The roots and the horror of this crime date back to June 2, 1994, when the Israeli Special Forces and other IDF soldiers, the so called (border Police) stormed the surgery, maternity and pediatric wards of the Palestinian hospital Augusta Victoria (generally known as “al-Motala”) in Jerusalem while they were looking for the BODY of a Palestinian who they mistakenly thought had arrived at that hospital.
Back then, the Israeli military censorship in “Beit Agron”, the so-calledGovernment Press “GPO”, currently headed by Danial Seaman, censored my report about the night of terror experienced by doctors, nurses, patients and guests during the IDF incursion to their rooms, putting their lives at big risk.
- Why did the military censorship ban my report from being published in Al-Quds newspaper in Jerusalem, where I worked as a journalist and investigator? Was it not true, or did they just not like what they read?
- Has the military censorship thought even for a while that I would keep my right to publish my report about the unwarranted IDF crime in the Augusta Victoria Hospital, even 15 years later, and that censoring is not the right way to deal with journalists?
- A copy of my report, which was censored back then, can be seen in the scan of the article, which is stamped in Hebrew by the military censor as “publication not allowed”.
After 42 years of living under the Israeli military laws, under the unjust laws of the British mandate which ended in 1948 but still used illegally by the Israeli occupation in the occupied West Bank until today, the Palestinian publications (newspapers, magazines, publishing houses and advertising, … etc.) must present all material to Israeli military censorship 24 hours before publishing. The IDF censor is the only one who approves or disapproves the publication of an article.
Here is the report which the IDF military censorship banned from publishing back in 1994. I watched the IDF storming the hospital with my own eyes, and I was threatened with death twice by the IDF and the special forces during this crime.
An hour and half of Terror in Al-Motala Hospital.
Storming the Surgery and Maternity.
Cases of Hysteria Hit the Children as Consequence.
Jerusalem: On Saturday, July, 2 1994, I was in company of my nephew “Mahmoud”, a child of 18 months, in the Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem, also known as “al-Motala” hospital. The father and mother of the child were denied entry to Jerusalem by the Israeli military, so I went with him to the hospital. I heard at 17:10 that the doors of the hospital were knocked down loudly and loudly, then I heard glass falling, scattered on the ground.
Immediately I left my nephew and rushed to the surgical ward of the hospital to find out what was happening there. I saw a group of Israeli Special Forces death squads and another group of Israeli Special Forces in uniform, numbering more than fifteen troops running around in the hospital and breaking the glass doors of the operation room with their boots. The soldiers were fixing their fingers on triggers and pointing their rifles at doctors and nurses. I saw the soldiers coming out of the operating room and entering the next doctor’s room after also breaking the door.
Dr. Alaa Ashour was in a pause room wearing pyjamas. The soldiers (IDF) asked him to prostrate himself on the ground, and one of them stepped on him with his jackboots. I saw this and immediately ran to the pediatric section to carry Mahmoud away. I told the doctor in the section what was happening elsewhere in the hospital. Before I could finish my sentence, the soldiers had entered the children’s section. I spoke English with the soldiers; I told them that they were entering the children’s ward, a place which has a special sanctity, and that they should take this into account. It is not necessary to terrify children and break the glass doors before their eyes.
The soldiers were very angry. They shouted at me in Hebrew “Shaket”, what means “shut up”, they pointed their guns toward my head and chest, and they ran around everywhere in the section, turning over the beds, throwing sheets on the floor, knocking on the doors and breaking the glass, just as if they were in a fierce battle with an enemy.
I continued repeating, “please be quiet, you are in the children’s ward”. Suddenly, one of the Special Forces who was wearing a white shirt and black trousers pointed his pistol to my head accusing me that I had cursed his father. I told him, “no, I just asked you to remain calm in this section”.
I saw how a soldier pulled a nurse by her hand and pushed her firmly back, then another soldier broke the door of the intensive care unit, and all the soldiers rushed into the room. Women started shouting and insulting the soldiers. They got out of the rooms with children with the glucose needles still hanging from their arms. The children were all crying and trembling in fear. The children continued crying even after the soldiers had left the ward.
Breaking into the Maternity Ward
The soldiers broke the door leading to the maternity unit located at end of the children’s section. They entered the department of women and ordered all the men to lie on the ground and then trampled over their heads with their boots. Among those men who were prostrated on the ground, with the military boots over his head, was a professor from Jericho.
I was shocked when I saw one of the soldiers kidnapping a newly-born infant, aged one and a half hours. He was carried by his grandmother when the soldier threw him on the ground, and then pushed the old grandmother violently and closed the door of the room.
Another soldier was molesting another woman who had given birth only hours before, he asked her many questions in English until she fell in coma. I thought that she had died, and then I ran out to the first floor. I saw over 50 IDF soldiers deployed in the hospital. I called the emergency, I also called Dr. Anis Al-Qaq, a member of the Supreme Health Council, and I asked him to inform the security information office about the horror going on in the hospital.
At the entrance to the main gate of the hospital I saw about twenty soldiers standing with the director of the hospital, Gordon David Rosenthal, after they had closed the gate. I asked them what was going on in the hospital. I told the soldiers and the director of the hospital that I was a journalist and that I had seen everything they had done in the hospital. I asked them about a clarification.
An IDF officer told me to keep silent. I said I couldn’t do that, I asked if this was the new Israeli peace which the Israeli government brought us with their Palestinian partners of the PA. The soldiers looked angry but no one said one word. I got out to the street and saw that the hospital was surrounded by an uncounted number of soldiers.
The people told me that the soldiers invaded the hospital looking for the body of a Palestinian. Others said that the Islamic Jihad had spread fliers in the hospital in which they declared their responsibility for a suicide bombing on the past 30 July 1994 near Gaza, and they took the body.
The soldiers left without finding the INVENTED BODY and after they destroyed everything their hands reached in the Hospital.
Mr. Gordon David Rosenthal, the hospital director who I interviewed after the IDF left the hospital, strongly condemned the IDF invasion and said that he would make a statement in which he would describe everything that had happened in the hospital, and that he would follow legal steps because the IDF did not clarify why they were in the hospital.
On the other hand, the President of the Lutheran Union, R. David Johnson arrived at the hospital after the IDF soldiers left. We toured the hospital wards together and listened to the testimony of doctors, nurses and patients. He described what happened in the hospital as a clear crime, and he said that he would follow legal steps against the criminal invaders.
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