The first medical professional to treat the wounded Mark family members following the shooting attack on their vehicle on Friday was Dr. Ali abu Sharkh, a Palestinian private practice doctor from the town of Dahriyah, south of Hebron.
In a message to the children of the Mark family who lost their father in the attack, and whose mother is in critical condition, he said “I understand that the family is in great pain, but I want them to know that I did all I could to help them.”
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The shooting attack happened at about 3pm on Friday afternoon. After the terrorists’ vehicle overtook the Mark family car, they opened fire on the family. Mark was killed while his wife Chava was seriously wounded. Meanwhile, two of their children–Fadia, 15 and Tehila, 13–were also hurt.
While Dr. abu Sharkh was driving with his wife and brother towards Jerusalem for Friday prayers at al-Aqsa, the doctor saw the Mark family’s vehicle flipped over on the side of the road.
“We immediately stopped. There was a young Palestinian man with his wife who were trying to help the wounded, ” Dr. abu Sharkh said. “The first thing I saw was that Tehila was in a state of shock. I began to speak to her in English and she didn’t understand me. Then my brother began to speak to her in Hebrew and said to her ‘don’t be afraid, this is my brother, and he’s a doctor. He wants to help you.’”
At this point there still weren’t any Israeli ambulances or IDF forces on the scene.
“I quickly checked the girl and saw that she wasn’t critically wounded, so I continued on to the mother and saw that she couldn’t breathe because her seatbelt was blocking her airways, ” the doctor continued. “I released the seatbelt, extricated her from the vehicle and began to treat her. At this point, the first Red Crescent ambulance and IDF jeep arrived. I shouted in English at the soldier who was inside the jeep ‘call an Israeli ambulance immediately! Now! Now!’”
A police car from the Judea and Samaria Division, which happened to be at the scene of another accident close by, arrived as well. The police called in additional forces, and continued to provide first aid until more ambulances arrived.
The first Magen David Adom ambulance arrived a few minutes later. Dr. abu Sharkh explained to the paramedics that he’s a doctor, and that the wife still had a pulse but needed to be evacuated to a hospital immediately.
“It’s a good thing we saved her quickly, ” the doctor said, continuing “if we had taken our time, it would have ended differently.”
Because Dr. abu Sharkh approached the side of the vehicle that wasn’t hit by the bullets, he thought that this was just another traffic accident.
“The bullets hit the other side of the car. When I tried to check the father’s pulse, I didn’t feel anything. I then began to treat the girl with another Magen David Adom paramedic. I tried to calm down the little girl and wiped the tears from her eyes. I told her that her parents were ok, and that ‘everything would be ok, your mom is on the way to the hospital and she’ll get out of there quickly. The most important thing is that you’re ok now and that you won’t be afraid.’ I said all of this to calm her down despite the fact that I knew I wasn’t telling her the truth.”
After he finished treating the girl, a Red Crescent paramedic went up to the doctor and told him that this was the result of a shooting attack, and wasn’t just another traffic accident.
“The paramedic told me that I should leave the area because there might be a hostile reaction to me being there, ” abu Sharkh said.
The doctor said that he doesn’t feel like a hero and acted as every doctor is supposed to act in that situation.
“I carried out my duty, ” he explained. “It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a Palestinian or a settler. My job is to save people because they are people.”
The doctor said he hasn’t received any criticism from his community for treating the settlers. “Quite the opposite. All of my friends told me that I carried out my duties with honor. We are doctors, we don’t get involved with politics.”
Abu Sharkh also sent a personal message to Tehila, saying “I send her my condolences and am praying that her mother will get better soon.”
Following the funeral of the father, Miki Mark, the family expressed that it does not seek revenge on the killers. Yiscah Mark – the wife of son Shlomi Mark – wrote in a Facebook post “The first one to help was a Palestinian. Not every Arab is a terrorist.”