Palestinian girl died after being prevented from hugging father

Arabs Today

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In a unique case that highlights the sense of shock and the strain the occupation brings to bear on ordinary people, psychological trauma has been blamed for a Palestinian girl’slife-threatening coma after she was prevented by Israeli authorities from hugging her father when she went to visit him in prison where he is serving a life term. Israeli police officers in charge of the prison where Abeer Eskafi’s father, Yousuf, is serving his sentence, allegedly did not allow the 10-year-old to go over to the prisoners’ side of a meeting room where visitors can meet inmates when she expressed a wish to hug her father. The little girl was so hurt by the episode that soon after returning home, she refused to eat and retreated into a shell of silence. Later she became paralysed and subsequently slipped into a deep coma that even affected her respiratory functions. She is now on life-support at a hospital in Hebron.

Doctors at Hebron’s Princess Alia Hospital say Abeer’s condition is deteriorating steadily, which is preventing her from being transferred abroad for advanced treatment which the Palestinian health service is not in a situation to provide.Physicians treating Abeer have warned that there’s a big risk to her life if she is moved from her bed or if the connection to the artificial breathing apparatus is disturbed. Abeer’s father has been sentenced by an Israeli court to four life terms with no chance of parole.

Abeer is the eldest of his three daughters, the others being Falastine and Tahreer. Abdul Rahim Abdul Mohsin Eskafi, Abeer’s grandfather, told Gulf News that her health started to decline following her visit to her father in prison. Eskafi said Abeer used to be allowed to the other side to hug her father and spend a couple of minutes with him on earlier visits but was refused such permission on her latest visit ostensibly because she had passed an age limit a few days ago that made her ineligible for such consideration.

Eskafi, who also heads the Prisoners’ Families Committee at the Palestinian Prisoners Club, said Abeer collapsed after the Israeli officer prevented her from getting close to her father, but kept knocking on the glass barrier and Yousuf responded by knocking on it from the other side but even this distressing sight did not evoke any pity in the officer. After Abeer got back home to Hebron, she started knocking hysterically on pieces of furniture in the house all the time until her right hand became weak. She refused to eat and kept calling for her father, he added.

All specialist doctors who saw Abeer diagnosed her condition as psychological, and the girl’s health deteriorated till she became totally paralysed and had to be hospitalised when she lapsed into a coma.
Meanwhile, Yousuf, Abeer’s father had to undergo emergency surgery after suffering a heart attack on hearing about his daughter. Abeer’s elder brother, Ahmad, was shot dead by the Israelis in 2007 when he was just 15.

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How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all?


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