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Palestinian Girl: Being Shot Crushed My Dreams of Being A Teacher

Fatimah Kayed Al-Rajabi, 13 years old, daughter of Abeer Al-Rajabi, was shot by rubber bullet in the head 3 days ago while sitting on the balcony in her house in Silwan.
Fatimah Kayed Al-Rajabi, 13, was hit in the head by a rubber bullet while sitting on the balcony of her house in Silwan. Khaldoon Eid / NBC News

SILWAN, East Jerusalem — Fatima Al-Rajabi once yearned to be a teacher. A bullet fired during last week’s clashes in her East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan put an end to those ambitions. “My dream was to be a teacher — not anymore,” the 13-year-old told NBC News days after she was shot. “I can’t protect any child. I can’t give any advice.”

Violence shook the village of some 19,000 Palestinians after it emerged two weeks ago that two Palestinian houses had been sold to Jews. Israel sees the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as part of its territory and claims it has a right to build there. Palestinians view the same territory as part of a future Palestinian state and feel Israel is robbing land that belongs to them.

Fatima says she was shot as she stood on her family’s balcony on Oct. 28. “Suddenly, I was shot by a rubber bullet, fell on the ground, screaming. I was scared that I will die, will lose my eye. I thought about it all the time.” Al-Rajabi no longer goes close to the windows, and tries to listen to her mother. “My mother is scared all the time, keeps asking us to be careful, I keep telling her how I was shot inside the house,” she said. “I never threw stones, but I am really scared that one day I will be beaten or arrested by the soldiers.”

“I don’t think I will be able to be a teacher or even a mother,” she added.

Fatimah Kayed Al-Rajabi, second right, sits with her parents and siblings inside their house in Silwan.
Fatimah Kayed Al-Rajabi, second right, sits with her parents and siblings inside their house in Silwan. Khaldoon Eid / NBC News

IN-DEPTH

- Lawahez Jabari