Diary of Beit Hanoun under siege

Palestinian paramedics carry a wounded man into Beit Lahia hospital after he sustained injuries during an Israeli military incursion into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, November 4, 2006. (MaanImages/Wesam Saleh)

Wednesday 1 November
1:30 am

Khalil Hamad died waiting for a permit to go to the hospital! Israeli occupying forces launched a massive attack against northern Gaza, focused on Beit Hanoun village. At the start of this assault, the village was placed under strict siege. Nobody was allowed in or out of Beit Hanoun.

At Al-Awda hospital where 45 injured were admitted for treatment, and 3 dead bodies received, I was told by our Emergency Room staff that one of these dead could have been saved easily.

While bleeding and suffering from multiple injuries, Mr. Khalil Hamad had to wait for special arrangements and an army permit to transfer him via the Red Cross from outside the village to the nearest hospital (Al-Awda) 5 minutes away from the scene. Mr. Hamad bled to death before he arrived at our hospital. A few minutes means a lot in the ER room in such cases, not to mention that he was left to die on purpose.

Speaking of war crimes and Geneva conventions, human rights violations etc., this frank violation of human rights is the normal attitude and practice of the Israeli army in Palestine.

Thursday 2 November

The ambulances were not allowed to enter the village, but they managed to evacuate a few casualities on the outskirts while working under heavy fire. Some cases arrived at the hospital where they were operated upon, others were referred to the Gaza Central Hospital Ashifa.

I was told by the surgeons that the injuries were all serious - to the neck, abdomen, head, and lower extremities - and were caused by large-sized bullets.

Friday 3 November
10 am

In the ER at Al-Awda Hospital, the 14 beds were not sufficient to receive the injured after a protest demonstration by the village women determined to break the siege and free their men who were confined by the army inside one of the village mosques. The women protested and managed to give free passage to the men inside the mosque. At least 15 injured women were received in the Al-Awda Hospital, but 2 were shot dead by the Israeli army.

This morning I visited some of the women inside the hospital. They were still in a state of shock. These heroines deserve love, respect and quality medical care.

This is the Palestinian woman. She has always been an active part of resisting the occupation, and will continue to pay the price of striving towards freedom.

The death toll is 30 in 3 days, and 115 injured; many are women and children under 16.

The operation is continuing and may extend to different areas. The streets of Gaza are full of demonstrators.