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In the wrong place at the wrong time

Oday Saleh was on his way to the store when he was shot in the head during a clash between youths and Israeli security forces.


February 24, 2014 was to be a fateful day for Oday Saleh from Bethlehem. The then 15-year-old boy was on his way from his home in Bethlehem's old town to a shop near Aida refugee camp. Outside the camp, there were clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths. Oday was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was hit in the head by a bullet from one of the soldiers' firearms. None of Oday's family members were present when the incident occurred, but eyewitnesses are said to have told that the soldiers took Oday into a gate room, where they continued to abuse him. After half an hour, they should have called for an ambulance. The 15-year-old boy was transported directly to Hadasha Hospital. Eyewitnesses are said to have told that the soldiers took Oday into a gate room, where they continued to abuse him. "We were told he was not going to survive. It was a cruel day. We are happy that he did well, but have many challenges. The situation today is difficult: Oday needs help with most chores, "explains grandmother Jamila Saleh. New Time meets Oday and his grandparents in their home in Bethlehem. The now 18-year-old boy lives here with his grandparents and brother Amir. Two years and three operations after the fatal incident, the situation has improved considerably. Still, Oday has to live with the injuries he suffered every single day. Today he is paralyzed in half his body. "I struggle with pain in my head and in my left arm. I want to start school again, but have to wait until I am better, "says Oday, who after the accident spent ten months at a rehabilitation center in Beit Jala outside Bethlehem. The 18-year-old is now waiting to have a part transplanted to the skull to repair the damage to his head. Oday is not alone in being a minor exposed to violence by Israeli security forces. According to a report released by the United Nations (UNCOCHA) in January this year, 1190 children were injured by Israeli soldiers in 2014. About 280 of these occurred in July, during clashes following the bestial murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair in Jerusalem. . According to the report, in more than one in five cases, the soldiers used sharp ammunition against the children. Oday's family has hired a lawyer with a desire to take the case to court. But so far they have not come any way in the judicial system. The soldier who fired is still unpunished. So far, Oday and his family are the only ones who have to live with the consequences of the sniper's actions.

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