mothers in labor and/or their newborn babies, who died at Israeli
checkpoints while denied passage to Palestinian hospitals:
24 Sept 2001 - Omaya Hmad allahOmrran (25) suffered a hemorrhage and died on the way to hospital in Nablus. Her journey of 20km took five hours because of delays at Israeli checkpoints.
19 Oct 2001 - Rihab Noufal (30) was refused permission to pass through Al-Khader checkpoint to reach hospital in Bethlehem, even though she was in labor. Mother and baby died at checkpoint.
22 Oct 2001 - Rawida Naji El-Rashid and her husband, Nasser, had been trying to conceive for five and a half years, when Rawida became pregnant following a course of fertility treatment. In her seventh month of pregnancy, she went into labor, after which she and Nasser tried to reach the hospital. At first they tried to drive via the Wallajeh army checkpoint, at 9:30 am in a private car. For 10 minutes her husband, Nasser, tried to convince the soldiers to his wife was in labor. They laughed at him and forbade him passage. The couple returned home and changed the car and again 20 minutes of argument were to no avail. They decided to bypass the checkpoint through dirt tracks. The journey took an hour and a half: on the way Rawida gave birth to a premature baby, who weighed 1416 grams - a weight which has good chances for survival, given good care. But the baby arrived at the hospital too late, in severe condition, with low body temperature. The doctor’s attempts to save it were futile, and it died an hour after admission.
9 Dec 2001 - The baby of Ne'meh Yousef Saleh. Ne’meh was pregnant with twins, but suffered a hemorrhage and needed to be transferred to hospital in Nablus. The ambulance dispatched for her from Nablus Hospital was held at an IDF checkpoint for more than three hours, resulting in the death of one of the twins.
25 Dec 2001 – The baby of Kheyreia Ibrahem. The mother was in labor but she was prevented from crossing the checkpoints to reach hospital. The baby died after being delivered instead at a local private clinic, which lacked facilities for premature care.
26 Feb 2002 – The baby of Samar Taufiq Hamdon (31) died when the mother was delayed at an IDF checkpoint while trying to reach hospital.
2 Mar 2002 - The baby of In'am Yousif Abdel Ghani Salah (26) died when the mother was delayed at an IDF checkpoint while trying to reach hospital.
9 Mar 2002 - Rana Adel Abdel Rahim Hamad (17) died when delayed at an IDF checkpoint while trying to reach hospital. Baby also died.
2 Apr 2002 – The baby of Halima Mohammed Hussien al-'Atrash (40) died when the mother was delayed at an IDF checkpoint while trying to reach hospital.
28 Apr 2002 – The baby of Wijdan Elias al-Qadi (37) died when the mother was delayed at an IDF checkpoint while trying to reach hospital.
25 May 2002 – The baby of Faida Najajrah died when the mother was delayed at an IDF checkpoint near al-Khader, while trying to reach hospital.
31 July 2002 – Lila Hussam Bihary (18) died in labor at Qalqilya checkpoint, after being refused permission to pass.
29 Aug 2002 – The baby of Itidal Yasser Abu Aram died when the mother was delayed at an IDF checkpoint.
25 May 2002 – Aadleh Abdeljabar Saify delivered her baby at a checkpoint in Nablus, because the soldiers manning the checkpoint refused to allow her ambulance to pass. Baby died.
How did we get to the point where Israeli soldiers are preventing women in labor from reaching a hospital?
Suleiman Abu Hassan was in this world for one hour before departing it. His mother, in labor, spent 12 hours desperately trying to get to a hospital. She never made it. Mohammed Zakin died at the age of eight hours, after his mother spent half a night on the roads, finally arriving at a hospital by tortuous back routes. But she was too late as well. Suleiman's parents didn't even succeed in approaching the anonymous, faceless, inhuman soldiers who were perched in the tanks that blocked their way. Mohammed's parents did manage to approach the soldiers, but were unable to persuade them to let a woman in labor travel 1.5 kilometers on the main road - which is open to Jews only - to the maternity hospital in Jenin. The soldiers were contemptuous; they sent the parents back home.
These are not exceptional cases. This is policy. The siege that was imposed on Jenin encompasses everything, including ambulances and women in labor. These are not normal times. These are disgusting times, as the writer David Grossman put it, when a Palestinian woman in labor no longer has a way to get to a place of sanctuary. These are brutal times, which have no parallel since the onset of the occupation nearly 35 years ago. These are the worst of times.
And this is also the other side of terrorism - Israeli terrorism. A roadblock that doesn't let pregnant women in labor pass is a lethal roadblock. It attacks innocent civilians, just as in a suicide bombing attack. The victims of this Israeli terrorism, the members of the two bereaved families, sat this week in their homes in Yamoun village, their heartbreak plain to see. Their two dead sons, Mohammed and Suleiman, rest in the earth in the nearby cemetery, two children who lived only for a few hours. The blood of these two infants is on our heads. On the heads of those who gave the soldiers their orders, on the heads of the soldiers who obeyed those orders and treated two women in labor, who were writhing with pain, as they did. It is on the heads of all of us for permitting this evil machine to continue to run amok, uninterrupted.
"Her contractions got stronger. I went and asked again. I told them that my wife had to give birth, that soon she would give birth at the checkpoint. The soldier said: `Sit quietly.' I showed him the baby bag. I held onto my wife, she leaned on me. I pleaded with him a number of times and asked [to be allowed to pass]. He told me: `Sit quietly. Stay here and don't move.' But the contractions got stronger and stronger."
Daoud uses the overflowing ashtray and the cups of tea on the table to help describe the scene at the checkpoint: Here is where the soldiers stood and here is where Rula was. Rula sits silently as Daoud tells the story, listening intently, her brow furrowed. Daoud continues: "Next to the barbed wire there was a rock that was 40 centimeters high [one of the concrete blocks]. My wife started to crawl toward the rock and she lay down on it. And I'm still talking with the soldiers. Only one of them paid any attention, the rest didn't even look. She tried to hide behind the rock. She didn't feel comfortable having them see her in her condition. She started to yell and yell. The soldiers said: `Pull her in our direction, don't let her get too far away.' And she was yelling more and more. It didn't move him. Suddenly, she shouted: `I gave birth, Daoud! I gave birth!' I started repeating what she said so the soldiers would hear. In Hebrew and Arabic. They heard."
About 15 meters separated the soldier from the woman, and Daoud was in the middle, between the two of them. "He had his weapon out, threatening me: `Bring her here.' And I'm trying to convince him that she is giving birth. She was afraid of the soldier with the rifle. `I gave birth, I gave birth,' she screamed. I said to her: `Now they'll shoot me.' She stopped screaming. She had already given birth, behind the rock. She was quiet for a few minutes and then she started to scream again: `The girl died, the girl died!
Photo: A sharpshooter's T-shirt printed for members of the Shaked Battalion of the IDF's Givati Infantry Brigade. The design depicts a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills.".
Source: Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 (Ha'aretz); via Mondoweiss.