Israel shoots Palestinian, then bans him from Jerusalem hospitals

Israel shoots Palestinian, then bans him from Jerusalem hospitals
Officials have barred a Palestinian photographer allegedly shot in the eye by an Israeli soldier from entering East Jerusalem for specialist treatment.
2 min read
11 June, 2015
Shtayyeh was wounded while covering a demonstration near the city of Nablus [AFP]

A Palestinian photographer shot in the eye, allegedly by an Israeli soldier, has been barred from entering East Jerusalem to receive specialist treatment.

Nidal Shtayyeh, who works for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, was wounded while covering a small demonstration at Huwarra checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on May 16.

As he was covering the rally, Shtayyeh was hit in the face by a rubber bullet, causing serious damage to his eye.

"The march was peaceful and no stones were thrown, no photographers were taking any pictures," he told AFP, accusing soldiers of throwing sound grenades at the photographers without provocation.

"I raised my camera to my right eye to take a picture, but a soldier shot me in my left eye with his rifle, and the rubber bullet went through my gas mask's glass eye cover and into my eye."

An Italian camerawoman was also injured during the same demonstration, which came as Palestinians marked the Nakba, or "catastrophe", that befell them when Israel was established in 1948.

At the time, the army said at least 100 Palestinians had been throwing stones and petrol bombs, and that troops had responded with "riot dispersal means".

Shtayyeh was rushed to Rafidiya hospital in Nablus for initial treatment - but was prescribed specialist help at St John's eye hospital in occupied East Jerusalem.

As a Palestinian living in the West Bank, Shtayyeh had to apply for an Israeli permit to enter Jerusalem - but Israeli authorities have turned down his request.

He tried again twice - once through the Red Cross and once through a private Israeli lawyer. But both requests were rejected.

Shtayyeh's lawyer, Itai Matt, told AFP that his client had been informed it was the Shin Bet security service preventing his entry, despite being granted such permission before his injury.

According to Matt, Israeli security services frequently "bar entry to anyone wounded by the army".

"They even bar entry to wounded children seeking treatment in Jerusalem, because they are worried that anyone wounded will try and take revenge after their treatment," he said.

A spokesman for the Shin Bet internal security agency did not have an immediate response.