Quoting from the Amnesty International report:



Rula ‘Ashtiya was forced to give birth on the ground, on a dirt road by the Beit Furik checkpoint, after Israeli soldiers refused to allow her through the checkpoint in the early morning of 26 August 2003. Her baby girl died soon after. She went into deep trauma and when Amnesty International representatives visited her a few weeks later, she barely brought herself to talk about the incident.


29 year-old Rula was in labour in the eighth month of her pregnancy, in an early morning hour. Her husban Daoud called for an ambulance and was told he and Rula should meet the ambulance at Beit Furik checkpoint, between their village and Nablus, because the ambulance will not be able to go through the checkpoint. After a few minutes, Rula and her husband left their village, Salem, towards the checkpoint. It was light already, and considering Rula’s condition, they did not anticiapte any problems in going through the checkpoint. The soldiers did not let them pass.


Rula’s testimony: “We took a taxi and went off before the checkpoint, because cars are not allowed near the checkpoint. We walked the rest of the way. I was in pain. At the checkpoint there were a few soldiers, they were just drinking coffee or tea, and paid no attention to us. Daoud approached and talked with the soldiers, while one of them was pointing his gun at him. Daoud spoke Hebrew to them. I was in pain, and felt I was about to give birth right there, so I told Daoud, who translated what I said, but they did not let us go through. I laid down on the ground, in the dirt, and I crawled behind the concrete blocks by the checkpoint to have some privacy, and there I gave birth, in the dirt like an animal. I held the baby in my arms, and she moved a little, but after a few moments she died in my arms.”


Daoud’s testimony: “I begged the soldiers to let us pass, I spoke Hebrew to them, I know Hebrew because I used to work in Israel. They understood what I was saying, but did not let us pass. After the baby was born, Rula screamed, and after a few moments, she screamed again that the baby died. She cried. I burst out crying, and ran towards the cars on the other side of the checkpoint, ignoring the soldiers. I got a taxi and came back to Rula. I felt so bad seeing her in this condition. She held the baby in her arms, all covered with blood and with the umbilical cord, on the ground in the dirt, still tied to her, I had to cut it with a stone, there was nothing else there to cut it with. Then I held Rula in my arms, and she held the baby in her arms, and I carried her to the cars, and we went to the hospital. The full report (in Hebrew) can be read here (a brief summary in English – here).



pregnant women and mothers of children under seven years shall benefit by any preferential treatment to the same extent as the nationals of the State concerned.”


“The wounded and sick, as well as the infirm, and expectant mothers, shall be the object of particular protection and respect.”


Articles 38 (5) and 16, of the fourth Geneva Convention. Israel has ratified the convention and is a signatory of it. To read the full text of the fourth Geneva Convention, dealing with the treatment of civilians during war, click here.



This baby is on my conscience. Because I only became a peace activist on November 2005.


(Click here for the Hebrew version of this post)


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