Israel Murders American Family
- US Consulate in Jerusalem Ignored Plea to Stop Israeli Assault on
Palestinian American Calls for US Investigation into Israeli Assault
By Genevieve Cora Fraser
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Amr Salah, a United States citizen living in Massachusetts asks for
your help in demanding a formal investigation into the deaths of his
father and brother at the hands of 1,000 Israeli troops. Dr. Khalid
Salah, age 51, and his 16 year old son, Mohammed were shot and
killed by Israeli Defense Forces on July 6, 2004 in their home in
the city of Nablus in the Israeli Occupied West Bank. Throughout the
hours of assault the Salahs were huddled together in a corner of the
apartment, contacting relatives on a mobile phone for help. Despite
an urgent call to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, Consul General
David Pearce nor anyone else at the consulate intervened.
Dr. Salah received his doctorate in engineering at the University of
California, Davis in 1988 and was a member of the Palestine-Israeli
Peace Association at An Najah University in Nablus, where he was a
Professor of Electrical Engineering. Both Dr. Salah and his wife
Salam had permanent US resident status and had reluctantly made the
decision to leave Nablus. They were preparing to move to the United
States at the time of the assault. Their daughter Diana and son Amr
were born in California and are US citizens. The Salahs returned to
Nablus in 1989.
According to Amr, "My dad was a very gentle man who loved his
family, his work and his community. Despite living with war for many
years he remained a man of peace and often told me that Israelis
were his cousins and that he prayed that Israelis and Palestinians
could live together in harmony." Amr Salah attends Middlesex College
in Lowell, MA where he studies computer science. He plans to become
an computer engineer like his father.
"My Dad had turned down a good job offer in Silicon Valley. He
wanted to teach in his home town and help those who did not have the
educational opportunities that he had," Amr continued. "Despite the
curfews, closings and almost constant military action in Nablus
during the last 15 years, my Dad managed to stimulate young minds
with his love of science and, more importantly, with his love of
peace. My Dad hated violent words and acts and he would not tolerate
hateful words, even against the Israelis who occupied our city."
Amr alleges that his father and brother were innocent victims of
aggressive and reckless Israeli action. Shortly after the attack,
his mother and sister phoned to describe the circumstances of the
deaths of his father and brother. Amr was told that in the early
hours of July 6, his mother and father and sister Diana (22), and
brothers, Mohammed (16) and Ali (11) were asleep in their home when
they became trapped during an Israeli military pursuit of two armed
men. Their apartment building was attacked with rockets and machine
guns during the first hours of the Israeli action, he said.
"My family somehow survived this initial attack without injury and
following an Israeli command to evacuate the building, my father
spoke to the soldiers in English to tell them that their damaged
door could not be opened," Amr explained.
"The soldiers then fired through a window in the top part of the
front door and my father, and then my brother, Mohammed was both
shot. My Dad died instantly from a chest wound and Mohammed was
wounded by a bullet in the mouth when he came to help my Dad," he
"The Israeli forces then entered the apartment and forcibly removed
my mother, Diana and Ali and, despite my Mom's pleading not to
abandon him, my brother Mohammed was left by the Israelis and he
subsequently bled to death." His mother further reported that there
was no attempt to gain medical help for Mohammed or to allow local
ambulances access to the area, and that the Israeli soldiers
ridiculed and verbally assaulted her.
"The Israelis attacked an apartment building full of innocent people
with tanks, helicopters and rockets and then killed my father and
brother after they had caught the two men that they were chasing,"
According to eye-witness accounts, the militants were isolated and
killed in a courtyard and grounds area near the apartment building
occupied by the Salah family. Israeli sharpshooters were stationed
on rooftops and balconies throughout the neighborhood, and residents
of the apartment building had been evacuated, except for the Salahs.
The full military assault continued on the family's apartment even
after the militants had been killed.
"Newspaper reports of the incident made it quite clear that the
Israeli military were actively evacuating their wounded at the time
of the shooting," Amr stated. "When my mother returned to our home
three days later the building was damaged further from Israeli
attempts at demolition and my family home had been extensively
machine-gunned to destroy the contents."
I was first contacted by Diana Salah shortly after a memorial poem I
wrote, "Palestinian-American Family Ensnared in Israeli Death Trap,"
was published. When they learned that I planned to visit Palestine
to attend a conference held by the Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian
Peace, the family was determined that I visit.
In January, on the six-month anniversary of the attack, I met the
Salah family in Nablus. Salam now lives with her mother and sister
Fatema, in her childhood home and where she lived during her
courtship, situated on the South Mountain directly across from
Khalid's family home on the North Mountain. Accompanied by her
daughter Diana, Salam drove us in her deceased husband's car to the
site of the attack, up high on Saka Street along the south side
overlooking the city. It was her first venture outside her mother's
home since her husband and son were brutally and willfully murdered,
I was told. Salam has since lost over 40 pounds and her features
have become gaunt. Though the front door and windows were replaced,
bullet and mortar holes are still visible on the porch and
throughout the apartment. Blood stained rugs are rolled and Khalid's
and Mohammed's blood has soaked deep into tiles. She stated that
Israeli tanks fired from vantage points on Saka Street as well as
from the streets of the city below.
Salam and Diana led me into the kitchen where all the pots and pans
are riddled by bullets as well as the cupboards, refrigerator, floor
and ceiling. In the bathroom, I saw beautiful, hand-painted floral
tiles shattered along with the bathroom fixtures. The parent's and
children's bedrooms are riddled by bullet holes and their clothes
pock marked and shredded. The computer in the boy's room is also
shot-up as well as posters along the wall. Salam continues to pay
rent on the apartment and intends to keep it as a memorial to the
deaths of her beloved husband and son. She also confided she cannot
bear to have their blood further desecrated by tossing away the
tiles and discarding the rugs.
Salam said neighbors informed her that prior to the attack, the
Israelis had checked out the neighborhood and knew the names and
backgrounds of the residents and the exact location of the Salahs,
including the fact that Khalid was a well known peace activist. Two
physicians who also lived in the apartment building were evacuated
during the attack but prevented from treating Dr. Salah and his son,
despite pleas from Salam.
"Not once has anyone from the US Consulate's office in Jerusalem
contacted me to help or send someone to witness what was done,
despite the fact that Khalid had permanent US resident status, and
two of my children are American citizens with US passports," she
said. "No one from the Nablus Municipality or police has examined
the apartment nor has any effort been made to investigate the
deaths, despite that fact that the assault was widely reported by
the media." Salam finds unbearable the knowledge that one of their
relatives had successfully placed a call to the US Consulate during
the attack. They could have stopped the assault but they chose to do
nothing. They are partly to blame for the deaths of her husband and
son, she believes.
The Israeli paper Haaretz published an article in their weekly
magazine section, "Death in a Cemetery" by Gideon Levy that
described the military assault in vivid and gruesome detail. Salam
and I sat on her mother's living room couch as we leafed through the
article and others written in Arabic plus keepsakes from the
memorials and many tributes to her husband and son. Glossy posters
of the Salah martyrs are posted in the hallway, living room and
dining room as well as the bedrooms of the home. Salam dresses in
widows' black and wears a leather strap around her neck with photos
of Khalid and Mohammed. It is a struggle for her to focus on
anything but her loss though she is concerned that her surviving
children not be permanently scarred by the tragedy.
Though her grief is obvious, Diana is a bright, vivacious and
attractive young woman, quite popular with many friends. She appears
to be adjusting, but Ali is 11 years old and remains deeply affected
and somewhat withdrawn since the loss of his father and brother. He
too has many cousins and friends who shower him with attention and
seem to understand, for the children of Nablus are no stranger to
death and live with nightly assaults and rampages by the Israeli
armed forces. These assaults have continued since the election of
Abbas and the so-called truce, despite Israeli claims to the
In the evening Salam and I watched a video that had been dropped off
by a friend of TV footage of the attack, scenes in the hospital
where the bodies of Khalid and Mohammed and the militants had been
brought, the separate funerals, and graveside observances. She is
determined that those responsible for the deaths of her loved ones
will someday be brought to justice.
Palestine was stolen - that's why the Middle East is in conflict
by Jennifer Winkler
Most people don't understand why the Middle East is plagued by
violence. It is because Israel stole vast land and property from the
Palestinians beginning in 1948 and continuing today. Among
the "achievements" of the security wall underway is further theft.
The installation of Israel in Palestine was entirely wrong. That the
United Nations, Britain or France "gave" Palestine for a Jewish
homeland is abhorrent: it was not theirs to give. (And UN "approval"
was obtained under duress: UN member countries were threatened with
loss of trade or aid if they didn't vote for the partition, which
conferred on Jews 54% of Palestine's land though they owned only 7%.
Read the details at http://www.al-bushra.org/America/ch9.html.)
Then, through the acts of Jewish terrorists, 700,000 people were
terrified into fleeing their properties. (Read at
Remembered/Story674.html and http://www.al-
bushra.org/America/ch9.html .) They haven't been compensated for
their enormous losses. So naturally the Palestinians fight.
That their ancient ancestors had once lived there does not make it
legitimate for Jews to wrest the land from the people who since had
made it their home. Except of a scant portion, there had been
centuries of discontinuation in Jewish possession.
That the Old Testament decreed it is inadequate: the Old Testament
is not the universal book of man. (In any case the Bible
was "doctored" in the 20th century to strengthen the position of
Israel. Read more at
That the Jews were victimized during World War II is inadequate: one
victimization doesn't justify another. And that they had no home of
their own is inadequate: other people should not be dispossessed of
their homes in order to provide them one.
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