United States citizens without protection against Israeli gunfire

We are twenty-four U.S citizens, resident aliens and an old grandmother living in a five apartment building in the town of Tulkarem, the West Bank.

On May 24th early afternoon, the Israeli soldiers, and even though they knew that we were U.S citizens, invaded our private building in order to convert it into a sniper watch-post. At gunpoint we were forced to be jailed in one apartment where all of our lives were in danger hence an exchange of fire was taking place in the neighborhood. Bullets shattered windows but luckily no one was hit.

We called the U.S consulate in Jerusalem, it was Friday and the officer on duty transferred our call to the Embassy in Tel-Aviv who transferred our call back to Jerusalem who told us we would contact the Embassy ourselves and get back to you.

No one got back to us. The soldiers, however who told us that they are taking over the building for a few days, left the building voluntarily, no damage was done, nothing was taken.

The second phase of our turmoil happened less than twenty-four hours later, when the same or similar group consisting of several tanks and armored carriers was passing by through the neighborhood. One very big tank stopped at a distance of less than fifty meters, and opened fire towards the building. The oldest son in the entire family, Saleh who is only eleven years old, was hit. His father went to save him, but the tank was still firing even though there was no exchange of fire this time. The father was not hit, and the boy was dragged and kept on bleeding for almost twenty minutes before an ambulance could arrive to the scene.

In the local hospital the staff could not take care of the deep wound because the right shaft of the thigh was broken. He needed to be operated on immediately, but they could not handle the case because of the lack of medical materials and personnel.

Three days later we were able to get an agreement from the Israeli DCO office in order to transfer the boy to the Ram Pam hospital in Haifa. The DCO agreed to transfer the boy to Haifa on the condition that we will have to pay the entire bill of expenses.

The Ram Pam hospital was surprised to see the boy. There was no coordination between the two hospitals. They refused to admit him at first, but after they did, they refused to operate on his injury because his father was not present; he needed a permit of to go to Haifa, which he could not get until the next day.

Finally, and thanks to the goodness that is still around in this world, we were able to move him to the Nazareth hospital, where he is still being treated, he was set up for the operation at ten in the second morning. His condition is now stable, but he will never be the same as he normally was, while bleeding Saleh asked us the question: Why did they shoot me? I did them no harm, he cried.