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More on the Deaths of Manal Albatran and Her Children

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Message Anna Baltzer
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When I first received Barbara Lubin's story from Gaza, I wrote her to ask how she, I, or someone on the ground could research the story to get all the facts. I just now received this response from her:

While I was away I told a story that was told to me by several people about a family in Gaza. This story received much attention and many people wanted more information so I contacted my friend Talal and asked him to research the story.  Here is his response:

Dear Barbara,

It's the first time I have had internet. I hope you are O.K... you and all of our friends. I heard from Dr. Mona [El-Farra] that you are under great pressure because of the story you have published about the crime of that woman. [We] are ready to receive any investigation committee to check out the facts. But as you know during the wars and when death is very close, the popular memory interferes and colors the action with it's special details.

We all heard the story on the local radio as I narrated it to you. But when you wrote the story and you faced so much pressure I decided to investigate and caught the real story.

It's not so far from from what you reported because the victims are the same... the story happened in Bourij Camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip.  The Israelis [army] called the woman, Manal Albatran, and told her that they wouldn't kill her or her husband Hussein Albatran, instead they would make them die of sadness because they would kill her children. The next day they shot her house with a rocket killing her and 5 of her children.

The dead:
Manal Albatran 30 years old
Walaa Albatran 12 years old
Islam Albatran 11 years old
Belal Albatran 10 years old
Ezz Albatran 8 years old
Ehsan Albatran 7 years old

The father who is an employee at an UNRWA school and the youngest child were saved. This is the real story and I hope the amount of victims will convince others to believe the crimes we face. Thanks a lot for your appreciated visit and I hope to see you again soon.

Talal Abushawish

The facts uncovered by Mr. Abushawish are clearly different from those initially reported by Barbara. In contrast, the reality of hundreds of mothers and children killed and families destroyed in the massacre is no legend. We owe it to the victims to always make every effort to be accurate. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to seek the details of the story.
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Anna Baltzer is a Jewish-American Columbia graduate, former-Fulbright scholar, the granddaughter of Holocaust refugees, and an award-winning lecturer, author, and activist for Palestinian rights. As a volunteer with the International Women's Peace (more...)
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