A US Widow Mourns, An Army Lies

A year passed after the Israeli police shot and killed in cold blood Ziad Jilani twice in the face while lying on the ground. Jilani left behind a young American widow, Moria, and three beautiful daughters, Mirage (15), Hannah (17), and Yasmeen (7).  Moria still remember the first time when she met her husband Ziad in Texas in the early 1990’s, where she managed a Sbarro pizza chain. He was studying at Texas A&M University. “We were inseparable from the day that we met,” she said. “My husband was the sort of man people wanted to know  just from his looks. His eyes used to tell a story. They used to dance for me”. The story of the murder of Moria’s husband is one story among a thousands suffered by Palestinian women since 1948 until now. Since 1948, Israel has not stopped murdering and jailing Palestinians and repeating the same lies yo  justify these crimes.

On occasion of the one year memorial of the murder of Moria’s husband, I republish her story which was posted at the Palestine Monitor, which reported that the Israeli police shot and killed a Shu’fat resident, 39-year-old Ziad Jilani in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of El-Wadi Joz. Now his widow, a U.S. citizen, reflects on her husband’s life and death, and the journey he’s taken her on. Reporting from Kara Newhouse.

Moira Jilani remembers her experience vividly, “I felt happy that day. We were going to go out and celebrate, because the children finished exams the day before,” she tells me from her brother-in-law’s house, where she’s spent her days since Ziad’s death on June 11. “We were cleaning, getting rid of the winter clothes. We had the music loud, the girls were dancing. We were ready to leave.”

“When Aya [her niece] came knocking at the door, she was crying, her whole face was drenched. She said, ‘My mom wants you. Come now,’ I said, “Aya, Aya, is it Ziad?” She didn’t say anything. She couldn’t say anything. I knew he was dead.”

Moira comes close to tears just once during our three-hour interview. Most of the time she speaks in a steely voice, anger her prevailing emotion over Ziad’s killing and the broader injustice it represents. “A soldier shot a guy today. What else is new? That’s how the whole world looks at it,” she said. “Everyday you hear something like that, but this one is not going to go unheard. My husband, he was killed brutally. If you heard someone doing that to a dog, you would be crying. But to hear it done to a human being…” she trails off.

Jilani’s sisters called their brother’s death unnecessary, pointing out that if he had committed a crime, the police should have arrested him and carried an investigation. Instead, officers shot Jilani point blank in the head after he fell to the ground from initial bullet wounds. While Haaretz originally referred to the shooting as the result of a ‘suspected terror attack,’ with Jilani reportedly hitting three border police with his truck, Amira Hass’ article from Wednesday cites other possibilities for the incident: In tight traffic with pedestrians returning from Friday prayer, witnesses reported seeing stones thrown at police officers. Some said they saw those stones hit Jilani’s car, causing him to swerve. Thousands of Palestinian men streamed into the Jilani’s Shu’fat neighborhood in the two days following his death. Although Jilani had no political affiliations, he was swiftly labelled “Shaheed (martyr) Ziad Jilani.” on posters.

“In English, when people think of martyr, they think, ‘he went to war, he became a martyr,'” said Moira. “No. He did not go to war. He died an Islamic death, without guns. He had not even a pencil to defend himself. A pencil is considered a weapon over here.”

‘Over here’ is a long way from Moira’s home countries: the U.S. and Barbados. She met Ziad in Texas in the early 1990’s, where she managed a Sbarro pizza chain. He was studying at Texas A&M University. “We were inseparable from the day that we met,” she said. “My husband was the sort of man people wanted to know him just from his look. His eyes used to tell a story. They used to dance for me.”

Moira was pregnant six months after marrying Ziad, and made her first trip to Palestine for her brother-in-law’s wedding. “I was very hesitant when we came over here, because all I’d ever seen in the news was Palestinians throwing rocks and these things-I was very influenced by the propaganda,” she said.

She soon fell in love with her husband’s country, and the couple decided to stay in Shu’fat. “I don’t speak a word of Arabic, but I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family all around me,” Moira explained. “My children have so many uncles, so many aunts, so many cousins. They see each other every day, they come and visit. It’s not like the life in America where it’s just friends. I had never experienced the blessing of such a large, loving family before. It was wonderful.”

After Ziad’s death, the large extended family and the close quarters in which they live became even more important. Moira noted that the previous night she had found her second daughter, Mirage, crying over photos of her father. The 15-year-old told her mother she was afraid she would forget her dad. Moira replied, “Already? He just died. Don’t worry, nobody here will let you forget your father.”

The family smile as they described their trips to Jericho when Ziad took his daughters and their cousins to drive his truck on a deserted road. “We would go there to barbeque with all the family. All the kids would be going just for him to let them drive-even the neighbours,” Moira recounted.

Moira’s marriage into the Jilani family changed her view of the world even before an Israeli police officer killed her husband. She described her reaction to the prejudiced treatment Ziad received at Ben Gurion airport when they first came to his occupied homeland: “I was shocked. I’ve travelled the world, but I’d never travelled it with a Palestinian. That opened my eyes.”

Speaking repeatedly about Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in addition to East Jerusalem, Moira vowed not to let her husband’s death be written off. “I will tell everybody that will talk to me that their tax money is paying for those bullets that went through my husband’s head. That they’re paying for the airplanes to come over and bomb Gaza.”

Israeli authorities told Moira they are conducting an internal investigation on her husband’s death. They confiscated her husband’s laptop on Tuesday. She has not received medical reports on her husband or information regarding the whereabouts of his vehicle, which may contain evidence to confirm the reports of stones impairing his driving. Moira said she is pursuing legal action on her husband’s death. She declined to discuss details but affirmed that she would not settle out of court. Such struggle will continue to define her life.

“This is my children’s home. They should be able to live in freedom. I love this country so much that I’m willing to stay here and sacrifice the easy life. My husband, hamdi’lillah (thank God), the journey that he took me on…I love this journey. I just didn’t think that it was going to end so soon.

I’m American and I have a voice,” Moira Jilani said. “I think they see us as just ‘stupid Arabs.’ But I’m going to push this until the day I die. The least I can do is try to get justice for my husband.”

She said that when police initially denied shooting her husband at point-blank range, she had his body exhumed, something almost unheard of in Muslim culture, where burials are held as soon as possible. An autopsy she commissioned concluded that Jilani had been killed “execution-style” with a gun less than 3 feet from his head.

Jilani brought in human rights attorneys to push for an external investigation by the Israeli Justice Ministry and prodded the U.S. Embassy to monitor the case, which embassy officials say they are doing.

When Israeli police arrived a week after the shooting to search Jilani’s house, she kept them waiting outside for an hour before allowing them in. They confiscated his laptop.

It’s an unusually defiant approach, particularly in Jerusalem, where many Palestinians are afraid to challenge Israeli authorities in such matters, fearing retaliation or deportation, said Hassan Tabajah, legal director of the Meezaan Center for Human Rights, which is representing the family.

“Moira has played a huge role,” Tabajah said.

Asked what she hopes to achieve, Jilani, 43, a former Sbarro’s pizzeria manager from Houston, doesn’t hesitate: “I’m from Texas and we believe in the death penalty .”

From LA Times – Edmund Sanders

Link to the original article.

 

5 comments to A US Widow Mourns, An Army Lies

  • Bruce Hayden

    Dear Moria–Your story is a familiar one as you expressed. My heart bleeds on a daily basis for the Arab people as I read another story about the Zionazis killing…just
    because they can. Of course, the children affect me the most.

    I was ‘awakened’ in 1993 and have spent many thousands of hours learning the REAL history
    of the United States and much of the rest of the so-called ‘civilized’ world. Our history is very ugly. Not the wonderful rosy picture the history books teach. I despise my own country. Our government is controlled by the Zionists. I HATE these animals! And I make no apologies for my hate. To not experience the depths of one’s emotions is to die.

    I am very sorry to read your personal story about Ziad. I am especially sorry for your daughters. I loved when you said, “…His eyes used to tell a story. They used to dance for me.” Only someone deeply in love could be so poetic. They can’t rob you of your memories.

    I wish you luck in dealing with the fake Jews in the Israeli government. If I lived in Palestine I would gladly be a suicide bomber. And I am a white American male raised in the Midwest! That is how much I hate these vermin! I keep waiting for Mossad to take me out as I write a lot of comments on the internet condemning the Axis of Evil (US, UK, Israel….and there are others….the NATO coalition etc. etc.). I don’t care as killing me will not change the truth. It would only add to the lie.

    I admire your stand very much. Best wishes. Bruce Hayden

  • vgct

    “God’s chosen” performing another illegitmate MURDER in the name of God. Any people of conscience among thios lowly tribe feel even a twinge of guilt over all the lives destoryed?

    No?

    Then you are not the chosen. Never were. Probably are killing off “chosens” right now

    BUT if you are not chosen, then surely GOD will return youre deeds upon your head and your race for FAKING CHOSEN and the breadth of satanic deeds you so joyfully commit

    The word Jew, to me, signifies a fake weed, something that this world desperately needs plucked

    former christian, former USA, former brainswashed confused zionist, I will dissent until I die and then I will be glad to be gone

  • carl

    The US is so far and so remote from the middle east that most americans do not relate to the torture that is going on. Many christians travel to this place called Israel but their eyes are closed to the truth for God has sent them a strong delusion (2 thess.2:10-12).England(manasseh)and the US(ephraim) have been taken over by Esau(edom) for Esau has an everlasting hatred for Jacob(Israel).These two boys (nations) and the world) are now living the time of Jacobs sorrows;Yes ,these two boys(nations) have the right to use the name of Israel,Isaac and Abraham(Gen.48). SO…when you read Ezekiel, WELL well thats us folks…so wake up O Israel and start praying!!God is not a respecter of people,kings,presidents or great rulers or pharaohs,so let us forget what we’ve been taught and come into the truth.

  • These ZioNazi “zionists” will get what’s coming to them soon enough.
    They always bring retribution down on themselves,a la Rome (75AD) and
    Germany and Russia in modern times by their own evil behavior…

  • death to the NWO

    I know this is off topic , but did you know that there is a new movement in the US ? http://www.moveoveraipac.org/

    Move over AIpac is to try to influence the criminal US policies .

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