Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Children's Alliance has sent out an email that in essence retracts the Sophie's Choice story that she, and I, passed along from Gaza 2 weeks ago:
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 . The Israelis 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.
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.
Phil Weiss comment: Abushawish's story is obviously very different from a Palestinian Sophie's Choice. That story is baseless. What's not rumor is the murders of over 400 children and the destruction of countless families by the Israeli army.
And yes, too, the fog of war. From Lubin's email:
I have just returned from 3 and a half weeks in Egypt and with Dr. Mona El-Farra
delivering an ambulance, 4 tons of much needed pediatric medicine, 2 tons of milk,
29 wheelchairs, and a truckload of crayons, magic markers, paper and coloring books
for children in Gaza. It was a very trying visit. I have been to Palestine many times over the past 21 years but never have I seen anything like what I saw this time. I will never forget The sadness, the smell, the destroyed homes, schools, mosques and cemeteries . I want to make clear this is not an apology, but an explanation of what happened.
I think we must acknowledge that the Sophie's Choice narrative was a folk legend, seeking to heighten the savagery of the massacre. The narrative is inaccurate. But the slaughter occurred. Kudos to Lubin for her work, and for correcting her earlier account.