A newborn is cared for at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. International human rights groups have warned of a collapse in the health care system due to an Israeli blockade [GETTY]


In two weeks, my wife will bring our child into the world.

 

The unborn baby is happy now, nestled within its mother's womb and somewhat protected from the violence and suffering that exists in Gaza.

 

I am naturally worried for mother and child. When she delivered our last child, my wife developed several medical complications.

 

Due to the blockade on Gaza, such complications can no longer be treated in local hospitals and medical facilities.

 

If my wife were to have an acute problem during natural birth there would be no medication or treatment available, putting her and the unborn at considerable risk.

 

In light of this, we decided a while back that she would have a Caesarean-section rather than natural child birth. C-sections, at least, are available in Gaza.

 

Define 'Palestinian'

 

I asked myself the other day, when our child is finally born, what will the hospital records read; height, weight, Muslim, and Palestinian? What does Palestinian mean now? It means no clean water, no security, no freedom of movement and no certainty.

 

As a father, I will try my best to guarantee a future for my child. But in Gaza, there is uncertainty not only for my family but for the 1.5 million people that live here.

 

We have no petrol to put in our cars. Though I have managed so far I will now have to convert my car to run on domestic gas so that I can take my wife to the hospital. This is dangerous but most Gazans have to do this because of the lack of delivered fuel supplies.

 

Lack of fuel is severely affecting hospitals in particular. Many doctors and nurses can no longer get to work and ambulances have no fuel to reach the sick and injured.

 

Return from Egypt

 

I recently spoke to a friend I have not seen in some time.

 

I was pleased to hear the excitement in his voice when he phoned. He has resumed planning his wedding which he was forced to earlier postpone when his brother was badly injured during internal Palestinian clashes.

 

As there were no adequate medical services in Gaza, my friend had to move his brother to Egypt for treatment.

 

But due to the border closures at Rafah, both he and his brother were stuck in Egypt.

 

Nine months later, when the Egyptian border at Rafah was breached his brother had a difficult choice to make - go back to Gaza or continue treatment that would enable him to walk again. 

 

They came back to Gaza, fearing that they could lose their only opportunity to return to friends and family. His brother cannot walk because of the bullets still lodged in his leg and there is no treatment for him here. He spends most of his day lying in bed.

 

But my friend is now reunited with his fiancé and wedding preparations are again in full swing. We went shopping for his wedding outfit yesterday. Hours were spent looking in shops which were nearly emptied of their wares because of the blockade on Gaza. When he finally found what he needed it proved to be rather costly.

 

The shop owner sounded an ominous warning: "Do not keep searching for things, you will not find anything in Gaza."

 

"Keep the clothes that you now have for a long time and take care of them," he said.

 

Oxfam GB

Source: Al Jazeera