Organs of Arab teen allegedly shot by police save Arab and Jewish lives

Muhammad Mahameed Kiwan’s father says it was ‘natural’ for him to try to save others once it became clear his son wouldn’t survive; ‘I want to let people live’

Muhammad Mahameed Kiwan, 17, who died of gunshot wounds in Umm Al-Fahm, May, 2021. (Courtesy)
Muhammad Mahameed Kiwan, 17, who died of gunshot wounds in Umm Al-Fahm, May, 2021. (Courtesy)

The organs of an Arab Israeli teenager who was killed in what his family alleges was a police shooting were donated to six patients, five of whom are Jewish, Hebrew media reported Sunday.

Muhammad Mahameed Kiwan died last Wednesday night from a head injury he received a week earlier during disturbances in his hometown of Umm al-Fahm.

His heart went to a 37-year-old man and his lungs to a 66-year-old man, with both transplants performed at Sheba Medical Center. His liver was given to another man, 69, at Beilinson Hospital. One lobe of his liver was transplanted into a 1-year-old boy at Schneider Children’s Hospital, one kidney went to a 16-year-old girl at Rambam Medical Center and another to a woman, 35, at Ichilov Hospital. Only the baby was Arab.

“It is true that my son died, but I want to let people live,” Kiwan’s father, Mahmoud, told the Walla news website. “That they shouldn’t God forbid die.”

The father said that as soon as it was clear to him that his son couldn’t be saved, “it was natural to me to give his organs to save other people.”

Screen capture from video of Mahmoud, father of Muhammad Mahameed Kiwan, 17, who died from a gunshot wound in the Arab Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm. (Walla news)

“Every person deserves respect, and I respect everyone, whether Jews or Arabs,” Mahmoud said of the transplants, urging all citizens to embrace his view of mutual respect.

Kiwan was survived by his parents, an older sister and two older brothers. Thousands of people attended his funeral last Thursday.

The Israel Police says that two officers fired at a car that ran into them near Umm al-Fahm on the day Kiwan was fatally wounded. But police say it is still unclear who fired the shots that killed him, or whether he was in the car that struck police.

According to police, officers called to the scene of a riot shot at “a passing car that rammed the commander and the officer, who miraculously sustained only light injuries.”

The car in question has yet to be located, although an investigation is ongoing.

ألمٌ كبير يعتصر قلوبنا بعد استشهاد ابن أم الفحم البار، الطالب الثانوي محمد محمود كيوان، وذلك بعد اسبوع من إصابته بالرصاص…

Posted by ‎يوسف جبارين – Yousef T. Jabareen‎ on Thursday, May 20, 2021

Kiwan’s family tells an entirely different story. According to Nadia, Kiwan’s aunt who spoke last week to The Times of Israel on the family’s behalf, Kiwan’s friends had persuaded him to drive out to Mei Ami junction on Route 65 to watch a confrontation between demonstrators and police.

“He wasn’t participating in the protest. He had driven out with some friends and they were in a car close to Mei Ami junction. They were approached by the two police officers and they got scared and started to drive off. The officers opened fire at the car,” Nadia said.

The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department announced on Thursday that it had opened an investigation into the shooting at the car, but also said it could not determine whether Kiwan died from police gunfire.

As a sign of mourning, Kiwan’s hometown Umm al-Fahm went on strike on Thursday. Shops shuttered in the city’s thoroughfares and thousands of residents attended a mass funeral in the evening where the crowd chanted: “We weren’t born to live in submission, we were born to live free.”

Kiwan’s death came as rioting and clashes between Jews and Arabs had spread across the country in the worst ethnic violence the country had seen for several years.

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