Eyewitness Reports a Night of Israeli Shelling in Beit Jala

Published November 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Residents of the Palestinian town of Beit Jala did not expect much of a peaceful night last Wednesday, because they were sure Israeli helicopters, tanks and heavy machines would light the darkness with their shells. But the death of a German doctor while trying to help the injured that night was a very sad incident. 

Marina Barham, who witnessed the horror of that night, wrote about what happened in a letter, of which a copy was emailed to Albawaba.com. Following are excerpts: 

 

Dear Friends, 

 

I am back after attending the funeral of Doctor Harry Fisher who was killed last night by Israeli missiles. Dr. Harry was trying to get to an injured neighbor to treat him, when he was hit by a missile that tore him into pieces. His body parts were collected from the front of his house before he could get anywhere... Thousands of Palestinians: Christians and Muslims were at the funeral. The body was carried from the hospital to the house and then to the Lutheran church in Beit Jala. Then after the service he was taken to the cemetery followed by thousands of people who were carrying flags of all political factions, German and Palestinian flags, Christian and Moslem flags too. Harry united people together at his funeral as any Palestinian martyr would. He was considered a martyr who lost his life doing his duty as a doctor and as a Palestinian who lived together with them for over twenty years. 

His wife who is Palestinian from Beit Jala, his two daughters and son were in a state of shock and disbelief about what had happened to Harry. Doctors who examined the body said that all his body was torn into pieces by a missile, because parts of the missile were still in his body. Eight other people were also injured. Many houses were destroyed. 

On Monday night we were bombed, but I did not write because, felt drained and exhausted.  

On Wednesday night, the bombardment continued from 4:30 pm until 2:30am nonstop. For more than four hours we had no electricity.  

Then at about ten the electricity came back only to be cut off again after half an hour. I cannot describe our feelings on hearing the echo of people screaming after every missile shot and the sound and light of the missiles hitting people's homes. We felt so helpless.... There was no way anyone can get to families asking for help. The ambulance tried to get to injured people in the valley of Beit Jala, but failed. Ambulance nurses tried to walk to the injured, but were shot at and the shelling nearly killed them, so they stopped trying. 

The first five who were injured at 6:30 pm could not reach the hospital until 4:00 am after the shelling stopped. Three others who were injured at 9:00 pm were bleeding until 6:00 am when the ambulances could reach them. All of those who were wounded sustained their injuries from he shrapnel of missiles and shells. 

My cousin who lives near the doctor's house, a newly wed, had difficulty breathing because of the horror she was living through. Her husband carried her through the fields to get to a hospital or at least reach the ambulance. She was holding a cross in her hand and the Psalm 90 when she reached the hospital. She was holding on so hard that it was very hard to release them from her hand. She was given injection and tranquilizers.  

Several other women who live in that area were taken to hospital in a hysterical state. 

Suha, another relative of ours, was six months pregnant and she lost her baby because of the fear she went through when a missile went through her house. A friend of ours is also seven months pregnant and was taken to hospital, because her water broke due to horror and anxiety.  

Many other women I don't personally know are going through the same nightmares of having miscarriages -- Albawaba.com 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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