British woman tells of Bethlehem shootings

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 7 Apr 2002 22:42:02 +0100

A Jewish woman from Manchester spoke last night of her terror after
fleeing Israeli soldiers firing live ammunition into a crowd of peace
protesters. 

Jo Bird, 31, a manager with the Co-operative Bank, watched as three of
her friends were shot during the peace demonstration in Bethlehem on
Easter Monday. 

Her friend Kate Edwards, an Australian living in Manchester, is still in
hospital in the West Bank after being hit in the stomach. She underwent
surgery to remove four bullet fragments, which ruptured her stomach and
caused severe internal injuries. Ms Bird was holed up in a hotel in
Bethlehem for three days until the British consulate stepped in to
evacuate her and six fellow peace activists, including the comedian
Jeremy Hardy. She finally flew home on Thursday evening. 

Ms Bird, whose Jewish parents support her activities, told The
Independent on Sunday: "We were peacefully marching in Bethlehem and
then, without warning, two Israeli soldiers began firing live ammunition
out of an armoured personnel carrier. 

"Some of the shots were aimed at the floor, some at the walls but others
were aimed at people. I was about five metres from the soldiers when
they started firing at us. 

"I was terrified. It was completely outrageous. My main concern was for
my friends who were injured. I was close by when they were hit. 

"I feared for my life, for sure. The soldiers carried on firing at us
for 10 minutes." 

The demonstrators, under the umbrella of the International Solidarity
Movement, then began, Ms Bird said, an orderly retreat. 

She added."I am angry that our lives and our human rights were treated
with such disrespect by the Israeli Defence Force. It opened my eyes to
the brutality of the Israeli occupation." 

Source:  Independent on Sunday

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