[act-ma] Sat, 9/14: Important Fundraiser dinner: Healing Children Changing Lives
pfsoto at mynas.com
Sun Sep 8 21:58:16 PDT 2013
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Here's a note re Salam Salah who is now living in Massachusetts with two
sons. You may recall, Salam's husband, a professor, and her son
Mohammad were gunned down in Nabulus in 2005. It's been hard for her,
but at she seems to be adjusting to life in the USA and has found a
community of support.
This message is both a reminder of our fundraiser next *Saturday 9/14*
and a note about getting your last minute tickets.
There are a few tickets left and given the time left until next Saturday
I would like to advise you to simply sending me an email to
marwanelmasri at yahoo.com <mailto:marwanelmasri at yahoo.com> requesting your
tickets instead of sending checks at this time. You can then pay at the
*Healing Children Changing Lives*
*Dinner begins at 7PM,
Speaker Reception at 6PM*
TO RESERVE TICKETS PLEASE EMAIL: marwanelmasri at yahoo.com
<mailto:marwanelmasri at yahoo.com>
*FREE PARKING *
BOSTON MARRIOTT NEWTON 2345 COMMONWEALTH AVE. NEWTON MA 02466 SATURDAY,
SEPTEMBER 14, 2013
If you have already reserved tickets but have not actually paid for them
yet, please know that your tickets have been ordered with the hotel and
we are counting on your payment at the door.
Thank you very much for your support, and I look forward to seeing you
at the event.
BOSTON at PCRF.NET <mailto:BOSTON at PCRF.NET> PCRF.NET
<http://WWW.PCRF.NET> [Palestine Children's Relief Fund]
Death in a Cemetery <http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/news/printer185>
Gideon Levy, /Haaretz Newspaper,/ 23 July 2004
How many of us can imagine the night of horror that the Salah family
endured? To lie on the floor of the living room for what seemed an
eternity, embracing as one being, trembling with fear as the house was
blasted with bullets and missiles; to watch the sniper's laser ray doing
its dance of death across the apartment, searching out its victims; to
see the missiles slamming into the walls of the house, missile after
missile, as though an earthquake had struck; to get to their feet in the
dark following the order to evacuate the building before it was
demolished; to try to open the front door and discover that it had been
twisted out of shape by the gunfire and couldn't be opened; to open a
window and try to shout to the snipers, in the dark of the night, that
the door was jammed; to see the father of the family collapse from a
bullet fired into his neck by a sniper; to see the son collapse a few
minutes later from a bullet in his cheek fired by a sniper; to watch,
helpless, as your son lies on the floor, the life ebbing out of him,
next to his dead father, and to cry for help, but to find that the
soldiers will not allow anyone to enter; then to undergo an
interrogation and humiliation; and to discover that the entire contents
of the house had been destroyed.
That was the night of horror of the Salah family: the father, *Prof.
Khaled Salah, 51 at his death*, founder of the Department of Electrical
Engineering at An-Najah University in Nablus; his wife, *Salam*, and
their three children, Diana, 23, Mohammed, 16, and Ali, 11, all of whom
were at home that night. Fortunately for the firstborn, Amer, he was in
Boston, where he is an engineering student. It was a night of horror on
which the father, possessor of a Ph.D. from the University of
California, Davis, and a member of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Committee at An-Najah, was killed, along with his son, Mohammed, a boy
who loved soccer and dreamed of becoming a pharmacist, who lay dying on
the floor for lack of medical treatment, which the soldiers denied him.
Maybe you saw them. Two years ago, during the Mondial (the World Cup of
soccer), Channel 2 News correspondent Itai Engel broadcast a report of
his impressions from a house in Nablus where he had watched the game
between Brazil and Turkey as a guest of the Salah family. Engel was
flabbergasted this week when told what had happened to the family that
hosted him. The boy too? The boy, too. He said he had been charmed by
them, by the father and his son, both of them avid soccer fans. When
asked about the possibility of a game between Israel and Palestine,
Khaled consulted with Mohammed and then replied, "We're better, but
it'll be best if you win, because we'll be in for it if we beat you."
They talked about peace and about soccer.
Salam, the widow and bereaved mother, a survivor of that night, found it
difficult this week to remember the television piece and her loved ones'
remarks about peace. It's important for her that the Israelis know that
Khaled was a man of peace. Between fits of crying, still in shock, it's
important for her to tell the Israelis in detail what happened in the
pre-dawn hours of July 6 in her home on Saka Street, in Nablus.
PHOTO: view from the family's balcony
(Photo: Genevieve Cora Fraser)
Salam Salah got home from a wedding in the city a little before
midnight. Only she and Diana had attended the family wedding. Mohammed
stayed home with his father, watching television and waiting for the
candies his mother would bring from the party. Mohammed was very fond of
the white and pink wedding sweets stuffed with walnuts. No one could
have imagined that those would be the last candies he would ever eat.
Diana, who, like her brother Amer, was born in California - both are
American citizens - holds a degree in business administration from
An-Najah. She, too, was getting ready for her own wedding, a large-scale
affair that was set for next month.
They soon went to sleep. Mohammed was an anxiety-ridden boy. Born into
the first intifada in the tough city of Nablus, reaching adolescence as
the second intifada erupted, he was a habitual nail-biter. He sometimes
got nosebleeds, when the tension in Nablus rose. Salam says it might
have been because they overprotected the boy.
At a quarter to two they woke up in a fright to the sound of a powerful
blast. Salam and Khaled leaped out of bed and looked out the window of
their bedroom. They saw nothing. From the window of Diana's room they
spotted dark forms of soldiers surrounding the building. It was only
from the kitchen window that the full picture became clear. "It's like
hell," Khaled whispered to his wife. The whole area was swarming with
snipers, tanks, helicopters and other army forces that had come to
apprehend or liquidate wanted individuals who were probably hiding in
the ground-floor apartment.
Their building is situated high on Saka Street, wedged on the hillside,
with Nablus spread out below. The residences in the building are
spacious. Two neighbors are physicians, and Sami Aaker, the owner of a
sewing factory that produces garments for Israeli fashion houses is
another neighbor. Aaker's home now lies in ruins, like that of the Salah
Khaled herded the children into the living room and they lay on the
floor, folded into one another, five members of a family like one body.
From time to time, another missile or shell hit the apartment and
exploded, casting a lurid light, like fireworks. Occasionally
searchlights or the snipers' red laser rays lit up the darkened living
room. The electricity came and went. The door of the refrigerator,
damaged along with everything else in the house, opened wide and the
yellow light supplied a bit of illumination. Salam and Khaled called
everyone they could think of on Mohammed's mobile phone, trying to find
out what was happening. The shooting didn't stop for a second, and their
home was being gradually destroyed. They called relatives, asking them
to do something, fast.
One relative called the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, but even the long
arm of all-powerful America, whose nationals were in the besieged
apartment, was of no avail. One missile had already slashed into the
bedroom, another into the kitchen. Khaled's mobile phone rang in the
bedroom, but no one could get to it. They cried, prayed, shouted, fell
silent. And embraced one another. They had a Koran and they read verses
from it in loud voices, so people would hear.
"It was a nightmare. I will never recover from it. No horror movie I
have seen can compare to it," says Salam, who wears black mourning
clothes. Five missiles had already struck the house. Khaled tried to
calm them: "It's only property damage, no one has been hurt." Salam says
he was strong and knew no fear. They just didn't want him to move and
risk being hurt.
They heard the windows shattering, the water streaming from pipes that
had burst and the perfumes flowing out of bottles that broke one after
the other, their scents wafting through the apartment. From above they
heard the sound of a helicopter. The battle for the house was at its
height. "We phoned and phoned but everyone was helpless. It was war, and
my feeling was that none of us would survive it." It went on that way
for an hour and a quarter, until 3 A.M.
When quiet fell, Salam shouted, "Please, please, we are a family of
peace. My name is Salam, shalom." The quiet continued for a bit, and
then the shooting resumed. Immediately afterward, the Israeli force
ordered everyone to leave the building, because it was going to be blown
up. The order was given through a loudspeaker, in Arabic. "Anyone who
doesn't come out will have the building blown up with him inside," the
Khaled got up first. "We're all right, everyone is all right," he
whispered. He walked toward the corridor and turned on a light. Salam
told the children to wait until he could see what was happening. But the
shooting started again and Khaled hurried back to the living room. When
the shooting died down he again made his way toward the front door and
tried to open it. However, the door had been bent out of shape by the
gunfire and the key didn't work.
Unable to open the door, and taking seriously the soldiers' threat to
blow up the house with them inside, Khaled went to the bedroom, opened
the window, raised his hands and shouted to the soldiers, in English,
"Sir, sir, we need help. Please come and open the door. I am a
professor, we are people of peace. We have American passports." There
was no response. Khaled tried again, this time in Arabic: "Help, help,
we need help."
A split second later, Salam heard three shots. Khaled fell silent. She
would never hear his voice again. Inside the room, the terrifying red
laser ray pranced across the walls.
Salam crawled over to her husband and found him lying on the floor,
between the bed and the window. At first she saw no blood, but he was no
longer breathing. Then she saw the hole in his neck. "Diana, Diana," she
screamed, "they have killed your father."
Then she noticed Mohammed lying on the carpet next to Diana. "What
happened, Diana?" she cried. Diana said nothing. Salam quickly moved her
son, revealing his mouth. Blood was flowing from his mouth and his cheek
was split open. She tried to stanch the blood coming out of his cheek
using paper towels. At first, she says, she thought it was a superficial
wound. The boy groaned. His eyes were wide open and he emitted strange
noises. His eyes pleaded for help, but his mother had only the paper
towels. She opened the screen window in the room and shouted
hysterically to the soldiers, "You killed my husband and my son." She
says she heard a soldier laugh.
"Shut up, woman," the soldier commanded her, in Arabic. And again a red
laser beam skitted around the room.
"I will never understand how Mohammed was killed. Maybe one day I will
know. Khaled raised his hands, so he was a convenient target for them.
Him they killed in cold blood. They let him finish speaking and then
they killed him. But how Mohammed was killed I don't understand. I
shouted like a madwoman: `Help, my son is alive, we have to save him.'
They laughed and told me to shut up. The soldier who was laughing was
standing below, on the street. I sat on the floor and kept on shouting
like a crazy person. I pounded on the door until my hands were injured.
I don't know how those curses came out of me. I called for help, Diana
and Ali were crying hysterically, and the soldiers threatened to blow up
the building with us inside."
Mohammed was still alive. Diana also shouted to the soldiers that they
had two neighbors who are physicians, let them at least send over one of
them or let an ambulance get through. Salam says that every time their
shouting rose in pitch the soldiers threatened to shoot them unless they
shut up. Finally the soldiers said they would send someone. They sent a
human shield, using the outlawed "neighbor procedure," in this case the
neighbors' 15-year-old son. The lean boy pushed the door from outside,
Salam pulled from inside, and at last the door opened.
"We went out in our pajamas with our hands raised," said Salam. "The
soldiers spoke to us humiliatingly. I shouted that my son and my husband
are killed and they laughed at us, imitating my shouts. They took us to
the neighbors' apartment. Diana asked where she should sit and a soldier
said, sit on your bottom. When I asked to see the commanding officer,
they laughed at me. When I said I wanted to be with Mohammed they
imitated me. This is the most criminal and most cruel army in the world.
It was murder in the first degree."
At 6:15 A.M., four and a half hours after the attack began, the soldiers
allowed a Palestinian ambulance to drive up to the building. The father
and the son were dead. Salam was taken for interrogation by "Captain
Razel" from the Shin Bet security service, who questioned her about the
wanted men who had hidden in the apartment below. She had no idea, she
says, what was going on outside.
And that wasn't the end of it. "After all that they went into the house
and shot at everything they found. Everything. There isn't a dress,
there isn't a towel they didn't shoot at. At the computer, the
refrigerator, all our belongings, they destroyed everything. They didn't
leave us so much as a pair of socks. They destroyed everything. A home
of 20 years, all our memories, all our dreams, our whole history.
Imagine to yourself what's in a home of 20 years. They destroyed it all.
My husband's books. I don't understand why. They just wanted to show us
how strong they are and how cruel."
What do the soldiers who were involved think now? The sniper who shot a
father and his son to death, and those who denied the dying boy medical
assistance? The army issued a statement the next day: "Dr. Salah and his
son Mohammed were apparently killed by IDF gunfire, but there was no
intention to do them harm. Because of the shooting of the wanted man
from the building, the soldiers were compelled to shoot in different
stages at every floor and at the roof of the building, and it's possible
that in one of the instances the soldiers didn't identify the sources of
fire correctly or were forced to open fire at suspicious movements.
Because of the continuation of the event and the lack of information
about whether there were additional wanted individuals in the building,
it was not possible to send medical teams into the building."
Sirens wail in the main streets of Nablus. Another funeral procession -
Yasser Tantawi, 21. His brother, Khaled, 19, was killed two months ago.
Both are from the city's Balata refugee camp. A Swedish volunteer,
Henryk Larsen, a medical student from Uppsala University, who joined an
ambulance of the Medical Relief Organization, was an eyewitness to
Yasser's killing last Saturday night.
Youngsters threw stones at Jeeps, the soldiers opened fire, Yasser was
wounded in the leg and fell to the ground. The event took place in the
camp's cemetery. Larsen tried to treat the wounded man, but came under
fire and had to retreat. He saw Yasser's body jolted back and forth as
the soldiers kept shooting at him. They shot him, he says, after he had
already been wounded in the leg.
Dr. Rasan Hamadan, from the Medical Relief Organization, says that about
10 bullets were found lodged in Yasser's body and that the medical team
reported that he was unarmed. Larsen, too, says he saw no weapon.
The response of the IDF Spokesperson's Office: "During operational
activity by an IDF force in Balata refugee camp the force came under
fire and a number of explosive devices were thrown at it. The soldiers
opened fire at a terrorist armed with a Kalashnikov rifle who was
advancing toward them, and killed him. In the complex reality in which
the IDF operates, maximum efforts are made to avoid injury to the
innocent. At the same time, in the case of armed individuals who are
endangering IDF soldiers and those around them, it is the soldiers'
obligation to prevent them from acting."
Two days later, on Monday of this week, soldiers killed another
stone-thrower in the Balata camp cemetery. His name was Husam Abu
Zeitouna. He was 14.
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