Hannouneh, who was born in the West Bank, moved to Arizona in 1986, where she now works as banker. She and her son Michael had come to Palestine, on a holiday, to visit friends and family. The incident occurred because 17 year old Michael, who suffers form a chronic heart condition, was listening to his i-pod.
Tina underwent surgery last week in Beit Jala. Afterwards, she spoke to PNN about her ordeal:
Michael, who has spent most of his life in the US, does not speak or understand Arabic. He was unaware that the man choking him was a security officer, and refused to give him the mp3 player. Hannouneh added, "The security officer was not wearing a uniform. My son couldn't have recognized him as army or police. He payed $400 for that i-pod, he's not just going to give it to anybody."
Confused and bewildered about what was happening, Michael held on to his i-pod. It was then that the officer became violent. Hannouneh explained that "the guy punched him, dropped him to the ground, and started banging his head against on the floor." She continued, "He shouted in Arabic `you can't say no to a police officer.'"
After trying to protect her son, the officer turned on Hannouneh. She commented, "As hard as he could he hit my face. I fell to the floor and hit my head on the metal bar in the security fence. I have two stitches and my nose is really smashed. My shirt and my pants were covered in blood".
The terrorized family's ordeal only came to an end when other officials realized they were American. Like all Palestinians, Hannouneh and her son were victims of institutional racism at the heart of the Israeli security service. Hannouneh told PNN, "They did this to me because of the color of my skin, because I'm Palestinian". She continued, "I can't even travel through the checkpoint and complain to the US Consulate in Jerusalem because I am Palestinian. It's humiliating".
Adi Dagan, from Machsom Watch, an Israeli human rights organization that monitors checkpoints, told PNN: "To them she is just a Palestinian. Palestinians are without protection. In 2004 we documented 100 complaints of violence and we only received about 10 responses, sometimes soldiers are punished, but often nothing happens. This is what ordinary Palestinians go through everyday."
-- American family brutally assaulted at Israeli checkpoint; PNN, 17 Jul 06. (via After Downing Street).
Photo: A T-shirt printed in late 2008 for members of a battalion of the IDF's Givati Infantry Brigade. The design depicts a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town, and reads: "Let every Arab mother know that her son's fate is in my hands!".
Source: Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 (Ha'aretz); via Mondoweiss.