.
Police said at the time that they had responded to riots in the neighborhood and used non-lethal weapons, which usually refers to rubber-tipped bullets and sponge rounds that can cause serious injury but are rarely fatal. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said an investigation into the incident was underway.
In his visit to Eissa’s bedside, Lion promised to take the boy under his care. “Tell me what you want and you’ll get it, I’ll take care of him as if he were my son,” he said, according to the Haaretz daily, which cited the boy’s father, Wael.
Lion did not release a statement or footage of the visit, but a video of it was published on social media.
On Sunday, Malik is due to undergo his third surgery since his injury, in which doctors will remove his left eye to prevent danger to the other eye and the brain.
Channel 12 news reported Thursday evening that two policemen involved in the incident had been questioned under caution by the Police Internal Investigations Department. The policeman believed to have fired the round that hit Eissa has asserted he was targeting a wall to check his gun’s calibration, the report said, though investigators question that claim.
Mohammed Abu al-Hummus, a community leader who has been regularly visiting the family at the hospital, said Thursday that Eissa had lost vision in the eye following surgeries on Wednesday.
Issawiya residents say police have been carrying out near-daily raids in their neighborhood for several months that frequently ignite demonstrations and clashes. The police blame the violence on local youths, whom they accuse of throwing stones and firebombs at patrol vehicles.
The Times of Israel reported on the tensions in the neighborhood last month.
Issawiya is part of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War along with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. Israel views the whole city as its unified capital, while the Palestinians want a capital in East Jerusalem.
AP contributed to this report.