THE AUSTRALIAN: “Gaza boy’s home is Israeli hospital” 7May13 May 7, 2013

The Australian    -    7 May 2013

309236-130507-mohammed-al-farraIN 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 had to be amputated due to complications from his condition, and the three-year-old carts about in a red wheelchair.

His parents have abandoned him, and the Palestinian government refuses to pay for his care. He lives at the hospital with his grandfather, Hamouda al-Farra, 55. “There’s no care for this child in Gaza; there’s no home in Gaza where he can live,” said Mr Farra at the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan.

“He can’t open anything by himself; he can’t eat or take down his pants. His life is zero without help.”

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

It 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.

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