Swimming In Gaza: Do I Dare? – OpEd


By Eyad Sarraj

Yesterday, my six year old son Ali went to his swimming hour after school in Wafa hospital for the elderly in the eastern part of the town. It contains the only heated and covered swimming pool in Gaza.

Ali must swim as often as possible by doctors orders because of what is called ‘Perth’s disease ‘ which affects his pelvis joints. So he goes to the pool every day. His doctors are confident that as long as he gets his exercise there will be a spontaneous recovery and no further specific treatment is needed. I was told that Messi, the famous football player, also had this ailment.

Suddenly we heard an explosion from afar. I was getting a little worried. Ali must have arrived to the pool, I told myself. Then Hammam, my assistant, rushed in and announced that two people were killed by an Israeli missile. He said that the attack was in the middle of ‘Omar Mokhtar,’ the main street of Gaza.

I was very worried and started to call everywhere. Ali and his coach were in the water and there was no answer. I learned the names of the people who were killed – Israel later claimed they were ‘thinking’ of attacking Israel!

It was lucky that there were no other victims in the usually busy street. Sometimes Israeli missiles are not always precisely guided. Time and time again they deliberately or mistakenly err, such as when they destroyed seventeen houses surrounding the house of the presumed target, Khalil Shihada. During the last war on Gaza there were reports that the Israeli military actually targeted civilians. And they even killed each other with friendly fire!

As if to make the point, Israeli drones or F16s launched another missile attack early this morning killing one man and injuring some seven children. While I am writing this, I heard some explosions.

Where is Israel heading? What is it trying to achieve? Is it provoking retaliation by some Palestinian fighters in order to justify a new war on Gaza? Is it trying to sabotage the reconciliation efforts of the Egyptian government that is pushing Hamas and Fatah to negotiate? Is intending to occupy the Philadelphia road running along the border that divides the Gaza Strip from Egypt in order to turn the Gaza Strip into a prison cut off from the world? Does it bomb Gaza in order to prepare for an onslaught on Iran?

And do I dare to send Ali to swim tomorrow?

– Eyad El Sarraj is a Palestinian psychiatrist from Gaza. He is a recipient of the Physicians for Human Rights Awards. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Palestine Chronicle

The Palestine Chronicle publishes news and commentary related to the Middle East Peace Conflict.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *