Apartheid And Ethnic Cleansing Fail Of The Day

We really suck at this apartheid and ethnic cleansing thing.

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

In his short life, Palestinian toddler Mohammed al-Farra has known just one home: the yellow-painted children’s ward in Israel’s Tel Hashomer hospital.

Born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease, Mohammed’s hands and feet were amputated because of complications from his condition, and the 3 1/2-year-old carts about in a tiny red wheelchair. His parents abandoned him, and the Palestinian government won’t pay for his care, so he lives at the hospital with his grandfather.

“There’s no care for this child in Gaza, there’s no home in Gaza where he can live,” said the grandfather, Hamouda al-Farra.

“He can’t open anything by himself, he can’t eat or take down his pants. His life is zero without help,” he said at the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, part of the Tel Hashomer complex in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan.

Mohammed’s plight is an extreme example of the harsh treatment some families mete to the disabled, particularly in the more tribal-dominated corners of the Gaza Strip, even as Palestinians make strides in combatting such attitudes.

It also demonstrates a costly legacy of Gaza’s strongly patriarchal culture that prods women into first-cousin marriages and allows polygamy, while rendering mothers powerless over their children’s fate.

Mohammed was rushed to Israel as a newborn for emergency treatment. His genetic disorder left him with a weakened immune system and crippled his bowels, doctors say, and an infection destroyed his hands and feet, requiring them to be amputated.

In the midst of his treatment, his mother abandoned Mohammed because her husband, ashamed of their son, threatened to take a second wife if she didn’t leave the baby and return to their home in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, al-Farra said. In Gaza, polygamy is permitted but isn’t common. But it’s a powerful threat to women fearful of competing against newer wives.

Now Mohammed spends his days undergoing treatment and learning how to use prosthetic limbs.

His 55-year-old grandfather cares for him. Mohammed’s Israeli doctors, who’ve grown attached to the boy, fundraise to cover his bills, allowing him and his grandfather to live in the sunny pediatric ward.

Read the whole thing.

Update: Curiously enough, the Times of Israel report does not obscure Mohammed’s face like this Ynet version.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media