Israeli sniper robs Gaza boy of childhood

Ezz Al Deen Al Nawasra just wants to live a normal life and play with his friends but he lost his leg to an Israeli bullet

Gaza: Fourteen-year-old Ezz Al Deen Al Nawasra should be outside playing with his friends, but he can no longer enjoy basic childhood activites after losing his leg to an Israeli sniper bullet.

On May 14, Al Nawasra joined tens of thousands of Palestinian demonstrations on Gaza’s border with Israel.

The protesters were commemorating Al Nakba (Catastrophe) when Israel established its state on Palestinian land on May 15, 1948 creating thousands of refugees who were forced to flee their homes.

The demonstrators were also protesting US President Donald Trumps decision to shift the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Occupied Jerusalem as well as the dire living conditions in Gaza due to a crippling Israeli blockade in place for more than 10 years.

Like many worried Palestinian mothers, Al Nawasra’s mother warned him not to go to the protest, fearing for her son’s life.

Dozens of unarmed peaceful protesters had been shot dead in previous weeks of protest which began in March.

However, Al Nawasra ignored his mother’s warnings eager to join his friends and demonstrate his “courage” against Israeli oppression.

He told his mother he was going out to play football with his friends.

But on the dreadful day, more than 2,000 protesters were injured as Israeli snipers went haywire.

The United Nations and international rights group condemned the use of Israeli force on unarmed and peaceful protesters.

Speaking to Gulf News, Al Nawasra described a chaotic scene of people falling to the ground one by one after a slew of bullets flew towards them.

“One protester in front of me was shot in the arm. I tried to stop the blood from gushing out with my hands. Blood was everywhere,” he said.

“When I turned around to look for help I felt a sharp pain in my leg. I lost consciousness before I realised that I had been shot.”

He was transported to Al Shifa hospital but doctors there were unsure whether they could save his leg or not—given their limited resources.

As a result, doctors immediately amputated many limbs of the injured for fear of a spreading infection.

Doctors in Gaza attributed the severity of injuries to the explosive nature of the bullets used by the Israeli snipers.

The special bullet explodes once entering the body, slicing veins and shattering bones.

Al Nawasra was one of the lucky ones who was able to travel to Jordan to seek better medical treatment.

However, it was too late. By the time he arrived doctors immediately amputated his leg because it had become severely infected.

For young Al Nawasra, his entire life changed in the that moment.

Back at home, the young boy fell into a deep depression.

“My son used to be full of life and energy. He loved to play and help out his family. His mental condition deteriorated sharply,” his mother told Gulf News.

“He was in denial and at first completely isolated himself. He became extremely sensitive and prone to outbursts of anger.”

Embarrassed by his condition, he did not want to see his friends whom he used to play football with everday.

But luckily, the boy had a lot of support from family and friends, who came to visit him regularly.

This helped lift Al Nawasra’s spirits and he says he hopes to go back to playing football and swimming with his friends again.

Al Nawasra will soon head back to Jordan where his family hopes he can be fitted for a prosthetic limb.

“I just want to help my child in any way and give him as normal of a life as possible,” his mother said.

-Isra Namey is a freelance journalist based in Gaza

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