Thursday, July 29, 2004

Media always misses human tragedy July 27, 2004


By Ray Hanania

Special units of Israel's shock troops are constantly entering Palestinian areas and attacking civilian homes, killing their inhabitants, destroying the homes and leaving. It happens every day.

Israel's military occupation prevents the media from covering these invasions. Few are reported. I think you can understand why. In the middle of the night on July 6, one of these Israeli units entered the city of Nablus.

They surrounded the home of Khaled Salah, a husband and father of three children, Diana, Muhammad and Ali. He was a professor of engineering at An-Najah National University. Salah was not involved in terrorism or even resistance. The Salah family was shocked from its sleep. They huddled together in fright. The children were crying.

His daughter, Diana, described the events at a press conference held the next morning at the University (transcript according to the Public Relations Department at An-Najah National University):

"Last night, about one o'clock, I heard a bomb explosion. I saw Israeli soldiers come into the house. My father rushed into my room. I told him, 'Dad, it is full of soldiers downstairs.'

"'Are you kidding?' he said.

"'No,' I answered. He went to look in the kitchen. He rushed back and took me from my bedroom into another room.

"Our house is open. All rooms have windows, and the windows were all open. The only room with three walls is the living room. We all huddled there, Dad, Mum, Muhammad, Ali and I. We were all in one corner of the room for three hours. We could hear the shooting and bombing, they were using all kinds of weapons: tanks, rockets, helicopters and M-16s. Fire was crossing our house.

"We were so afraid, but Dad said an Arabic expression: 'Let it be the money and not children.' It means better to lose money than souls. I was crying, but he tried to cheer me up, saying: 'I didn't know that you are such a coward.' Up until that moment we were all OK.

"Minutes later, shooting stopped. It was so quiet. 'It is over!' we thought. But then the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) started shouting over loudspeakers: 'Open the doors! All people out of the building!'

"Dad went to open the door, but he couldn't move it. The lock of the door was damaged from the bombing so the door could not be moved. He went to his bedroom window, held his hands and called in English to the soldiers: 'We can't open the door. The door is damaged. I am a peaceful man. We all are peaceful people. I have children. My daughter has an American citizenship. I have an American green card, I have no weapons. Only my children are here. Come and open the door. I can't open it.'

"Then in Arabic he shouted: 'Help . . . help . . . somebody come and open the door.' Suddenly we heard shooting, and my Dad's voice stopped. Mum ran in to find my Dad lying on the floor. She called to him, 'Khaled. Khaled. What happened?' She came back crying and told us, 'They killed your dad.' . . .

"My other brother, Muhammad, was on the floor. My Mum asked me, 'What's wrong with Muhammad?'

"I said, 'I don't know.' I can see him there. I thought maybe he was kidding. We called to him. He didn't answer. Then we saw blood coming out of his mouth. But we could feel him breathing. Mum cried for help and tried to open the door, but they started to shoot.

"I shouted, 'Mum, don't open! Please. Please. I have no dad now. I don't want to lose you, too. I don't want to be alone.'

"When Mum called to the soldiers for help, they mocked her and told her to shut up. . . . We begged the Israeli soldiers to let us pull out my dad's and my brother's bodies, but they refused and threatened to kill us, too."

The Israelis demolished the home and the evidence. Salah's widow and two surviving children are homeless. Will Israel's "wall" stop that terrorism?

To find out more about Ray Hanania, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at

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