(Xinhua) – Um Hamza, a 22-year-old pregnant woman, from Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip, woke up at night numerous times during the 22-day Israeli war which ended on Jan. 18, sniffing the smell of gas.
Several weeks later she started experiencing terrible pain in the abdomen. Although she had been pregnant for two months then, it was impossible for her to conduct necessary tests as the hospitals were overwhelmed by injured people of Israeli bombardments.
The pain continued for a couple of months before she was finally able to get the medical checkup, and the results left her shocked and speechless. The child she was carrying suffered from malformation and may die either inside her womb or shortly after birth.
The baby came to this world while his brain hung out of his head like a bag of skin covering his eyes, therefore, the baby will never experience sight. Meanwhile, he could not breathe either because of the malformation in his nose as it appears clogged.
The baby’s grandfather, who knew about his grandson’s malformation two months after he was born, said he wished Hamza had died before birth so he could escape the torture, no matter how long.
Um Hamza said she hopes her son would receive treatment abroad, as technology in foreign countries is more advanced, though the chances of recovery is slim.
Since the Israeli Operation Cast Lead last winter, the besieged Gaza Strip saw an increase in the proportion of fetus and newborns malformations.
Thabet Masri, director of neonatal division in the community of medical healing, told Xinhua that from July to September, the rate of children born with different congenital deformities was 17 per month, compared with nine per month over the same period of 2008.
He said the increase of fetal deformity cases is related to the radioactive and toxic materials resulting from Israel’s use of prohibited weapons.
Although fetus malformation was caused by several reasons, we should not ignore the impact of toxic substances and chemicals, especially the white phosphorus, which Israel used in a disproportional way during the war, and white phosphorus is prohibited to use in places of civilians, said the doctor.
White phosphorus bombs are internationally considered dangerous in terms of its impact on respiratory system.
Doctors at the incubation department in the Shifa Hospital said exposure to toxic chemicals and radioactive substances primarily lead to fetal malformations in the first months of pregnancy when the neural tube is formed.
Italian scientists said this month that The Gaza Strip’s soil contains poisonous and cancer-causing materials after collecting soil samples from several areas bombed during the war.