Palestinians Erect Memorial in Honor of School Bus Crash Victims

23 March 2012

On Thursday, March 22, 2012, PSP activists joined the families and supporters of the children who were killed in a school bus accident last month, on February 16, 2012, outside of Ramallah. Leila Ghannam, the governor of Ramallah, was also in attendance to show her support. Six children, between the ages of four and six, were killed in the crash, along with a schoolteacher, after a truck collided with the school bus in poor weather conditions. At the time of the accident, the bus caught fire and Palestinians who had been driving by stopped to try to put out the fire with small fire extinguishers. According to witnesses, Israeli soldiers were present at the time, but did nothing to help. The site of the accident was very close to an Israeli checkpoint and settlement. Witnesses explained that it would have been easy for the settlement to send a fire and rescue team quickly, but they did nothing.

Yesterday, March 22, we gathered at the spot on the highway where the accident took place to put up a memorial in the children’s honor, and to protest the neglect of the Israeli soldiers during the accident. According to many of the people in attendance, these children were not only victims of a horrible accident, but also of the occupation and the Israeli military that did little to save them. We marched towards the checkpoint from the crash site, and as we approached, the Israeli soldiers threatened to attack us with tear gas if we came any closer. The governor, at this point, made the decision to go back and not provoke the soldiers any further.