She was pregnant, for crying out loud.
I have never, in forty three years of ministry, known the mother of an unborn baby to put that baby in jeopardy for any reason, much less to make a political statement. Yet, Israeli soldiers shot to death Sara Haddoush Trayra from the town of Bani Neim near Hebron claiming that they were under attack. The crime she committed which brought about her execution was that she approached the mosque. She wanted to pray. She was 27 years old.
Eyewitnesses said a female soldier ordered the woman to accompany her to a room in order to search her, and that the soldier sprayed the woman with pepper spray, an issue that pushed her to run away from the soldier before other soldiers shot and killed her. They added that the army had no cause or justification to shoot the young pregnant woman, and could have easily subdued her, without resorting to lethal fire.
It is amazing how little it takes to threaten Israel’s security. Yet, to make matters worse, the soldiers who shot her prevented Palestinian medics from helping her. Her baby died as she lay there bleeding to death.
I am lost for words. When fully armed soldiers have to shoot a pregnant woman who was running away from being pepper sprayed to protect her unborn child – if this is what it takes to “keep Israel secure,” - then Israel needs to find soldiers a little less trigger happy and a little more compassionate.
That is not an impossible task. I have met Israeli soldiers, who risk being ostracized and even put in jail for treating Palestinians with fairness. Hundreds, including officers, have declared themselves “refusenics,” meaning that they refuse to fight beyond the 1967 borders to dominate, starve and humiliate an occupied people.
There is a chance that Israel might become legitimate among the family of nations and even respected, but killing a pregnant woman seeking to pray for the well-being of her child is one post in a long fence that needs mending.
September 1, 2016