Beit Jala Resident Fadi Barham: “The Government Doesn’t Care about Disabled People”

PNN FEB 27 2012

SAM 2333

By Edra Arb/ for PNN

Three years ago Fadi Barham was in an accident and lost his ability to walk. He fell 12 meters down a steep slope near his home and as a result, severely injured his back. If Fadi had received immediate medical attention, he may still be able to walk today. However, he became a victim of the system that the Israeli occupation has created; access to good healthcare in Palestine is difficult, but receiving the healthcare in Israel instead is almost impossible. Fadi neither got acute healthcare in time nor any governmental support now. The political situation is hitting those with the most difficulties, hardest.

Fadi Barham is a restaurant owner, a husband and a father from Beit Jala, a village near Bethlehem, West Bank. The accident happened by his home and his family drove him to hospital right away, where the doctor took an x-ray. It showed what they had feared; his spinal cord had been badly damaged.

“The doctor told us that there was no spine specialist in Palestine. And that I couldn’t wait, my situation was acute.”

They decided to go to Jerusalem which is only 8 kilometres away from Beit Jala. Though Beit Jala is in the West Bank, the wall effectively separates the cities.

The accident happened at five o’clock, the Israeli office that gives permission for people to go through the checkpoint from Bethlehem to Jerusalem closed at four o’clock. His medical situation wasn’t going to wait, he depended on urgent access to medical care yet it took him 12 hours to get permission to enter Israel.

“The checkpoint took extra time. They had to change me from a Palestinian to an Israeli ambulance. And the soldiers went though their normal security check, maybe I have a bomb in my pocket?”

When they finally arrived in Jerusalem, he received help right away in the emergency department. The doctor ascertained that he needed immediate surgery. But that was before he saw his Palestinian blue ID.

“He told me; ‘this is not for Palestinians, this is for Jewish people. Go to Ramallah and get help there…’ My mother and my family were there, crying. They begged him, and he said that if they wanted they could pay him.”

His family accepted this, but no medical help was given before they brought the money. Fadi’s brother hurried back to Beit Jala and collected money from their home, neighbours and the Catholic Church. After twelve hours Fadi was finally able to receive his treatment. He spent one and a half days in hospital before he received the following prognosis from the doctor:

“You don’t have a chance, it is over. Your spine is broken, that’s it.”

Now, three years after the accident his paralysis and his wheelchair does not prevent him from working. However, his life is now limited to his restaurant or his home and he depends on the help of his family. He has a car, especially adapted for his disability, but he needs help from his wife to get in and out of it. He is worried about his wife because he depends so much on her, he needs help almost all the time. All the heavy lifts have made her back ache, and she also has their children to take care of.

He does not only criticise the Israeli occupation in relation to what happened to him and his situation today, he also calls upon the Palestinian Authority to do more to improve the situation of disabled Palestinians. To invest in specialists, activities and adapted equipment to ease the stress of coping with everyday life, to adapt public spaces for disabled people and finally, to provide economic support for all the extra expenses that come with having a disability. The cost of health treatment for Fadi Barham was approximately 200,000 shekels. An average Palestinian monthly wage is between 900 to 2000 shekels. Therefore, this medical treatment cost the equivalent of 100 monthly wages from a well-paid Palestinian. Except that other costs also have to be added; a wheelchair is around 7000-12000 shekels. No governmental help is given to cover these expenses.

“The government doesn’t care about disabled people. We are numbers, not humans. Everything is full price, and there are no places for us. I thank god that I have a business. I am sympathizing with other people.”

Articles 55 and 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly establish that Israel, as the occupying power, not only has a duty to ensure medical supplies reach hospitals in the OPT, but to ensure and maintain the services of the hospitals too. As High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, other states not only have a moral duty but also a legal obligation to ensure Israel abides by its commitments to the protected population of the OPT.

UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, As a States Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Israel is obliged under Article 24 of the treaty to recognise the right of every child under its effective jurisdiction “to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services”.

Not only the 7-month old baby, but 173 children died due to lack of a permit:

More Resources or related information:

  • Palestinian deaths following infringement of right to medical treatment – B’ TselemReport
  • 35 babies died at Israeli checkpoints – Report
  • Israel Kills Dialysis in Gaza – 450 Patients Lives Are In DangerReport
  • Dialysis in Paralysis | Electronic IntifadaReport
  • Factsheet on Gazan Children’s Access to Medical Care – Al Mezan | 173 children diedReport
  • UK Diplomat wife dies after forced to renew Jerusalem permitReport
  • 2 Children & Lives of Dozens of Others Endangered Israel’s Infringement of Medical CareReport
  • Infant close 2 death as Israel denies medicationReport
  • Starve Them; Shoot Them then Give Them CancerReport
  • PUT PALESTINIANS ON A DIET – Media Bury documents revealing israel’s deliberate policy of near starvation for GazaReport
  • Israel to Supreme Court to prevent exposure of document containing minimal calorie requirements for Gaza – May1, 2011Report
  • Israel Restricts the Access of Gaza Patients to Urgent Medical Treatment if their Condition is Not Life-Threatening | In violation of Medical Ethics and International Law | Al mezan | June 30, 2010Report
  • Children and Armed Conflict: Developments in the OPT | UN | April 13, 2010Report

Medical care by asked/forced collaboration

  • Palestinians hoping to leave Gaza Strip asked to collaborate with Israel – PHR Isael – Dec 28, 2011Report

Healthcare or neglect of healthcare in Prisons

  • Doctoring the Evidence Abandoning the Victim – Complicty of Israeli physicians in torture – PHRReport


  • Gaza Siege devastates Health care – Jan 2, 2011video
  • Avoidable Death of Pregnant women & their Unborn at Israeli Checkpointsvideo
  • If U have no idea about avoidable mortality by Israel’s deliberate policies: Meet BABY FIRASvideo


  • Arab-Palestinian Citizens of Israel: Discrimination in Access to Health; Lower Health – PHR – Report

While in the horrible holocaust, 1 in 6, so 1 million people died of the Nazi but exactly similar deliberate deprivation, Israel is doing exactly the same to Palestinians. Research (see link below) showed the annual deathrate by violent & passive aggression is about 5000 deaths a year. Called Avoidable mortality or Excess Death.

For the sake of children and ill people in Palestine, share this post as wide as you can and keep sharing it. Health is no choice for many, right to medical care is a Human Right. Infringement of such is a passive form of aggression which policies Israel deliberately deploys with the intention to ethnic cleanse.


Due to unbelievable & increasing shocking news like this, this post will be updated continuously the coming days with related news and more resources. Please keep checking for updates.

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians and their children 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?
How long so the world intervenes in this ongoing warcrime and it will be stopped once and for all?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: