March 6, 2010
New birth defects seen in Gaza due to Israeli weapons
By Eman Jomaa
An increase in birth defects among newborns in the Gaza Strip -- first documented in the Palestine Telegraph -- has become apparent, despite claims to the contrary by some doctors at Al-Shifa Hospital. Pregnant women say they are living in constant fear.
Noha Abu Laban, 37, a resident of Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip, is in her final month of pregnancy and says: “In the war, I inhaled the smoke of white phosphorus, which was fired on the roof of our house. I have been feeling sick since my pregnancy, and have had heavy bleeding.” Noha is currently being treated in the High-Risk Pregnancy Care Unit at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Alaa Al-Tunp, a 25-year-old resident in the Al-Tofah neighborhood, says: “When I heard the stories of deformed fetuses, I became so worried, especially since I miscarried once before, during the war, when I was in my third month of pregnancy. I had inhaled the smoke of the white phosphorus. There are many pregnant women here in the High-Risk Pregnancy Care Unit who had the same experience.” Alaa says she is very worried that she will miscarry once again, or that her baby will be deformed.
More than 20 pregnant women interviewed at the High-Risk Pregnancy Care Unit at Al-Shifa reported suffering intermittent bleeding.
Ahlam, a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, indicated that there have been many infants with birth defects, and some die after just a week. Most of the newborns in this condition are not named, since it is believed they will not survive. One of the babies, for example, suffers from deformities in which his head is twice the size of his body, his skin is wrinkled and covered with thick hair, and his respiratory system struggles to function.
Dr. Jehad Hisain, who works at the neonatal intensive care unit at Al-Shifa Hospital, confirmed that these deformities are increasing, adding that the parents often do not visit them in the unit for months, since death is their babies' anticipated fate.
Experts regard the most recent birth defect in Gaza as a result of the last one sided war launched by Israel. The Israeli war “massacre” claimed the lives of thousands while DU weapons and white phosphorous targeted only areas populated by civilians in Gaza.
Mads Gilbert , a Norwegian doctor who worked in Gaza in time of war, revealed that Israel used new close-range explosive (DIME) shells that cause severe injuries and battlefield amputations on the civilians being struck by these weapons.
Previous report of the Palestine Telegraph documented birth defect cases that give strong proofs, that Israel has used such weapons.
(Source: Palestine Telegraph)