Qalandiya - a baby with cancer is transferred by back-to-back procedure to hospital
“We’re waiting for a cancer patient from Jenin so we can deliver him to Augusta Victoria Hospital on Mount Scopus, East Jerusalem” said the members of the Jerusalem Red Crescent medical team waiting in their parked ambulance on the roadside of the vehicle checkpoint at Qalandiya.
I waited with them.
We waited for a long time. We spent the time talking about the change of place where patients are transferred between ambulances, about the vaccinations, and more.
But nothing prepared me for the fact that the cancer patient we were waiting for was an 11-month-old baby.
Porath, ill with cancer, was taken out of the ambulance in his mother’s arms, his scrawny arm pierced by a plastic tube where the IV would enter his body.
Back-to-back procedure (between ambulances) took place by the book. There was no transgression or harassment that is not written in the procedure book.
Present were the two medical teams – one from Jenin and one from East Jerusalem, the two ambulances, two stretchers, soldiers and security guards, guns, and in the midst of all of these – a sick baby and his mom.
The procedure of baggage inspection was also followed to a T. The mother had to hand Porath over to a member of the medical team and present the content of her bags to a soldier. For who knows what a woman might smuggle in her bag, when fate has given her the blow and she is on her way to be with her sick child in his hospital bed…
There was nothing left for me but to answer the man and myself that nothing changes, nothings helps and that with the years, despair just gets deeper and the situation worse.
I do not accuse the occupation mechanism and its regulations of Porath’s cancer. The illness is a blow of fate. The occupation regulations are guilty of forcibly detaching the baby and his mother from the city that is the center of their lives, from the rest of the family and especially the father who is left behind with his concern and longing - since that father is attributed to a sector considered dangerous by those who set the policy for transit permits, he is excluded from caring for his ill child.
Furthermore – in spite of the existence of hospitals in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and in spite of their dedicated medical teams, the Civil Administration prevents passing on equipment vital for radiation treatments, and forces Porath and other patients like him to receive life-sustaining treatments in East Jerusalem.
Further along the way, beyond the apartheid wall, opposite the refugee camp, a taxi driver said to me that he has seen me come there for years now, taking pictures, asking questions, listening, and saying that I write about the occupation. “But does any of this help? Is something changing around here?”