Many Palestinian men and women have been murdered here at the Qalandiya military checkpoint. The latest in the seemingly endless line of victims is Ibtisam Ka’abana, a young Palestinian woman who was killed by Israeli forces on Saturday, June 12.
Ibtisam was shot around noon. She was left bleeding at the scene until she died.
The asphalt, which has been tainted by Palestinian blood, like that of Ibtisam, so many times, cannot tell the stories of their agony. We are unable to tell whether the victims screamed as they died, cried, called out for their moms, dads, children, or God.
But on June 12, the day of Ibtisam’s death, many people were present. They saw her lying on the ground, but nobody could help her. The gates of the military checkpoint were shut down for vehicles and pedestrians. The Israeli army did not allow two Palestinian ambulances – one made its way from Jerusalem and the other from Ramallah – to reach the woman, to try to save her life. The checkpoint remained sealed for two hours and a half, the woman lying there, bleeding.
At the entrance of the checkpoint, there is a sign that indicates that pedestrians are now allowed entry. What it doesn’t say, however, is that those who defy the order will be punished by imminent death. Indeed, anyone who dares to enter is sure to die.
No knives were found at the scene – the oft-repeated Israeli excuse used to justify why alleged Palestinian ‘assailants’ are shot dead. But this is not the point. The point is, fully armed soldiers deliberately shot in order to kill a Palestinian woman. It was a choice. Ibtisam’s upper body was riddled with bullets.
I heard the bangs, not once, but several times. Another eyewitness said, “I counted at least seven shots.”
Ibtisam is from the Jericho refugee camp, a distance away from the Qalandiya checkpoint. Why did she travel this distance to receive such a tragic fate? We may never know because Ibtisam is no longer with us. She was murdered, and bled to death.
(Translated by Tal Haran)
– As a member of Machsomwatch, Tamar Fleishman documents events at Israeli military checkpoints between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Her reports, photos and videos can be found on the organization’s website: www.machsomwatch.org. She is also a member of the ‘Coalition of Women for Peace’ and a volunteer in ‘Breaking the Silence’. She is a regular contributor to The Palestine Chronicle.