Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Injured Palestinian dies after being held up at gate

3 March 2007


On 17 February 2007, around 9:40 P.M., three young men
from 'Azzun 'Atmah were summoned to help free a car that
was stuck in a field in the village. They drove to the
area in a tractor without lights. The tractor went up onto
a boulder and flipped over. One of the men, 'Adel 'Omar,
21, was pinned under the tractor and seriously injured.
One of the men ran to the village to get somebody to bring
a bigger tractor to aid in the rescue. The bigger tractor
then lifted up the tractor under which the man was pinned.
The injured man was evacuated in a private car, in order
to get him to the hospital in Qalqilya as quickly as

The village of 'Azzun 'Atmah is surrounded by the
separation barrier, and lies between Israel 's green line
and the separation barrier. The only way out of the
village is through a gate in the barrier, which closes at
10:00 P.M. When the young men reached the gate, it was
after ten o'clock. The soldiers had closed the gate and
were positioned in the guard tower. For an hour, the young
men begged the soldiers to open the gate so they could
take their friend to the hospital. Only after the hour
passed did the soldiers come down from the tower and
verify that a person had been injured and needed emergency
medical treatment. It took the soldiers another ten
minutes to open the gate.

They men rushed to the hospital. On the way, they checked
their friend's condition and saw that he was moving and
was breathing. At the hospital, he was pronounced dead on

The army contends that the injured person was already dead
when he reached the gate. The army did not explain the
basis for its contention. It is clear, however, that it
took the soldiers an hour to come down from the tower (a
fact that the army did not deny), and that they were not
competent to determine that the man was dead. Following
B'Tselem's exposure of the incident, the army announced
that the gate itself would be staffed twenty-four hours a

B'Tselem demanded that the Chief Military Prosecutor order
the opening of an investigation of the incident.

1 comment:

IsraeliDiary said...

That's a very sad story.
They should find out if the man was dead when he reached the gate and why the soldiers didn't open the gates, whether they were given an order not to open it.

Hopefully it won't happen again.

I hope these things will be investigated and that you could keep us updated when the results are revealed.