Independent History & Research Box 849, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83816

"Lest we Forget"

The Israeli Holocaust Against the Palestinians

April 2, 2002: A Fact Unreported by the U.S. Media

The very first victim of the Israelisiege on the West Bank city of Ramallah:

American Mother Shot Dead By Israeli Soldiers

It was reported on March 29, 2002 that the first victim of Israel' s latest siege of the West Bank city of Ramallah was a woman who was shot while driving her car. What most media outlets did not report, however, are the circumstances of the woman's death, as well as her identity.

Suraida Saleh, the 21-year-old woman gunned down by Israeli soldiers, was an American, born in Washington, D.C. Her father, Farhan Saleh, had owned small restaurants in Washington and Virginia until 1989, including one in the D.C. subway station at L'Enfant Plaza called Gourmet One. The details of his American daughter's death have emerged in an interview with Suraida's brother and father. Both are locked inside their home in Ramallah, along with other members of their family, and have been unable for four days to retrieve Suraida's body from the morgue to give her a proper burial.

Omar Saleh, Suraida's brother, explained what happened in the early hours of March 29, when the Israeli military invaded Ramallah. An unknown wounded man came to Suraida's home in Ramallah at about 3:30 a.m. Morad Abu Gharbiyeh, Suraida's husband, a journalist with the Palestinian Broadcasting Company, assisted the man and called for an ambulance. Paramedics took the wounded man and left their house by 4 a.m. Morad and Suraida decided that it would be safer for them if they went to Suraida's father's house, not far up the street from where they lived. "We wanted to be together. We did that because everyone feels more secure," said Morad.

Suraida sat in the passenger seat holding her 9-month-old infant son Muhsin, as Morad drove their car. A band of undercover Israeli soldiers dressed like civilians, stood in the shadows of an upcoming intersection. As the car approached, the Israelis opened fire. Her husband Morad was shot several times in the upper chest. His wife called his name. She was shot in the belly, chest and neck. The boy was laughing," Murad recalled.

Suraida died instantly. The Israelis, assuming that all of the occupants were dead, left the scene. Morad regained consciousness to find his dead young wife slumped over their child. Fortunately, little Muhsin was unharmed.

Wounded, Morad took Muhsin out of the lifeless arms of Suraida and began walking towards the home of his in-laws, in the foggy darkness of that morning, but he collapsed, and both he and his son fell to the pavement.

Suraida's family heard a commotion outside and looked in horror to find that the bleeding man lying in the street was their daughter's husband. They called for an ambulance and rushed to help him. Israeli soldiers delayed the ambulance for two hours, refusing to let it pass. Morad and his son finally made it to the hospital. Doctors were able to save Morad, and he is now in stable condition.

Suraida's father couldn't hold back his anguish and heartache over the loss of his daughter, and the manner in which she was killed:

"They killed her in cold blood--cold blood, and now my grandson will grow up not knowing the mother who gave birth to him. I called the American consulate so that they could help me get Suraida's body, and they promised me on Saturday, and on Sunday, and today, and still nothing. I don't think that they care about us because we are Arab-Americans. If we were American Jews they would put pressure on Israel. But for us, nothing."

Omar also spoke of his aunt and uncle, Farhat Saleh and Selma Frookh, also Americans from northern Virginia, who went to Palestine for a visit following their pilgrimage to Mecca during Hajj last February. "They are an old couple, and right now they are alone in their home with no electricity or running water, and barely any food. My uncle has diabetes, and my aunt has high blood pressure. I'm worried that they are in need of their medication, but they can't get any because the Israelis will shoot anyone who goes outside and breaks the curfew."

The Latest Israeli Massacre in Palestine, beginning March 29

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Copyright©1996-2002 by Michael Hoffman

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