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From the field

IDF shoots Palestinian woman in labor while on her way to hospital, February 2002

Maysoon al-Hayek, after giving birth, unclear of status of her husband

I am married to Muhammad al-Hayek, resident of Zeita-Jamma'in village. We were married about a year ago. I am nine months pregnant. Today, 25.02.02, at 2:30AM, I felt severe pain and contractions. I knew I was about to give birth at any moment. I turned to my husband and said the time had come. My husband, Muhammad, asked me: "Do you want to go to the hospital?" I said I did and preferably immediately. My husband agreed and went to tell his father that we were going to go to the hospital. His father told him that he wanted to come with us. My husband started the car, a 1984 Subaru. I prepared all the things for the newborn to take with me.

We left our house in Zeita-Jamma'in, at 2:30AM to Rafidia hospital in Nablus, which is 18 kilometers from our village. My husband, Muhammad, drove the car. His father sat in the front seat next to him, and I sat in the back. We arrived at the Israeli roadblock at the southern entrance to Nablus. 50 meters in front of the roadblock, the soldiers told us to stop. They asked my husband to get out of the car to check his papers. The soldiers asked my husband to tell us, his father and me, to get out of the car. After we got out of the car, the soldiers examined my husband's father's identification papers and then asked for mine. The soldiers searched the car thoroughly and looked through every thing that was in it, including the things for the newborn. At the end of the searches and examinations, my husband told the soldiers that we wanted to get into Nablus to get to Rafidia hospital because I was in labor. Initially, the soldiers refused to let us through, but I told them I was in severe pain and about to give birth. Then, a soldier told me to uncover my belly, to make sure I was really pregnant. I uncovered my belly because of the pain I was in and so that they would let through. The soldier let us enter Nablus, this after the searches, examinations and arguments which lasted for about an hour.

We drove about 300 meters and got to a large ditch that had been dug in the main road where we were travelling very slowly. 30 meters past the ditch, heavy gunfire was opened toward the front of the car. It lasted for about five minutes. My husband received a direct hit to the neck, and more hits to the upper body. 'Abdullah al-Hayek, my husband's father, was also hit in the upper body. I was hit by shrapnel and glass from the broken window which spread in the car. I lay down on the back seat. After the Israeli soldiers stopped shooting, the place became completely silent. I spoke to my husband, asking him to answer me. When he didn't answer me, I realized he was in a bad condition. His father couldn't speak either. I started to scream and cry. The soldiers came toward me from in-between the houses. They examined me and tried to give me first aid. They examined my husband, Muhammad, and his father and told me that they wanted to take him to hospital in Israel because his condition was severe. As for me, the soldiers called the DCO, I think, and called a Palestinian Red Crescent Ambulance for me from Nablus. The ambulance took me to Rafidia hospital in Nablus. I was completely naked, because the soldiers took my clothes off to check if and where I had been hurt. After the examination, they left me naked.

Up to this moment, Monday at 10:00AM, I still don't know what happened to my husband and his father, whom I left at the place with the soldiers. I gave natural birth to a baby girl. I named her Fida and I am still at Rafidia hospital.

Maysoon Salah Na'if al-Hayek, resident of Zeita-Jamma'in village in Nablus District, is 22 year-old. The testimony was given to 'Ali Daraghmeh at Rafidia hospital in Nablus, 25 February 2002.