A nine-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot in the face by Israeli police in a tense East Jerusalem neighborhood last week will not regain vision in his left eye despite surgery, a local community leader who is in touch with the family said Thursday.
Malik Eissa was hospitalized after being struck by a non-lethal munition on Saturday. Residents say he had just gotten off a school bus in the Issawiya neighborhood when Israeli 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.
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 Eissa lost vision in the eye following surgeries on Wednesday. He said doctors will operate again in the coming days to try and preserve the eye itself.
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, who 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.