I married Muaiad Abu-Rideh two years ago, and had a baby girl, Shadah, a year ago. She was born in my seventh month of pregnancy but is fine now. Seven months ago, I became pregnant again. Last Thursday [4 September], I had sharp stomach pains and I started to bleed badly. Around 7:00 P.M. I went to Dr. Fathi ‘Odeh in Jawarish, because our village doesn’t have any specialist physicians. He gave me medication and told me I’d be all right, but I didn't feel any improvement and the pains even got worse. Around midnight, I couldn’t bear the pain any more. I woke my husband and asked him to take me to the hospital. When he saw how much I was suffering, he called to get his brother ‘Udai, who lives in the center of the village, to drive us in his car. ‘Udai arrived, with my mother-in-law, in a couple of minutes. My husband picked me up and carried me to the car. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t walk. We started on our way to the hospital in Nablus at about 12:50 A.M. At the Za’tara checkpoint, we told the soldiers I was pregnant and had to get to the hospital, and they let us cross without a problem. When we got to the Huwara checkpoint, the soldiers didn’t let us pass. They said we didn't have a permit to cross by car. We told them my brother has a permit to cross the Ma’ale Efraim checkpoint because he works at settlements in the Jordan Valley, but that didn’t help. The pain got worse. I felt as if I was going to give birth any moment. Now and then, the soldiers came over to the car and looked at me lying in the back seat. I was really worried about the fetus, and couldn’t stop thinking that I’d have to give birth in the car while the soldiers watched. I kept screaming and crying and calling for help. I don’t know how much time passed, but suddenly I felt the fetus coming out. I shouted to my mother-in-law and to ‘UdaI, who were outside the car: “I think he’s coming out!” I took off my clothes. I was afraid they’d see me naked and that something would happen to the fetus. My mother-in-law shouted: “Yes, here’s his head, he’s coming out.” I asked her to pull him, and she said, “Breathe! Push!” I felt as the baby move, as if he was calling for help and asking us to help him come out. My mother-in-law covered me with my clothes. I shouted to my husband, ”The baby is out!” He shouted to the soldiers something in Hebrew that I didn't understand. I don’t remember exactly what happened then, but when the medics arrived, they picked me up with the car seat and put me in the ambulance. I didn’t feel the baby moving any more and realized he was dead. The medics took away the dead baby and took me to the hospital. My husband and mother-in-law came with me in the ambulance. At the hospital, the doctors operated on me to clean my uterus. They discharged me the next day. It hurts me a lot when I remember how the baby moved inside me and what happened to him. What did he do wrong? I also gave birth to my daughter in my seventh month, and now she is healthy. This poor baby died because there wasn’t anybody to help me deliver him. Naheel 'Awni 'Abd a-Rahim Abu Rideh, 21, married with one child, is a homemaker and a resident of Qusra in Nablus District. Her testimony was given to Salma a-Deba'i on 8 September 2008 at the witness's home.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
They Let Babies Die, Don't They?
Naheel Abu Rideh, 21 Philosophers will argue whether there is a significant ethical difference between killing and letting die. Apparently, there is a significant difference for Israelis between killing a Jewish baby and letting a Palestinian baby die. The penalty for the former is life imprisonment (if the killer manages to get a trial) and blowing up the home of the family. The penalty for the latter is a two week prison sentence. That's the way it is in Sodom -- I mean, the West Bank -- today. B'Tselem is reporting that yet another Palestinian baby was born dead at a checkpoint because the mother was not allowed to go through by the soldiers. I have lost count of the dead babies; you can find the number somewhere on the B'Tselem website here. I remember when this sort of thing was big news. Now, it doesn't even make the Israeli papers. I reproduce here the testimony of the mother, Naheel Abu Rideh, from the B'Tselem website.