Targeting Palestinian Mothers
By Reham Alhelsi
22 March, 2010
Avoice From Palestine
Targeting the weakest and the most vulnerable is neither new nor surprising when it comes from an entity that stands on the ruins of Palestinian villages and is swimming in the blood of its Palestinian victims. It is the mentality of Zionists who in cold-blood aim to kill Palestinian children, who write on their helmets: Born to Kill and who wear T-Shirts with images of dead Palestinian babies and guns aimed at Palestinian babies. It is an entity that is proud of slogans showing images such as that of a pregnant Palestinian woman with a target sign on her belly and the inscription: 1 shot, 2 kills.
During the Nakba, the Zionist usurpers committed countless massacres. Often it was the women and the children who were first targeted and brutally murdered as a warning and to frighten others and force them to leave. Accounts of the Deir Yassin massacre (9-10.4.1948) mention that among the 254 Palestinians victims were 25 pregnant women who were bayoneted in the abdomen while still alive. Another 52 children were maimed in front of their mothers before having their heads cut off by the Zionist terrorists. After the village of Beit Darras had been surrounded by Zionist terror groups and further Zionist mobilization was on the way to occupy the village, the Zionist terror groups called on the Palestinian residents to leave the village safely from the south side. The villagers decided that it was safer for the women and children to leave, since it was the village the Zionists wanted. Upon leaving the village, all the women and children were massacred by the Zionist terrorists. During the Khisas massacre (18.12.1947) the 12 victims killed by the Zionist terrorists were all women and children. Other massacres such as Sa’sa’, Balad Il-Sheikh, Abu Shusha, Beit Daras, Tantoura, Dawaymeh and many others show the same pattern of killing unarmed pregnant women, mothers and their children. Targeting mothers and children continued after the Nakba. During the Kufr Qasem massacre (29.10.1956) whole families were massacred, and women were butchered with their children. In Qibya (14-15.10.1953), after the Zionist terrorist militia ordered the residents to remain in their homes, it blew up these homes, killing entire families. On 07.02.1951, Zionist terrorists killed 10 unarmed residents of Sharafat, including 3 women and 5 children. Similar patterns follow in the massacres of Azazmeh, Beit Jala, Qalqilia, Gaza and others more.
During the first Intifada several mothers were shot dead by the IOF. Also pregnant women were targeted and a number were killed mainly by the poisonous gas used by the IOF against unarmed Palestinians:
1. Wujdan Hafith Rajab Faris (35 years old) from Khan Younis, Gaza, suffocated by gas fired by Israeli soldiers on 10.1.1988, she was pregnant in 7th month.
2. Amira Ahmad Omar Abu Askar (35 years old) from Jabalia, Gaza. On suffocated by gas fired by Israeli soldiers on 11.1.1988, she was pregnant.
3. Nabila Ali Al-Yaziji (35 years old) from Ash-Sheikh Ridawn, Gaza, suffocated by gas fired by Israeli soldiers on 26.3.1988, she was pregnant.
4. Dawlat Daoud Al-Masri (18 years old) from Jabalia, Gaza, suffocated by gas fired by Israeli soldiers on 27.9.1988, she was pregnant in 6th month.
5. Aziza Salim Jabir (27 years old) from Hebron, was shot dead by a Zionist settler on 06.08.1990, she was pregnant.
Another Zionist method of murdering Palestinian mothers is the network of over 630 Israeli military checkpoints/roadblocks in the West Bank, aka the "traps of death". Patients in need of urgent treatment and medics rushing to save lives are often delayed at Israeli military checkpoints, constituting another war crime added to the ever-growing list of war crimes committed by the Zionist entity. Alone between 2000 and 2005 137 Palestinian patients, including 37 women, died at checkpoints because Israeli soldiers either prevented ambulances from passing and reaching the patients or prevented them from transporting patients to hospitals beyond the checkpoints. In many incidents, Palestinian mothers, including the elderly, the sick and the pregnant, were stopped and humiliated at checkpoints. Pregnant women are delayed at checkpoints and often prevented from reaching hospitals, causing many to give birth at these checkpoints. The deliberate delays at checkpoints have resulted in several premature births, stillborns and even the death of some of the mothers as Israeli Soldiers ignore the cries of suffering women and demand they get a special permit. Because of these checkpoints, Palestinian mothers are forced to deliver on the road or inside cars at the checkpoint. Many have to travel up to 4 hours and longer to reach a medical centre. One example is baby Zaid who died only moments after his birth when the Israeli soldiers refused to let his mother Nahil Abu Raja (21 years old) from Qasra, south of Nablus, to pass the Huwwara checkpoint and go to Nablus hospital. The medics who reached the checkpoint one hour after Nahil gave birth could only declare the baby dead. Around 6 pregnant women were also beaten or shot at by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. Many mothers are forced to give birth at home, despite fear of complications because they fear they will be stopped at checkpoints and won’t make it in time to the hospital. In Azzun Atma near Qalqilya pregnant women are even forced to take up residence outside the village until they deliver out of fear that they might not be able to get the necessary medical treatment. The village, encircled by the apartheid wall, is separated by a gate from the rest of the West Bank. This gate is not manned at night, making the village a prison to its residents. According to a B’Tselem report, alone during 2006 some 20 out of 30 pregnant women from Azzun Atma were forced to relocate outside of the village because of their pregnancy.
Since the beginning of Al-Aqsa intifada in 2000 and till 2006 at least 69 Palestinian women gave birth at Israeli checkpoints in front of Israeli soldiers. This led to 35 miscarriages and the death of five mothers:
1. Rana Adel Abdel-Rahim Al-Jayyousi (17 years old) from Qour, Tulkarim: went into labor on 09.03.2002 and because of the closure of roads she was forced to give birth at home. Her baby was stillborn and when her condition deteriorated her family tried transporting her to hospital in Qlaqilia. They were stopped at an Israeli checkpoint for half an hour and when the ambulance arrived, Rana was already dead.
2. Aisha Abdel-Kairm Nassar (28 years old) from Al-Janyeh, Ramallah: on 23.1.2001 was in a critical condition after giving birth, but was stopped at an Israeli military checkpoint and delayed for 45 minutes. She died before reaching the hospital.
3. Rihab Nofal (30 years old) from Husam, Bethlehem: she went into labor on 18.10.2001 but Israeli soldiers stopped her at a checkpoint and prevented her from reaching the nearest hospital. She died.
4. Umayyah Hamad-Allah Imran (25 years old) from Azzoun, Qalqilia: on 24.09.01 she suffered from heavy internal bleeding after she had given birth, but was stopped at an Israeli checkpoint and her transport to the hospital was delayed. She left to hospital at 3 pm and reached it at 8 pm although the hospital lies only 20 km away. When she finally got there, Umayyah was dead.
5. Laila Husam Baheiri (18 years old) from Qalqilia: went into labor on 31.07.2002 but was prevented by Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint from reaching hospital which led to her death.