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Mother of sick 3-year-old stranded in Gaza

Aug. 29, 2010 8:30 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 31, 2010 12:09 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- The father of a 3-year-old girl suffering from cerebral atrophy is appealing for his wife and sons to be allowed to leave Gaza and return to the family home in the West Bank.

Osama Rasras, from Beit Ummar near Hebron, said his three children travelled with their mother to Gaza to visit his wife’s sick father. Israeli authorities would not allow them to leave for 18 months, during which time Dalal could not access medical treatment.

Eventually Israel allowed Dalal to return to the West Bank but refused to permit her mother or two brothers to return.

Rasras, who works in a factory and looks after Dalal, explained, “I began to play the role of a mother and father together. I cook, wash clothes, and arrange the house.”

The girl, who was born with a lack of oxygen to her brain, suffers frequent convulsions and comas, which threaten her healthy organs, her father said. The physiotherapy and surgery Dalal needs is unavailable in the West Bank, and currently she is receiving no medical treatment at all.

Rasras was unable to get the necessary references from the health ministry in order for her to receive treatment in the West Bank, he said, adding the medical costs of 150 shekels (around $40) would be beyond his means.

“I cannot find suitable treatment for my child, all of the efforts by human rights and political organizations to allow my wife in to the West Bank have failed. My family was torn apart,” he added.

Rasras appealed to President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and international organizations for help to bring his wife and sons, Ahmed and Omar, back to their home in the West Bank, and to facilitate access to medical care for Dalal.
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