Official Press Release from the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association attached below :
PRESS RELEASE 22nd September 2008Fifty-seven-year-old woman killed in her own house during Israeli army raid in Abu Dis
Eyewitnesses in Abu Dis told Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association on Saturday that Miriam Ayyad, aged 57 and a grandmother, was pushed to her death by an Israeli soldier during a raid on her house at around eleven in the evening. Her husband, daughter and four grandchildren were with her when a huge number of soldiers came into the house – the family thought about forty of them – and took people outside to search it. They were kept outside for about an hour.
Students were renting the flat above Miriam’s flat, and one of them, Abu Jaffa, was with her at the time. He reported that one of the soldiers in the street shot twice in the air and when soldiers then came to try and go to the flat above, Miriam was very worried about what they might be going to do. She stood in their way to protect the students in the flat above.
One of the soldiers pushed her out of the way, and Miriam fell on the stairs. Doctors who were called said that she died from a blow to the back of the head.
Her husband said that the soldiers told him that everyone had to leave, and they forced him to light the way into the flats one by one, threatening that if they found anyone there, they would kill them. He showed them their ground floor flat and was in the first floor flat with them when he heard his daughter screaming that the soldiers had killed her mother.
Their daughter called her uncle who lives nearby, and he rang for a doctor, while a neighbour called for an ambulance. They both were prevented from coming to the house by a checkpoint on the main road and when they went on another route, they were held up by another checkpoint. It wasn’t possible for a doctor to get to the house before Miriam died.
Soldiers said that she had fallen on her own, from a sitting position, and died as a result. The family however say that she had 7 cm gash from her head to her neck which proved that she had been pushed hard from a standing position.
People in Abu Dis are not only badly upset about what happened to Miriam, but there was more Israeli violence during a demonstration following her funeral in the middle of the night; Moatazz Mohammed Badr, a local young man, was shot by Israeli soldiers, and then was arrested along with another young man who tried to help him, No-one knows yet what has happened to them.
Yesterday there was a protest strike in Abu Dis – the schools and shops all shut. Things are not back to normal today.
“It is time for an end to the violence that the Palestinians suffer so often from the Israeli army,” said Nandita Dowson of the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association.” We in Camden have been close to this small town for the past four years, and in that time, the stories have been terrible. Shehadeh Mohsen, a diabetic patient, was killed by soldiers at a checkpoint when trying to reach hospital. An Israeli medical centre found that he was hit on his head with something made of metal.
“Mohammed Yasser Mohsen – a boy of sixteen - was so beaten badly on his stomach that he had to be taken to intensive care in hospital. Boys in Abu Dis Boys School were attacked and beaten badly by soldiers inside their classroom. Ahmed Eriqat and Abdullah Awwad were beaten up savagely and Ahmed’s leg was broken. We are all worrying about what has happened recently to Dakhlallah, A very bright student who was supposed to go on to the Al Quds University this term, but who was beaten up by the Israeli army in the street and arrested on a charge of stone-throwing that everyone around him says is false.
“Just as in the case of Moatazz Badr, young people who went to his rescue were arrested by the army.
“These human rights violations are continual and they are disgraceful. We are told that Miriam Ayyad was the sister of one of the women in the Dar Assadaqa women’s group, which our organisation supports. While we all try and concentrate on supporting positive activities, the Israeli occupation is preventing people from living a normal life – And in tragic cases like this, it clearly threatens people’s very lives.
“It is really time for this to come to an end.”
The human rights group will be organising an event in the next few days to convey their sympathy to Miriam’s family and their sorrow to the people of Abu Dis.
More information from 0845 458 1167http://www.camdenabudis.net
Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association can provide photographs of Miriam Ayyad