Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Gideon Levy : Little Maria Paralyzed for life

Expand Messages
  • World View
    Paralyzed for life By Gideon Levy Haaretz 11 June 2006 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/725208.html The tangle of tubes and the artificial respirator
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2006
      Paralyzed for life
      By Gideon Levy
      11 June 2006

      The tangle of tubes and the artificial respirator attached directly to
      her windpipe cannot hide her beauty. A little 3-year-old girl lying in
      the pediatric intensive care unit at Sheba Medical Center, Maria
      Aman's sad, brown almond eyes are wide open, her lips murmur in a
      whisper: "Food, I want to eat," but all her limbs are paralyzed,
      forever. Not far from there, in an intensive care unit at Ichilov
      Hospital, lies her uncle Nahed, age 33 and father of two, who is in
      even worse condition: He is not only on a respirator and completely
      paralyzed, he is being kept asleep.

      No, these are not the victims of this weekend's operation, but their
      predecessors - victims of an airborne assassination in Gaza three
      weeks ago yesterday, an operation that shocked almost nobody here in
      Israel. The events of this past weekend should not come as a surprise
      to anyone: The deterioration has been going on for weeks, and the
      question that should be asked is not what Israel is doing to counter
      the Qassams, but what it is not doing. An army that fires missiles at
      busy streets and tank shells at a beach cannot claim there was no
      intent to harm innocent civilians.

      The girl's mother Naima, 27, her brother Mohand, 7, and her
      grandmother Hanan, 46, were killed in that "targeted" assassination.
      It was a relatively happy family, eight people traveling to visit
      relatives that Saturday afternoon in a car bought only two hours
      earlier. Only the father Hamdi, 28 - who grew up in the Carmel Market
      in Tel Aviv, his little son Moaman, 2, and cousin Imad emerged
      relatively unscathed, wounded only by shrapnel. The missile was aimed
      at Islamic Jihad activist Mohammed Dahduh, and it killed him, after
      his two brothers were eliminated in the past. The missile also hit the
      Aman family, whose vehicle was next to the Dodge Magnum in which the
      wanted man was riding.


      Dahduh, by the way, was heading to Shifa Hospital to visit his wife,
      who had just given birth. There was no bomb, certainly not a ticking
      one, but Israel has long since made the assassinations a wholesale
      weapon, legitimate and justified, and once again there is no public
      debate about the method.

      At the bedside of Maria day and night is only Nabil, her great-uncle.
      He's hungry and tired, his eyes bloodshot with weariness. At the
      bedside of Nahed is only his brother Maher, who lives in Jaffa. The
      rest of the family remains imprisoned in its home in Gaza's Tel
      al-Hawa neighborhood, calling dozens of times a day to find out how
      the relatives are doing. The girl's father wasn't allowed to visit at
      first. Now the family doesn't want him to see his daughter, so he can
      preserve his strength to take care of himself after what he refers to
      as a terrorist attack, as his toddler son wanders shell-shocked across
      the sand floor of the family home, calling in vain for his mother.

      The Israeli media has almost completely ignored this horrifying
      disaster caused by the air force. The media, as usual, nearly didn't
      report on it, and Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedi said
      with horrifying indifference that the air force "still has to examine
      the report that a family was injured." Two weeks later the IDF
      Spokesman's Office told Haaretz, "In the summation of the inquiry, the
      chief of staff has emphasized the efforts our forces make to avoid
      harming innocents," and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz's conscience is as
      quiet as usual, as quiet as it was after the assassination of Salah
      Shehade, an operation that took 16 innocent lives. The chief of staff
      also noted that the operation was conducted "with high levels of
      professionalism, with discriminating accuracy, hitting the wanted man
      and choosing a route not heavily trafficked."

      The road at which the rocket was launched, Industry Street in Gaza, is
      a crowded road. Nobody apologized, and worse, nobody considered
      offering aid to this unhappy, innocent family.

      After two weeks of hospitalization, last week plans were made to send
      Maria and Nahed home. There is no rehabilitation facility in Gaza, and
      their fates were sealed. They would die there in inhumane conditions.
      Now that the draconian compensation law has been promulgated, the
      family doesn't have any chance of suing the state. Last week the
      father Hamdi, a young and delicate man who commands respect, lost his
      temper when he heard that Maria was being sent back to Gaza. His voice
      was strangled by his cries.

      Only the vigorous and dedicated intervention of Physicians for Human
      Rights prevented, at the last minute, the return of the two to Gaza. A
      letter from the organization to the defense minister that demanded the
      girl and her uncle be treated in Israel went unanswered for more than
      a week, until MK Dov Khenin from Hadash bumped into Amir Peretz in a
      Knesset corridor and asked him about the case. Peretz, who knew
      nothing about it, promised to find out. Only after the matter was
      reported on Israel Radio last Wednesday by military correspondent
      Carmella Menashe did the Defense Minister's Bureau finally issue a
      statement saying that a committee would be convened to approve medical
      treatment for the two in Israel.

      Today Maria is supposed to be transferred to the Alyn Hospital in
      Jerusalem, and apparently her uncle will also be sent there. The
      defense minister has promised that the treatment will be covered.

      Even if that happens, it is impossible to ignore the disgraceful
      behavior of the Israel Defense Forces, its commanders and the Defense
      Ministry in this shocking affair. Even when nobody is discussing the
      legality of the assassination policy, let alone its morality, one must
      ask why the lobbying efforts of a physicians' group, an opposition MK
      and the media were needed to drag the minimum human effort out of a
      state that claims to be morally upstanding. Little Maria will remain
      paralyzed for life, as will the state and the army that did this to
      her and did not even think of apologizing or offering full medical
      help and appropriate compensation.



      To subscribe to this group, send an email to:

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.