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Friday, April 14, 2006


Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion 2002

Here are some excerpts from Searching Jenin:Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion 2002, edited by Ramzey Baroud. You may order it here. It includes excellent portraits of the eyewitnesses by Mustapha Abu Turk.

Um Jamal writing about her son, Jamal:

"If you feed him, he will eat. If you don't, he doesn't. He is helpless like a little child. He is thirty-eight years old now. Since the first day, I have taken care of him, from feeding him to putting him to sleep...

"At that time, a bulldozer was demolishing the neighbors' homes. We arrived to the house and we found that the cupboard had fallen. Part of the wall had fallen on my son. He was alive but he was screaming in pain. My son has never spoken a word in his life. My daughter looked at him and said, 'Brother, we will try to move the debris.' For the first time in his life he spoke, and he cried out, 'Oh Allah, Oh Allah!'

"The bulldozer started pushing the house down while we were inside. 'Stop! Stop!' we screamed. But the driver wouldn't listen. We finally had to run out, leaving Jamal under the rubble. I was screaming, 'My son, my son is inside!' The Israeli soldiers shouted back at me and the women--they called us whores.

"Jamal will never disappear from my mind. For three days he remained alive under the rubble. He was buried with the house."

Ihab Ayadi who works for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the reief and rescue department as a paramedic and in ambulance dispatch:

"For two days, the soldiers held us in the hospital. People would call us, reporting wounded all across the camp, but we could not move. If we dared to leave, soldiers would immediately open fire, and we had to go back to the hospital for cover. Then they started shelling the hospital. They bombed the oxygen room. They bombed the day care. We begane running out of food and medicine. This was very difficult on us and on the people of Jenin. On one occasion, we were told that a house caught on fire after it was attacked by an Apache helicopter. A whole family burned inside, and we couldn't get to them.

"I love my job. It is so rewarding when you feel that you can save lives. But answereing telephone calls from people screaming that their loved ones are bleeding to death, while you cannot go to help, left me in a state of shock. I was one of many who wept those days because of the helplessness I felt."

Hala Irmilat:

"On Friday our house came under fire. Shattering glass and explosions were everywhere. My husband was very distressed, he wanted to know what happened to the house. . . he came crawling into the living room and found it full of glass shards. He came back to put some shoes on and returned to the living room. Barely one minute later, I heard one bullet. . . I gazed at him and then looked to my frightened children...

"I would like to add that my husband's body stayed in the house for seven days. He was martyred on Friday, April 5, and his body was not allowed out of the house until late the following Thursday. I begged the Israel soldiers to allow him to be buried but they refused. The children and I were trapped with him in the same room for the entire time. The children were too young to understand what happened to their father. I had to tell them that their father was still alive. Whe the kids would quarrel, they would try to wake him up to complain. Just five minutes before Attieh wa killed he was playing with Rami, telling him 'Don't make noise. The army will hear you.'

"'If I'm quiet,' Rami said, 'will you bring me a bottle?' After his father was martyred, Rami kept trying to wake him up to geth him his bottle. 'Wake up, Daddy. Why did you lie to me? I need my bottle,' he kept telling his father. Of course Rami is only four, and he was under the impression tht his father was just sleeping."

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