Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Gazan Health

Gazan Health
Gaza Health wrote: On the 8th of September

Israeli occupying forces made an incursion into the Jabalia refugee
camp - now home to 80,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendents
for the past 56 years. The operation went on for three long days.
Day 1: September 8

In the first few hours of the incursion 4 people were killed and
tens of others were injured, many of them seriously. According to
physicians who tended to the wounded the Israeli soldiers targeted
the chest, abdomen and lower limbs, of boys who were throwing stones
at the army tanks and bulldozers while they demolished homes and
razed agricultural land ( 30 houses were destroyed (10) completely &
(20) partially which left at least (200) people homless). The
youngsters were protesting in their own way against the presence of
the occupying forces in their town, some of them didn't live to tell
the tale.

Day 2: September 9th, 10AM

On my way to Al-Awda hospital I paid a visit to Al-Assria medical
and community center (both hospital and medical center are run by
the Union of Health Work Committees). The aim of my visit was to
watch a rehearsal by the Al-Assria folklore dancing group. The kids
are preparing for a tour in Britain organized by the Sheffield
Palestine Solidarity Campaign, where they will perform the
traditional Palestinian Dabka dance.

Verses from the Quran were emanating from loudspeakers outside
indicating one of the many funerals for the previous day's martyrs.
The boys and girls were practicing seriously but enthusiastically,
but they could not resist joking childishly about a member of their
group who couldn't come to the rehearsal because the Israeli army
was blocking his way due to the army presence nearby.

The kids danced to traditional Palestinian Dabka music, but at the
same time they endeavored to keep the music down so as not to offend
the people at the nearby funeral.

I finally decided against going to Al-Awda hospital after they
called me to say that there were Israeli snipers monitoring the road
to the hospital and it was too dangerous an undertaking.

Day 2: September 9th 12 noon :

As I left Jabalia, amidst the carnage Na'ima Naser from the nearby
village of Beit Hanoun went into labor. Na'ima was pregnant with
quadruplets as a result of IVF treatment after 16 years of
infertility. During the last month of her pregnancy Beit Hanoun was
besieged by the occupying army for 42 days, so Na'ima was unable to
receive regular antenatal care, which had an added importance due to
the large nature of her pregnancy. When she went into labor during
the Jabalia incursion, even normal the seven minute drive to Al-Awda
hospital became a dangerous journey because the army was operating
close to the hospital. Despite all the odds she gave birth to 4
babies, 1 girl (Heba) and 3 boys (Mohammed, Abdel Kareem and Bader

Day 3: September 10, The aftermath

The total death toll after the withdrawal of the army was 9 killed
and 150 injured, at least 100 of the injured were children. Al-Awda
hospital alone received 89 casualties – including 45 chidren – in
addition to one health worker who was targeted by the army while on

During its three day operation the Israeli army severely damaged the
water and telecommunications infrastructure in the area; needless to
say this made it extremely difficult for residents to contact the
emergency services to evacuate the wounded to the Al-Awda hospital
nearby. Furthermore the disrupted water supply was an extra addition
to the suffering to the people in the incursion area.

As the days go by I realize how remarkable the Palestinian people in
Jabalia, Nablus , Beit Hanoun, Rafah and elsewhere in Palestine are.
They do their best to go on with their lives despite the war that
has been imposed upon them by the Israeli occupation. Despite it
all, life goes on, they sing and dance, build schools and get
educations, train and compete in the international sporting
competitions ( The Olympics and the World Cup qualifiers to name a

I look at all this and dream of the day when the occupation ends the
Palestinians receive the justice they have been awaiting for 56

Yours in solidarity,,,
Dr. Mona El Farra
Union of Health Work Committees
Dr. Mona El Farra – UHWC

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