My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Power struggle in Gaza hurts the sick...

Gee, can they blame this on Israel too???
Hundreds of Palestinian patients have been trapped in the Gaza Strip, unable to travel abroad for crucial treatment for cancer and other diseases, because of political infighting between Gaza's militant Hamas rulers and their Palestinian rivals.

Eight Gazans who were waiting to travel abroad have died since the crisis began in March, when the dispute shut down a medical referral committee that helps sick residents find treatment outside of Gaza, according to the World Health Organization.

Others are hanging on, waiting. Ten-year-old Ribhi Jindiyeh, a lymphoma patient, lies in bed at home, skinny and jaundiced, too weak to move. He underwent chemotherapy last year in an Israeli hospital, and when he returned home in January, he seemed better. But in March, he began urinating blood.

Gaza doctors can't find the problem and give him infusions every two days to keep him alive.

"Nobody here knows why he is losing so much blood, but nobody can refer us to a hospital abroad, either," his mother, Nevine, 38, said.

Another son, 4-year-old Yehia, was diagnosed with lymphoma in March.

"I want everybody to help my son -- Israel, Fatah, Hamas, whoever," Nevine said. "If they can't help a sick child, who can they help? They should all pack up their bags and go home."

On Monday, there was hope for a resolution. Hamas health minister Basim Naim announced the restoration of the referral committee, which Hamas' rival, Fatah, had controlled but Hamas shut down in March.

The committee would resume coordinating medical treatment abroad. But Hamas has reservations and has asked mediating independent health workers to find new committee members both sides can agree on, said senior health official Yousef Mudalal.

That raises the possibility of a new dispute.

The split between Hamas and the Fatah movement of U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which controls the West Bank, can have a devastating impact on Gazans' lives.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007 after routing forces loyal to Fatah and systematically started taking over government agencies in the tiny Mediterranean territory.

On March 22, Hamas officials took control of the Fatah-run medical committee, which referred about 1,000 patients a month with life-threatening illnesses to Israel and Egypt. Hamas officials said the committee was rife with corruption and needed reform.

In response, the West Bank government, which funds medical treatment for Palestinians abroad, froze most patient transfers.


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