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Clinically dead Gazan mother called "security threat;" denied passage through Israel

Oct. 5, 2008 3:38 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 5, 2008 3:38 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Thirty-year-old Karimah Abu Dalal was pronounced clinically dead in a Gaza City hospital while she waited for permission to undergo a second bone marrow transplant in Jordan, after a relapse in her leukemia, discovered after the birth of her first son.

Karimah is from the An-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, and was diagnosed with leukemia after the birth of her son Ahmad, who is now three.

The disease spread rapidly, and Karimah was never able to nurse her son. She was sent to Egypt where she had her first bone marrow transplant at twenty-seven, but six months later she experienced a chronic immune response against the transplanted tissue, and her health deteriorated rapidly.

Karimah's husband took her to hospital in Nablus in the northern West bank, which had recently been equipped to handle bone marrow transplants. In Nablus she was prepared for a second surgery.

As match-testing preparations went forward and Karimah's health got worse, she insisted on making the trip back to Gaza for what she thought might be the last time, so she could say goodbye to her family and child.

After her visit, Karimah's husband Maher took here again to cross into Israel so they could travel to the Nablus hospital where the surgery was scheduled. When they arrived at the border crossing Israeli authorities refused to let her pass.

After hearing about the incident several Israeli humanitarian organizations as well as Doctors Without Borders intervened. They sent reports on the woman's serious health condition, and letters of recommendation. Israelis maintained their refusal, saying that there was "security information" indicating that Karimah would undertake a bombing operation once inside Israel.

More reports from Israeli and international doctors were sent to military authorities explaining that Karimah was not even able to stand, let alone plan and execute a bombing in Israel. Israel's fanatical security and intelligence systems insisted that the woman represented threat to Israeli security.

"The most disheartening thing for me is the falseness of their information," said Maher. "What does their information say now after my wife has been declared clinically dead?" he asked.

He told of applications to Jordan as alternatives for treatment for his wife. Passage through to Jordan was allowed for Karimah's mother, who was to accompany her while receiving treatment, but denied for Karimah.

Maher said that he had filed six suits in Israeli courts appealing the decision of the military authorities, and seeking permission to take Karimah through the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. In all cases "top secret intelligence information" was cited as the reason for denial of travel and access to treatment.

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