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Hassan grew up in Al Dheisheh Refugee camp, located just outside the city of Bethlehem, where he lives with his seven siblings and extended family. His grandfather first arrived in this camp in 1948 after the Israeli army expelled them from their home in the village of Khalda near Ramla.
On the morning of 4 January 2018, between 6:00 am and 8:00 am, Israeli soldiers stormed into Al Dheisheh Refugee Camp, seeking to arrest a camp resident. Clashes broke out between residents and soldiers in the center of the camp, and the chaos quickly spread to the outskirts of the neighborhood. Seeking an alternate entrance to the camp, the soldiers descended a hill and spotted a small group of boys awaiting their school bus. Hassan was one of the high school students at the bus stop, on his way to his final examinations and the last day of his high school career.
The chaos of the raid had reached the school bus area. Hearing the commotion, 17-year-old Hassan looked over his shoulder to hear the shouting from the military captain ordering his lieutenant to shoot at the boys. Hassan turned to see a frightened soldier, standing 15 meters away, discharge his firearm. He immediately felt a surge of pain in his back, knocking him backward as he collapsed. The sniper bullet had pierced his lung and lodged into his spine. Twelve minors were injured, with Hassan in critical condition. “I felt I was going to die. I started thinking of everything and everyone in my life. All I wanted was for the bleeding to stop and to feel my body again. I was completely paralyzed” — Hassan.
Hassan was rushed to the hospital by car, with local camp residents personally delivering him to the ICU.
The staff at the ICU at Husayn Hospital in Bethlehem determined that Hassan had been shot in the 9th spinal disc with a special kind of bullet that expands upon impact, leading to a rupture of his spinal cord, paraplegia, and a loss of sensation. Hassan was then sent to Mizan Hospital in Hebron, where a specialist performed a bullet extraction surgery, noting the unusual nature of the bullet and the severity of Hassan's injury.
As a result of this injury, Hassan is currently a paraplegic. That single incident profoundly changed his reality and the reality of those around him.
Hassan is now 21 and requires the help of his family to do the simplest tasks like moving, taking a bath or preparing a meal.
A teenager at the time he was shot, he had been looking forward to graduating from High School with many dreams yet to achieve. “I wanted to become a nurse and be a good influence to my people of Palestine.”
Hassan is seeking healing and rehabilitation. Hassan's dream is to walk and move again. He is still a young man and has not lost hope. Thank you for helping keep hope alive and supporting Hassan's healing journey!