Palestinian Father Tries to Make Sense of Two Offspring Killed in Qalandiyah

'Let's say she had a knife even if she had a cannon – why couldn't they shoot her in the legs? And why did they shoot her brother? Why did they kill them both?,' dad of slain 16 and 26 year old says.

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Border police photographed at Qalandiyah shortly after last week's two deadly shootings.
Scene of Qalandiyah checkpoint where the Palestinian siblings were killed on April 27, 2016Credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

A visit to the family in mourning for the brother and sister killed last Wednesday at the Qalandiyah checkpoint reveals further details about the incident and its circumstances.

In the incident Maram Ismayil, 26, a married mother of two small girls and her younger brother, Ibrahim Tahah, 16, a 10th grader, were shot to death.

Their father Salah Tahah, a taxi driver who worked for years in Israel ferrying butchers and Kashrut supervisors from Beit Shemesh to Bnai Brak, told Haaretz that two weeks before the shootings his daughter had left home in the nearby village of Beit Surik, and returned home to Katana, with her two girls, Sarah, 5 and Rimas, 4, due to a fight with her husband, Rauf.

Tahah said that Maram had been planning to return home to Beit Surik, the week before she was killed at Qalandiyah.

Salah said his daughter had also suffered a hand injury a few days beforehand and that as far as he knew she was on the way to Al Mukasid Hospital in East Jerusalem to treat pain she had in her legs, apparently as a result of a blood vessel blockade.

This is what she told her mother before she left home the day she died, last Wednesday morning. On April 17 Maram had gone to Ramallah Hospital apparently due to the same leg problem, and she brought back medical documents which she hoped would help her pass through the Qalandiyah checkpoint on her way to Jerusalem.

Tahah said that his wife had asked his son Ibrahim to accompany his sister "because it's not an accepted thing for us for a woman to travel alone." He said the pocket knife they found in his son's pocket after he was killed was something he always carried around as a work tool because it had a screw driver and bottle opener.

The father cannot identify the knives that police published alongside their pictures. He believes that Maram made a mistake on her way to the checkpoint becaue she had never passed through it before and that's why she walked with her brother in the vehicles lane.

He is convinced that there was no justification for shooting and killing his two children. "Let's say she had a knife even if she had a cannon – why couldn't they shoot her in the legs? And why did they shoot her brother? Why did they kill them both?"

At the house in Katana they demanded that police immediately publish the security camera footage so the truth about the double murder of their loved ones will come to light, but police stand by their refusal to do so.

Read the rest of the column in Friday's edition of Ha'aretz

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