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I try hard to get on with life and ignore the horrors in Palestine, but sometimes a piece of news literally makes me weep. Imagine if this had happened in Belfast during the Troubles.
On Wednesday, a young mother of two, five months pregnant, approached an Israeli checkpoint to go to a doctor’s appointment in Jerusalem.
She had got a special Israeli permit to do so, and it was her first time to go there. Her brother aged 16 came with her. By mistake, she approached the driving checkpoint rather than the pedestrian one. Soldiers shouted at her in Hebrew and she didn’t understand. Then she stopped, baffled, to turn back. She was shot dead. Her brother ran to help her, and he, too, was shot dead.
The border police, according to eye witnesses and Maan news agency, then approached the two bodies and fired 15 rounds into them. The Israeli forces have not disputed that this is what happened.
They have posted a photo of two knives which they say the woman “threw at them”. How likely is it, that a young woman, with two small kids at home, worried about her third pregnancy, and granted leave to visit a doctor in Jerusalem, would use the opportunity to throw two knives at heavily armed police.
After 33 years working in journalism, in Ireland north and south, and in war zones like Nicaragua and South Africa, I find this version not believable. Yet the concerns of the UN and Amnesty International about killings of civilians at checkpoints in Palestine continues to be ignored by the Israeli government.
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