On Tuesday the 3rd of October, Israeli occupation forces stormed the Palestinian village of Biddu (Northwest Jerusalem), arresting 19-year-old Ayman Khaled-Khdour on unknown grounds.
In a kidnapping style arrest, the 19-year-old Ayman, was ambushed, tied and brutally hurled into the back of an Israeli military jeep. This happened to him whilst walking towards his home.
Ayman is one of approximately 90 Palestinians from Biddu village who are currently imprisoned by the Israeli state. Palestinians in the West Bank are subjected to Israeli military law - not civilian law like illegally occupying West Bank settlers - and can find themselves in prison for up to 20 years for throwing a stone and occupation soldiers, military jeeps and/or tanks.
The 19-year old’s kidnapping, is but only one case in Israel’s recent violent frenzy of arrests. The frenzy came following an attack against Israeli paramilitary guards and one police officer - guarding an illegal settlement called Har Adar - by a man named ‘Nimer Jamal’ from the village of Beit Surik. As a form of collective punishment upon the surrounding Palestinian population, Israeli forces immediately besieged 10 villages, including Biddu, raiding homes and harassing everyone they encountered.
I was notified of the Khdour families situation by a popular Palestinian peace activist Iyad Burnat and was advised to visit the family of Ayman -in order to understand and properly investigate the situation - before it is handed over to an Israeli military court. Israeli military courts maintain a 99.74% conviction rate (average) and amount to what can be described as no more than a kangaroo court.
So after being informed about what had happened, on the 7th of October I decided to visit the family home of Ayman Khdour and had a detailed discussion regarding the incident and its context. The bulk of my conversation was with the victim’s sister Shorouq Khdour and his father Khaled Khdour. Ayman’s family were notably very concerned for his wellbeing and at this point had no communication with their loved one whatsoever.
I quickly found out that Ayman’s direct abuse from the Israeli authorities came years prior to this incident. It turns out that Ayman (17 years old at the time) and his younger brother Fares (then 12 years old) were interrogated by Israeli intelligence back in late 2015. The reason behind the interrogation of these two miners, was to warn them about the consequences of publishing their political opinions on Facebook. As a result of the interrogation both brothers decided to stop posting their opinions.
Halting their opinions online unfortunately did not prevent the Israeli soldiers from inflicting a life shattering injury upon Ayman. On the 4th of January 2016, after leaving a cousin’s funeral, Ayman was shot in his left eye with a rubber coated steel bullet.
According to Ayman’s Medical report, written by Dr. Sami Al-Bdairat, he was inflicted with a “left eye globe rupture... total destruction of the left ocular tissues with bleeding in the anterior chamber and vitreous body of the left eye.”
“There is also choroidal and retinal detachment” stated the report, which noted multiple fractures to the “left orbit, left maxilla, nasal bone and five fractures of the left maxillary sinus”. Prior to undergoing five different surgeries in varying Jordanian hospitals, Ayman had lost his eye and was given a false eye to use in its place.
After the painful experience of losing his eye at such a young age, Ayman had to learn to function properly once again and to re-master his hobby of parkour. He had recovered remarkably well and was highly commended by his gymnastics teacher when on the 4th of August he was shot by an Israeli sniper. The internationally banned ‘tutu bullet’ was fired by an Israeli gunman, entering through Ayman’s right leg and exiting out of his left.
During the month following this, a number of phone calls were received by Ayman’s father Khaled. On the other end of the line was Captain Feras, an Israeli officer for North West Jerusalem, he informed Ayman’s father that if his son did not stop participating in demonstrations, he would be killed.
This leads us to the incident that occurred on the 3rd of October, when Ayman was taken. At the time of his arrest, no reason was presented as to why he was being taken, in fact it took weeks for the Israeli authorities to actually produce any justification for their actions whatsoever.
The court date had been changed from the 6th to the 8th (of October) and then from the 8th to the 16th, now has been set to the later date of the 5th of December. During this time - between his arrest to the court date - Ayman is to be kept in Administrative Detention. He has been subjected to various forms of torture and intimidation, having to remain in these inhumane conditions without access to his essential eye treatment.
After almost a month into Ayman’s detention, the charges that are being filed against this 19-year-old were finally revealed. Israel are accusing him of throwing stones at a military jet. Such an accusation is not only insulting, but seems more than un-probable from a one eyed 19-year-old man who is currently recovering from a bullet wound in both his legs...
Despite the fact that no evidence has been presented and the stones they accuse him of throwing aren’t even alleged to have hit the aircraft, Israel still insist that Ayman must pay for his actions. All of this of course begs the question; when in the world will any international body step in and address this illegal Israeli lunacy?