“They pointed a rifle at my back”, ten-year-old Muhammad talks about his arrest

Ramallah (QNN)- “They handcuffed me, blindfolded me, and pointed a rife at my back”, said the 10-year-old Muhammad Abu Msallam trying to summarize it all.

After violent confrontations erupted in Bireh, Ramallah during the funeral of Samah Mubarak, Israeli soldiers broke into the house of Abu Msallam family and arrested their 19-year-old son. Then they started the bargain; hand over your 10-year-old child to get your 19-year-old son back! However, shortly afterwards they found Muhammad around and arrested him.

Muhammad denied feeling scared, however he still remembers how his body was shaking. “I wasn’t afraid at all, but I was feeling really cold”, he said innocently. “They hit me with the rifles on my back and one of them kept pushing me with his rifle”, he added to QNN.

Muhammad has undergone intensive investigation in which they asked him questions about being part of confrontations and throwing stones, however that all was useless. They hold the child for few hours in Beit El military center. “The soldiers were dancing around me in circles and singing in loud voices”, Muhammad said.

The soldiers forced Muhammad to watch his cousin Mahmoud being beaten in an investigation room before being released 11 hours later to narrate what he saw.

Muhammad’s mother, Nazmiyyeh Abu Msallam, told QNN that she lost a son 2 years ago because of cancer. When the Israelis asked her and her husband to hand over Muhammad they were freaked out and refused it. “They have beaten my husband and pushed him to the ground while he was trying to take Muhammad from them”, she said. “All members of the family tried to release Muhammad but we couldn’t”, she added.

Nazmiyyah and her family had a difficult time waiting for Muhammad to be released, but when he came back he told her about everything. “He told me that he was begging the soldiers to allow him to use the bathroom but they kept refusing that for several hours”, she said.

Nazmiyyeh confirms that Muhammad wasn’t fully aware of what he was going through. He was calling the soldier ‘Ammo (uncle)! “He told me that he was trying to remove the blindfold to look at the sky when he was in the center’s yard,” she said. “But a soldier was approaching every time and tightening it again, ordering him to lower his head”.

Nazmiyyeh said that her son is still shocked of that experience and he keeps talking about it. “I took him to a hospital because I didn’t know what to do and how to deal with him. He hasn’t gone to school for a while but he went today hoping to stop thinking about that experience,” she said “Unfortunately, his teacher told me that he is still shocked and unable to focus on studying”, she added.

Muhammad keeps standing in a corner, telling his mother about the way how he was handcuffed and blindfolded, how they were beating Mahmoud in front of him, and how they were dancing and singing in circles. “Muhammad is still scared. He thinks a lot about that experience. He wants to continue telling me about it”.

Ms. Abu Msallam revealed that her family is prone to continuous Israeli assaults because they live close to Psagot illegal settlement. Palestinian residents in the area are always worried about their pregnant women and children to be suffocated by tear gas grenades, which are intensively thrown at their houses. “We don’t have a normal life. We’re always worried of the Israeli assaults. It is not safe even for children to play outside.”

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