Updated: Sep 27
Mohammed al-Tamimi (Hamude) محمد هيثم التميمي
2.5-years old, from Nabi Saleh.
Design: Lahav Halevy
Thursday, June 1, 2023, 4 p.m. The Israeli army closes the metal gate and places a checkpoint at the entrance to the village. A procedure that takes place often. The scenario that goes with it is familiar. The checkpoint is located at a distance of 200 meters as the crow flies from the home of Haitham and Marwa Tamimi, and their sons Mohammad-Hamude and Osama. The checkpoint, as always, creates a traffic jam.
6:30 p.m. Haitham is on his way home from his work as a chef in Ramallah hotels. Stands at the traffic jam. Marwa and he planned to attend a family birthday celebration at the Deir Nizam village close by, but decided to give up their plan in face of the restrictions on entering and exiting the village. They prefer to visit family relatives living 100 meters away. Haitham plays with Hamude in the yard. Hamude runs around the family car. An energetic child, he was. Marwa is inside, getting ready.
The time is 8:20 p.m. The father notices two jeeps entering the village. From experience, he knows that clashes are about to take place. He wishes to protect the child and gets him inside the vehicle. Two shots are immediately fired from the military watchtower above the metal gate. One of them hits the windshield, the other – the dashboard. The father decides to move on. He wishes to protect his child, drives backward and turns the car around. Another four bullets are fired at them: one hits Hamude in the head, another hits Haitham’s shoulder, and two hit the car.
Marwa says: “I heard gunfire. I came out and saw my husband’s shirt filled with blood. He hadn’t noticed that he was hit because he was busy with Hamude, hit in the head. When I saw him, I said: Hamude is gone.” Haitham, shaking with fear, drives to his relatives’ home. There the relative joins them and they drive to the checkpoint. They yell that there’s a critically injured person inside the car and that an ambulance is urgently needed. At first, they are told to call Ramallah. But then the officer in charge makes them wait near Halamish colony.
Hamude is evacuated to an Israeli hospital, Haitham to one in Ramallah. Marwa wishes to be taken away with her baby. A soldier threatens her with his weapon, that she better go away or be hit. Only on the next day is Marwa permitted to be at her son’s side. Haitham receives such permission only after four days.
For five days Hamude hangs between life and death, until the doctors declare him clinically dead, and decide to disconnect him from the machinery. On June 5, Hamude is dead. “I dreamt of seeing Hamude and Osama growing up together, going to school, to the university. I dreamt I would attend his wedding…”
The Israeli army attacked the next day, as well as at the funeral procession itself. On both occasions people were wounded. The army’s first version: Hit by Palestinian fire.
The army’s second version: Hit by soldiers who responded with fire to shots at the watchtower. The villagers’ version: No such shots had been fired. Army’s version: Mistaken identity. No legal proceedings were taken against the shooters. A warning targeted the officer who shot in the air and confused the soldier.
According to Yesh Din: Of the hundreds of complaints lodged against soldiers shooting Palestinian civilians, only 1% of them end up as indictments.
Sources: Haarets (Gideon Levy), B’Tselem, Local Call, Yesh Din Organization.
Poster design: Lahav Halevy.