Najwa, a Palestinian woman paralysed in Israel’s assault on Gaza
In the midst of the recent escalation between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization, Najwa Abu Aisha, a 48-year-old Palestinian woman, became a tragic victim of the conflict. The bombing of empty farmland near her home in Gaza resulted in a life-altering incident, leaving her paralyzed and shattering her role as the sole breadwinner for her family of seven. This article sheds light on Najwa’s harrowing experience, her family’s struggle to cope, and their plea for access to medical treatment abroad.
A Life-Changing Moment:
On that fateful day of May 11, Najwa was on the rooftop of her house with her 14-year-old son, innocently checking the water tank. In an instant, an Israeli bomb struck near their home, causing the wall against which Najwa was leaning to crumble. She was thrown from the second-floor rooftop, and the impact of the fall left her paralyzed. Najwa vividly recalls waking up in the hospital, her life forever altered by the cruel consequences of the assault.
The Lingering Trauma:
As Najwa lies in the hospital bed, her son remains traumatized by the bombing and her subsequent fall. Overwhelmed by the memories, he struggles to communicate or engage with others. The family, whispering in Najwa’s presence, refrains from discussing her condition openly, fearing it would cause her further distress. Despite their efforts to maintain normalcy, Najwa tearfully expresses her awareness of her condition, as she cannot feel or move her lower body.
A Contentment in the Face of Pain:
As a devout Muslim woman, Najwa finds solace in accepting her fate, not complaining about what has befallen her. However, beneath her stoic exterior, she carries an immense burden of physical and psychological pain that remains largely unseen. The weight of her words becomes evident as she emphasizes how a single Israeli missile transformed her from an active, independent woman to a disabled and helpless individual.
The Struggles of a Family:
Najwa, a resilient mother of five, had been the family’s sole provider due to her husband’s disability. Before the incident, she worked diligently as a cleaner in a kindergarten for nearly three years, striving to support her family amidst challenging living conditions. Her absence is deeply felt by her loved ones, particularly her youngest child, who is just seven years old. Najwa’s sister, Um Issa, stands faithfully by her side, reflecting on the sudden shock that has disrupted their lives.
The Cry for Help:
Najwa’s husband, Mazen Abu Aisha, visits the hospital regularly, his tears flowing as he struggles to comprehend the magnitude of Najwa’s suffering. Overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, he mourns the burden Najwa carried for him and their children without ever complaining. He questions the reasons behind such injustice befalling their family and the wider community in Gaza.
Limited Options, Fading Hope:
The Gaza Strip, trapped under Israeli siege for more than 15 years, faces severe limitations on imports and freedom of movement. Consequently, the health sector has deteriorated, leaving Najwa with limited medical options for her rehabilitation. Desperate for a chance at recovery, Najwa and her family yearn for the opportunity to receive medical treatment abroad. However, the harsh reality of Israel’s restrictions on the movement of Palestinians remains a significant obstacle to their hopes.
A Longing for Restoration:
In her current state, Najwa’s only aspiration is to obtain treatment abroad that could potentially restore her mobility. She dreams of regaining her ability to walk and resume her role as a dedicated mother and caretaker for her children and family. With the local healthcare system unable to provide the necessary care, the family’s plea for access to international medical assistance becomes a lifeline of hope for Najwa’s future.
Najwa Abu Aisha’s story serves as a painful reminder of the human toll in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her life, once marked by resilience and responsibility, has been irreversibly changed by an indiscriminate bomb. As we reflect on Najwa’s struggle, it is crucial to recognize the urgent need for a lasting resolution to the conflict, allowing individuals like Najwa to receive the medical care they require and offering them a chance at rebuilding their shattered lives.