'Am I Not a Human': Women under Occupation

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by P F Tinmore, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. P F Tinmore
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    P F Tinmore Platinum Member

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    Maysoon Saleh Nayef al-Hayek described her experience:

    "It was 25 February 2002, not long after midnight, I started having contractions. I woke up Muhammad, my husband, and we went to his parents' house to call an ambulance. We couldn't get through, so my husband took his brother's car and we set off for the hospital in Nablus. My father-in-law came with us. We arrived at Huwara checkpoint (and) were stopped by Israeli soldiers.

    "Muhammad was ordered out of the car and they checked his papers. Then my father-in-law and I had to (show ours). Then the car was thoroughly searched. We told the soldiers I had to go to the hospital to give birth as soon as possible, that I was in severe pain. They first refused, then told me to uncover my belly, so they could see I was telling the truth. After all this (for about an hour), we were told to go ahead. We drove on and after a few hundred meters I heard shots. There was heavy gunfire coming from the front of the car.

    "The car stopped, and I saw that my husband was hit and was lying on the steering wheel. He had been shot in the throat and upper body, and was bleeding heavily.

    Her father-in-law was also hit in the upper body, and shrapnel and flying glass injured her. Contractions were coming faster. Soldiers pulled her out of the car, made her undress to be examined, then left her on the ground, bleeding and in labor.

    When she finally reached the hospital, she gave birth to a baby girl in the elevator. Her husband died. Her father-in-law remained in a coma for 40 days. The incident irrevocably changed her life.

    Other pregnant women face similar situations, harassed and forced to give birth at checkpoints with no adequate hygienic or medical care to help. In February 2007, the UN Commission on Human Rights addressed the matter in a report titled, "The Issue of Palestinian Pregnant Women Giving Birth at Israeli Checkpoints," noting 69 cases from 2000 - 2006, according to Information Health Center of the Palestinian Ministry of Health records.

    Among them, 35 newborns and five women died for lack of care. In six other cases, Palestinian women were injured as a result of being beaten, shot, or affected by Israeli fired toxic gas.

    'Am I Not a Human': Women under Occupation
     

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