[Note by Tom Gross]
In the midst of today's many terror attacks on Israelis – including the killing of two Israeli civilians, the shooting of a pregnant Israeli woman and the shooting of a young Jewish girl south of Jerusalem, and the shooting of a crowd of passengers waiting at a bus stop in north Jerusalem, here is a story about how an Israeli doctor helped save a Palestinian baby.
The survival of tiny Salaam, whose name means "peace" in Arabic, has become a rare tale of the region's usually fractured and clashing peoples working together to save a life.
The area has been torn by 17 months of Palestinian-Israeli violence in which children and babies on both sides have suffered and died.
Salaam, a 10-month-old baby with a pink clip in her dark hair, was released from Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Hospital today. She was first found by Palestinians along a road north of the West Bank town of Ramallah and taken to a shelter run by Palestinian social services in the town of Tulkarm. A group of nuns in Bethlehem gave her a permanent home.
But the baby's health worsened. She was born with a large hole between her heart's two ventricles, or chambers, and her lungs were not receiving enough blood. Palestinian doctors noticed she was turning blue and losing weight, and the baby was taken to a Jerusalem hospital.
"She was bone and skin and that's it," said Israeli doctor Eli Milgalter, who did the surgery to repair Salaam's heart on January 24. The nuns raised nearly $11,000 to pay for the hospital costs, and Milgalter performed the surgery without accepting payment.
Salaam has made a full recovery, doctors said, a rare exception in a cruel conflict that has seen babies killed on both sides. Israeli children have been among the victims of Palestinian gunfire and bomb attacks, and Palestinian children and teenagers have been killed by Israeli army gunfire during demonstrations and riots.
SOME OF TODAY'S NEWS UPDATES
February 25, 2002
Two terrorists opened fire at passersby at Bus No. 25's last stop in Neve Ya'akov in Jerusalem. Reports are that at least 10 people were wounded. Jerusalem police commander Micky Levi said that three policemen overpowered the terrorists, seriously wounding one of them. The other terrorist fled in the direction of Dahiyat al-Barid. Three policemen were hurt in the exchanges of fire.
Additionally, another terrorist attack took place between Nokdim and Tekoa in which two Israeli civilians were killed and two others were wounded. One of the casualties is a pregnant woman in serious condition. The other casualty sustained medium wounds.
PREGNANT WOMAN AND YOUNG GIRL SHOT DEAD IN THEIR CAR
Palestinian terrorists kill two Israelis near Bethlehem
By the Jerusalem Post Internet staff
February 25, 2002 (16:30 news update)
Palestinian terrorists shot dead two Israeli civilians and wounded two others – a pregnant woman and a small girl - in a shooting attack south of Jerusalem about 4 p.m. today.
Magen David Adom emergency medical services reported two killed, one pregnant woman, in moderate to critical condition with gunshot wounds to the stomach, and a fourth girl in light condition.
Avraham Fisch, 60, of Nokdim, was killed in the attack. The name of the second victim, also a Nokdim resident, has not yet been released to the press.
The driver and front seat passenger were both killed and the woman and girl, both sitting in the rear of the car, were wounded in the hail of automatic rifle fire.
MDA armored ambulances evacuated the critically and lightly wounded casualties to Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem.
The attack took place on an Israeli civilian convoy traveling between Tekoa and Nokdim, located southeast of Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem. The site of the attack – 200 meters north of Tekoa – is located under Israeli security control.
Palestinian terrorists waiting in ambush opened fire on the civilian vehicles as they drove past.
The perpetrators subsequently fled on foot northwards into PA-controlled Bethlehem, Israel Radio reported.
The Tanzim's Aksa Brigades, affiliated with PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, have claimed responsibility for the killings.
The wounded woman, Fisch's daughter, Tamara Lifschitz, 33, in her ninth month of pregnanacy, subsequently underwent surgery and gave birth to a girl less than two hours after the attack.
Hadassah doctors reportedly do not fear for Lifschitz's life.
In related news, two pregnant Palestinian woman were shot by IDF soldiers over the past two days while attempting to cross through West Bank roadblocks.
Both women subsequently gave birth to healthy children.
PASSENGERS FIRED UPON AT ISRAELI BUS STOP
Terrorist opens fire on Jerusalem bus stop
By the Jerusalem Post Internet staff
February 25, 2002 (18:45 news update)
A Palestinian terrorist opened fire early this evening on Israeli pedestrians at a crowded bus stop in Neveh Ya'akov, located in the northern section of Jerusalem near Pisgat Ze'ev.
At least ten people were wounded in the attack on Egged bus No. 25's final stop.
Three of the wounded are in critical condition, four in moderate condition, and the remainder were lightly wounded in the terror attack. Three of the wounded are reportedly police officers, including one woman.
Magen David Adom emergency medical crews evacuated casualties towards Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem, Hadassah-University Hospital, Mount Scopus, and Shaare Zedek Hospital.
A gunbattle broke out between the terrorist and security forces on the scene. Jerusalem police officers from the adjacent station opened fire and charged the Palestinian, Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Mickey Levy said.
The terrorist was then taken down by civilians on the scene. He was seriously wounded and is now hospitalized in Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem.
Gunfire also hit nearby residential buildings during the battle between the terrorists and police officers.
IDF, police, and Border Police officers began chasing a suspected second terrorist into the nearby Arab neighborhood of Dahit el-Barid, placed under curfew by security forces.
However, a police investigation and interrogation of the hospitalized terrorist later in the evening revealed just one man carried out the attack.
"We cannot close the area hermetically, but we will do everything we have to do," Levy told Israel Radio.
The Tanzim's Aksa Brigades, affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, have claimed responsibility for the Neveh Ya'akov terror attack.
In a statement released to the press, the Aksa Brigades noted the attack was carried out to mark 40 days since the killing by Israel of Raed Karmi, one of the organization's leaders.
The attack also marks eight years since the massacre of Palestinian worshipers in Hebron by Kiryat Arba resident Baruch Goldstein, the statement said.