Update from Beit Sahour
Dr. Majed Nassar
Union of Health Work Committees,
22 November 2000
Contrary to what you have been hearing on the news, the "Israeli"
occupation government is NOT allowing medical personnel to access their
places of work or to tend to people who have been wounded.
As recently as this morning, when the "Israeli" army shelled
two civilian cars in Gaza, killing 4
people and wounding 8,
ambulances were prohibited from reaching the site.
In another instance today, a man was shot and injured
in the village of
Hussan, near Bethlehem. Villagers contacted us at the clinic here in
Beit Sahour asking us to send an ambulance. As we do not have one,
we called the emergency station in Bethlehem. They responded by informing
us that their ambulances are not allowed to enter Hussan.
Also this morning, our outreach team was sent
back again by "Israeli" soldiers who were stopping every
Palestinian car and
shooting its four wheels. This has been the soldiers' "fun"
for the last week. Our Pediatric
Cardiologist, Dr. Mahmoud
Nashashibi, has been prevented each week from
coming to our Center in Beit Sahour from Jerusalem. Each week
there are up to 20 mothers who have brought their infants for
an echocardiography examination. We have had to send them home because
Dr. Nashashibi is unable to come. The Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem,
which relies on our Center to perform
this procedure for their pediatric patients, has nowhere
else to turn. The same thing goes for our neurologist,
our diabetes specialist, and
our dermatologist who come from Jerusalem.
Also today, in Hebron, Israeli bulldozers
destroyed the old Palestinian market (for "security reasons,"
they say). The people
of the old city of Hebron, almost
40,000, have been under constant curfew for the past
40 days. Thirty-four schools have
been closed and more than 13,000 children are confined
to their homes, in addition to 460 teachers. Four schools have been
turned into military compounds.
In addition, hundreds of trees have been uprooted
in Gaza, in Beit Sahour, and in almost every village in the
north. The olive
harvest, one of the main means of livelihood for many Palestinian
farmers, has been destroyed as the farmers are prohibited
from collecting the olives from their trees.
All this and much more has happened only
one day after the "Israeli" occupation forces bombarded
Gaza for over three hours with tank shells, gunfire, and helicopter
missiles, causing much damage and many injuries,
especially and mostly among the civilian population.
The escalation is obvious. It seems the "Israeli" government
has realized that the Palestinian people are determined to win their
freedom and independence. What they
haven't yet realized, however, is that their increasing
aggression and terrorism will
not crush this determination.