***image1*** Mohamed Hashem, a two year old child from the village of Ras Atieh south of Qalqiliya died Sunday, February 8, 2004 as his family, imprisoned behind the Apartheid Wall, was not able to reach emergency medical attention. Early Sunday morning the child began feeling sick and quickly developed a high fever. The parents brought the child to the local doctor in Habla who determined that the boy should to be taken to the hospital immediately. As there is no hospital in the village, the father decided to take the child to Qalqiliya, however, the Apartheid Wall’s gate between Habla and Qalqiliya was closed, and there were no soldiers present to open it. The family was then forced to travel around to Azzun, where an ambulance was waiting to take the child to Qalqilyia. This hopeless journey took more than an hour. During this time the child’s situation became critical, and he died in the ambulance.
The villages of Ras Atieh and Habla are sealed into a ghetto by the Apartheid Wall, completely separated from the city of Qalqiliya where basic and critical services, including hospitals, are located. With the Wall “completed” around the two villages, all residents are now forced to travel an extra 30 km to reach Qalqiliya instead of a mere three km, the actual distance between them and the city.
The incident report from the Al- Aqsa Hospital in Qalqilya states:
“The patient was living in Ras Atieh, a village close to Qalqiliya of about 3 kms. We received him dead. He was suffering from high fever, and convulsion. He was only able to reach the hospital after one and half hours. He had to travel about 30 kms around his village to be able to reach the ambulance at Azzoun village. Sadly, this was too late to rescue him and he died.”
There are, as the Apartheid Wall wickedly accelerates through the West Bank, increasing and alarming realities of residents being unable to pass to hospitalsâ the gates are increasingly being locked on Palestinians, making clear that they will either struggle each day of their lives behind the Wall, facing death as this young martyr, or be forced to leave their land and homes. In mid-December closure on the village Deir Ballut, where the Apartheid Wall will soon tear through, caused the death of two newborn twins.