The Pregnant Woman: An Everyday Story from Palestine

Our corporate and state media deliberately fails to report what is happening daily in Palestine. This account from Reuters three days ago was not used in any British mainstream media:

JERUSALEM // Israeli police shot and killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her teenage brother yesterday at a checkpoint near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, police and witnesses said.

Israeli police claimed the pair approached the vehicles-only lane at the Qalandiya military checkpoint and tried to carry out an attack. They said the woman was holding a knife and both she and the man walked rapidly towards police and security guards in a vehicles-only lane at the Qalandia checkpoint outside Jerusalem.

Alaa Soboh, a Palestinian bus driver who said he witnessed the incident, said the pair had appeared to be unfamiliar with crossing procedures and were swiftly challenged at the checkpoint.

“As soon as the two crossed, [Israeli forces] started screaming ‘Go back, go back’, and then they began shooting,” he said.

“The first one they shot was the girl, the boy tried to go backward, when they fired seven bullets at him.”

A witness told the Palestinian Maan News Agency that Israeli forces fired more than 15 rounds into the woman’s body.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli forces denied Palestinian paramedics access tothe woman for medical treatment, the agency reported.

The pair were identified as 24-year-old mother of two Maram Abu Ismail, and her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim Taha. The siblings were from the West Bank town of Qatuna.

The victims’ family, interviewed by Palestinian media, said that Maram was five months pregnant at the time of her death.

No Israelis were injured in the incident.

The military checkpoint where the two were killed is a main ­access point for Palestinians to cross from the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem and has been the site of a number of alleged, actual, and attempted attacks since October.

In the past six months, Israeli forces have killed at least 193 Palestinians, 130 of whom Israel said were assailants.

Many others were shot dead in clashes and protests.

* Reuters

Frankly I do not believe that the pregnant woman was walking towards the heavily armed soldiers openly wielding a knife from a distance. If she were attempting to stab a soldier, she would have concealed any knife, and not called attention by walking in the vehicle lane. Even if the account were true, I do not accept that a group of soldiers could not defend themselves against a heavily pregnant woman with a knife, spotted at a distance and approaching on foot, in any other way than by putting fifteen bullets into her, even if her sixteen year old brother was with her – and witnesses say he was backing away when he was himself shot.

The truth is that Palestinian lives simply do not matter. They did not matter to the Israeli soldiers who callously shot them dead rather than try to discover what was actually happening, and they do not matter to the British media who do not report this, yet find massive room for ludicrous accusations against British supporters of Palestine. Reuters tells us that 193 Palestinians have been killed in six months. These two will be added to the 130 whom Israel claim were assailants, a very large number of whom were in reality not. But even the Israeli figure admits Israel has killed 63 Palestinians who were not assailants, and many thousands more have had their homes destroyed to make way for yet more illegal Israeli settlers.

An everyday story for Palestinians. A terrible personal tragedy for the murdered woman, her murdered little brother, her unborn child and her surviving small children.

And here is the secret. The British media are frightened that you will care. That is why they do not tell you.

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