Three days of siege and defiance in Beit Hanoun

Palestinian paramedics carry a wounded young man into Beit Lahiya hospital after he was injured during an Israeli military incursion into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, 3 November 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 three 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), five 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. 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 Central Gaza Ashifa Hospital.

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

The 14 beds in ER were not sufficient to receive the injured. A protest ensued 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 demonstrated 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 two 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, and 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.

Death toll stands at 25 with 115 Injured — many of them women and children under 16.

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

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Mona Elfarra is a doctor, mother and activist working at Al Awda Hospital in Gaza City. She is a member of the Union of Health Work Committees and a membeer of the board of directors of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip. She will continue future updates on her blog, http://fromgaza.blogspot.com/