Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Patients caught up in middle of Fatah and Hamas tug of war

Contributed by Lucia

One of the few journalists in Gaza reports on the Fatah-imposed doctors' strike in force last month for a series of exclusive Guardian films

Clancy Chassay in Gaza City
Wednesday October 24, 2007
The Guardian

".....Following Hamas's takeover of the Gaza strip in June, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah in the West Bank severed contact with Hamas and ordered government employees not to work under the new Gaza government. All medical workers were ordered to go home at 11am or have their salaries cut.

Outside the hospital, a group of angry patients hurled abuse at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "We came here on Saturday and Sunday and on Tuesday, and nothing. It's Abu Mazen's [Mr Abbas's] decision, he wants to humiliate Gaza," said one woman.

Her friend, who had brought her small child in for treatment, erupted in anger at Mr Abbas. "He destroyed the country and brought misery on the people. He is no match for Hamas. I wouldn't hire him as a street sweeper, he destroyed the people. These children need treatment, what have they done to deserve this?"

As the women walked away, two men and a small child lingered, uncertain whether to wait or give up and leave the hospital. "We've come here to treat my little boy but our trip has been wasted. He needs an operation," said Marwan, holding his son's hand. "Why is the government punishing the doctors? There is chaos in the city."

Later that day, rows of doctors and medical workers in white coats marched through the streets of Gaza City with banners protesting at the strike order from Ramallah. Among them were Hamas supporters, independents - and even some who said they supported Fatah but were against the strike order........"

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