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Down syndrome Palestinian to receive support in Turkey

ISTANBUL: Mohamed al-Tawil, a 29-year-old Palestinian with Down syndrome who was detained for an hour by Israeli troops in Hebron on December 10, was brought to Turkey to receive social and psychological support.

Tawil was brought to Istanbul with his parents with the help of the International Down Syndrome Federation (UDF) — an NGO based in Turkey.

Last Thursday, Tawil told Anadolu Agency a soldier handcuffed him and took him to Al-Debwaya police station despite the [Israeli] army’s awareness of his condition.

“They beat me there and then left me,” Tawil said.

Dozens of Israeli soldiers had been deployed in Hebron at checkpoints to protect Jewish settlers in the West Bank city.

Photos of Tawil’s brief arrest were widely shared on Arab social media and drew widespread condemnation.

UDF head Muhammed Abdullah Tuncay said the images showed Israel’s “insult to humanity” for abusing a person with a medical condition.

Eight hundred Israeli settlers currently live in the Old City district of Hebron, 20 percent of which is under Israeli control while the other 80 percent is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The incident occurred amid mounting tension across the Palestinian territories following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem—occupied by Israel since 1967 — might eventually serve as the capital of an independent state of Palestine.