News ID: 109147
Publish Date : 19 November 2022 - 21:34

Gaza Blockade Separates Mothers From Premature Babies

GAZA (Middle East Eye) – It was seven months into her pregnancy when Yasmeen Ghanem was informed she needed to give birth prematurely.
The 28-year-old Palestinian then rushed to make arrangements to travel to Al-Quds from her hometown in Gaza, where the medical infrastructure has been badly impacted by years of Zionist-led blockade and bombardment.
A week later, she gave birth to a baby girl, Sophie, who weighed less than 800 grams and needed further medical attention at al-Makassed hospital in occupied East Al-Quds.
Ghanem, however, was forced back to Gaza by Zionist regime authorities, according to the permit conditions that did not allow her to remain in Al-Quds after being discharged from the hospital.
“I felt so guilty leaving her alone while she needed me the most,” Ghanem told Middle East Eye, as she described her tearful journey in the taxi back to Gaza.
“But it was not even my choice.”
Sophie is one of tens of thousands of Palestinian children who, since 2007, have been separated from their parents while being treated outside the besieged Gaza Strip.
Under the Zionist siege, Palestinians who want to pass from Gaza through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to reach the occupied West Bank need to obtain an exit permit from the occupying regime’s army. Such permits are granted only to people who fall within very limited categories - including critical medical and humanitarian cases, staff of international organizations, or students with scholarships to study abroad.
In nearly half of the cases concerning minor patients, the regime’s army either rejects or delays giving permits to parents, leaving sick children to be accompanied by another relative.
When Ghanem returned to Gaza, depression symptoms were unmistakable, according to her psychiatrist.
“This is not how I planned my relationship with my baby. She is growing up alone in a place that I cannot even reach,” Ghanem told MEE.
“The fact that there are some hundreds of meters and three checkpoints between me and my daughter kills me every second,” she added.