Hit and run


Fifty-year-old Ibrahim Murtaji, father of five, is laid up in Beer Sheva’s Soroka Hospital fighting for his life. While en route to the Erez industrial zone, where he works as an accountant for a car mechanic, Murtaji was intentionally run over by an Israeli settler and sustained serious injuries.

Um Shaaban, Murtaji’s wife, says her husband went to work as usual bright and early on March 1. At around 8:30 that morning, she received a call from his boss saying that her husband had been in a car accident and taken to Soroka Hospital. Murtaji’s boss added that he had sustained a direct and serious injury to the head; his skull had been fractured and he was in critical condition.

Murtaji’s wife says she was so shocked upon hearing the news that she fainted. She then spent three days trying to obtain the necessary permits to travel into Israel to see him, but to no avail. Not being able to visit him added to the anguish she and her children initially underwent, Um Shaaban says.

After several attempts, Murtaji’s Jewish boss was able to secure a travel permit for Um Shaaban to visit. Finally laying eyes on her husband, she was so shocked and overwhelmed by his appearance that she fainted again. “It was all the needles and medical equipment taped all over his body, especially his head,” she recalls. Despite repeated attempts to talk to him, he remained silent, deep in a coma.

Being in the hospital by his side failed to assuage her anxiety. The difficulty of seeing her husband in that state and having to reassure herself about his condition was the most painful part of the entire ordeal, says Um Shaaban. The doctors did not respond to her repeated requests to explain his situation and nobody told her anything about his injuries, she says.

Speaking of the circumstances surrounding his accident, Um Shaaban says that the settler who ran over Murtaji confessed to police that it was intentional. The hit and run was revenge for the death of her brother, killed by Palestinians at the same site, the settler admitted. What pains her most is that “this Palestinian” had not yet died, the Israeli woman added.

Um Shaaban’s voice cracked, tears welling up in her eyes. “I put myself in God’s hands,” she says.

She asks why her husband should have to endure this torment. “Is our suffering from Israeli aggression not enough?”

Um Shaaban calls on the Red Cross and all human rights organizations to help her stay at her husband’s side and to ensure that all of his rights are protected.

Translated by Joharah Baker from Al Hayat Al Jadida.