4 Es in Gaza & Palestine in general
Emotions: Abeer Skafe,10,Hebron, died today after a nervous breakdown & complete paralysis for Israel denying her permission to see imprisoned father
Easter: Gazan children celebrating Easter in a church
Electricity: Gazan children defying darkness
Emancipation: when you spend your life trying to free yourself
Hmmm I have allot to say about this part but this story will say it all. Abeer Iskafi, 11, from Hebron, died yesterday after a nervous breakdown and complete paralysis. Abeer was prevented by Israeli authorities from hugging her father when she went to visit him in prison where he is serving a life term. Israeli police officers in charge of the prison where Abeer Eskafi’s father, Yousuf, is serving his sentence, allegedly did not allow the 10-year-old to go over to the prisoners’ side of a meeting room where visitors can meet inmates when she expressed a wish to hug her father. The little girl was so hurt by the episode that soon after returning home, she refused to eat and retreated into a shell of silence. Later she became paralysed and subsequently slipped into a deep coma that even affected her respiratory functions. She is now on life-support at a hospital in Hebron.
Doctors at Hebron’s Princess Alia Hospital say Abeer’s condition is deteriorating steadily, which is preventing her from being transferred abroad for advanced treatment which the Palestinian health service is not in a situation to provide. Physicians treating Abeer have warned that there’s a big risk to her life if she is moved from her bed or if the connection to the artificial breathing apparatus is disturbed. Abeer’s father has been sentenced by an Israeli court to four life terms with no chance of parole.
All specialist doctors who saw Abeer diagnosed her condition as psychological, and the girl’s health deteriorated till she became totally paralyzed and had to be hospitalized when she lapsed into a coma.
Meanwhile, Yousuf, Abeer’s father had to undergo emergency surgery after suffering a heart attack on hearing about his daughter. Abeer’s elder brother, Ahmad, was shot dead by the Israelis in 2007. Abdul Rahim Abdul Mohsin Eskafi, Abeer's grandfather, said that her health started to decline following her visit to her father in prison.
Eskafi said Abeer used to be allowed to the other side to hug her father and spend a couple of minutes with him on earlier visits but was refused such permission on her latest visit ostensibly because she had passed an age limit a few days ago that made her ineligible for such consideration.
Abeer died at Princess Alia Hospital in Hebron late on Thursday after falling into a coma days earlier. She was buried in Al-Rashid cemetery in Hebron with the participation of city’s residents, local officials and religious figures.
This is how brutal life can get when you are living under occupation; Palestinian children usually pay the price on one way or another. They are either brutally killed while playing, or have to suffer the loss of one or more loved one, or the abduction of one or more loved one, or maybe suffer permanent disabilities, or get a serious disease as a result of Israel’s misuse or abuse of illegal weapons against Palestinians, or maybe they get abducted by Israel and serve the rest of their lives in prison just because they were born Palestinians or maybe die after being denied permission to seek treatment outside Palestinian because Gaza’s siege and West Bank’s occupation leave no place for medical prosperity. Palestinian children are exposed to overwhelming emotions that adults in other places in the world cant deal with and yet we expect from them to be successful, live a normal live, have no physical or emotional complications or even complain about it. We often forget that Palestinian children at the end of the day are children like any other children around the world except the fact that their childhood is stolen from them before they can even enjoy it.
This brings us once again to Palestinian children in general and Gazan children in particular. I am muslim, yes, but I have many Christian friends in Gaza and the West bank so let me give you a glimpse and a taste of what is Easter like in Palestine. I hope this process wont overwhelm you but here we go:
So both Gazans and West Bankers prepare themselves for Easter by applying for permits to visit holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem (Yes, we don’t even have the freedom of Worshiping here in Palestine, everything is oppressed). The Israeli military government starts performing a security check and a background check on every Palestinian who applied for a permit even if those same Palestinians have already applied tens of time, always a new series of procedures that will take a life time to finish.
Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been required to get Israeli army permission before they can enter Jerusalem since Israel cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories in the early 1990s.
Ofcourse permits are only given to businessmen who will benefit Israel’s market or those who suffer from a serious illness and lucky enough to be still alive when Israel grants them the permission of traveling through their own country only after a lifetime of procedures and security checks. A long ago, Israel used to give those permits also to workers from Gaza and the West Bank because they get paid less and they don’t get any medical insurance (Do you smell slavery here or is it my nose only?).
What is really ironic is that internationals from around the world get the permission to visit Palestine’s holy places while Palestinians have to sit, watch and envy. (Ever wondered why Palestinians get angry sometimes? Well I kinda gave you one part of the answer).
So to make a loooooooooooooooooong story short, lets just say that Palestinians spend their Easter waiting for permits which usually end up with a huge disappoint, why you ask? Here is why:
1- Israel either gives them permission after Easter ends.
2- Or gives them permission to stay one day only.
3- Or allows a few members of one family to travel while prevents the other members.
Lets not forget also that every Eid, festival or celebration (Whether Christian or Muslim) in Palestine has to be special. Meaning: Israel has to always either participates in our Eids or makes them more special by either bombing, raiding or killing a number of Palestinians.
Again there is so much to say about Electricity in Gaza or better yet THE LACK OF ELECTRICITY IN GAZA, so as to not to confuse you: by talking about electricity in Gaza you always end up talking about darkness. I came up with this equation: in Gaza Electricity equals darkness. I know its very obvious but hey I came up with it anyway.
Gaza’s longtime suffering with electricity starts from a loooooooooooooong time ago. We suffered everything regarding electricity, you name it. We went through hours, days and weeks without electricity. Hard to imagine eh? Well that’s reality when your living in Gaza.
Rather than the daily power cuts that became routine to every Gazan, you have sometimes to go through days without electricity. At first you get angry but then you get used to it and learn how to live with it and around it. The longest period of power cuts we ever went through was during Israel’s war or assault on Gaza in 2008-2009 when we had to live nearly 23 days without electricity (for those who made it and stayed alive after the war ended). I think by now you are wondering why we suffer those power cuts right? Before I right the reasons below I just would like to dissect Gaza’s electricity.
Gaza’s power supply comes from three providers, which are:
A- Egypt: This provides Rafah and other areas in southern Gaza with high voltage power lines.
B- Israel: This provides some southern areas in Gaza with electric power.
C- Gaza: Gaza’s only power plant that provides some areas in Gaza city with power, Israel bombed the plant numerous times then prevented equipment from entering Gaza to fix it leading to major failures in that plant. The plant doesn’t work in full force either because some of its engines are down or because of the lack of fuel to run it.
Now, lets talk about the main reasons behind Gaza’s darkness:
1- Israel controls all Gaza’s crossings and supplies which means they control the amount of fuel that enters to operate Gaza’s only power plant which is usually a very low amount that’s if we are lucky enough and the crossings are opened. In addition to controlling the power supply they provide some areas in Gaza with, they can cut the power whenever they feel like it.
2- Hamas doesn’t want to use all the entered fuel and that can be for many scenarios talked about by Gazans, either because they are trying to save it for the bad times when no fuel is available or other scenarios alleging that Hamas saves some fuel to sell it.
3- When the PA in Ramallah decides to teach Hamas a lesson and apply pressure for the fuel not to enter Gaza.
4- Concerning Egypt’s power supply: to be honest I haven’t heard that the Egyptian supply of electric power cuts allot or usually but then again I don’t live in Rafah so I cant claim to know the whole story.
Gazans usually invest those loooooong power cuts by gathering around and having a good time, or reading books or playing cards or just enjoying the candle light. They learned how to cope with everything. Gazan students are experts in studying on candle lights because they are always studying for their exams and the power always keeps on cutting. (How does this affect their eyes and vision? Well that’s a whole other story to be told some other time).
Emancipation might represent a synonym for some people but for Palestinians it represents a personal goal that they spend their lives trying to achieve. We do go through many kinds of things that we feel like we need to free ourselves from, for example:
1- We need to free ourselves from Israel.
2- We need to break Gaza’s siege.
3- We need to end the occupation in the west bank.
4- We need to free Palestine General
5- We need to end the Palestinian division.
6- We need to free ourselves from misery and suffering.
7- We need to be independent and free in all aspects whether it’s the economy, culture, education, faineances, medical issues, movement and traveling, owning our own lands, defending ourselves and raising our children in a safe healthy environment.
Emancipation might mean freedom and rights but for us it means much more.