‘This is for Palestine’, says mum who gave birth through smuggled sperm

Huriye, 4-year-old, daughter of Suhad and Sameer Abu FayedBy Rebecca Stead / Wafa Ali 

In 2014, Suhad Abu Fayed gave birth to her daughter Huriye, a bright-eyed child with a mop of curly hair. When Suhad took Huriye to see her father, Sameer, for the first time, the Israeli guards at the prison where he is detained looked puzzled. “Who is this girl?” they asked. “How can this be your daughter when your husband is here, inside?”

“I replied that I had thought I was infertile,” Suhad recalls. “I told them I had samples from my husband from before he was imprisoned, and when I was treated I used them to get pregnant.”

In fact, Suhad gave birth to Huriye through sperm smuggled from her husband while he was in prison. Her story, though rare, is not unheard of, and is a testament to the lengths to which Palestinian families are forced to go in pursuit of a normal life under Israel’s now 52-year-old occupation.

“My husband was affiliated with Shuhadaa Al-Aqsa Brigades when the Second Intifada started,” Suhad tells MEMO, referring to the popular uprising in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) from 2000 to 2005. “He was hunted by the [Israeli] occupation for his activities and was captured in 2002. He was sentenced to 18 years.”

“When Sameer went to prison I already had three children: four-year-old Nabeel, three-year-old Nibal and five-month-old Manar.”

“I was banned from visiting him and rarely got a permit to go, perhaps once a year maximum,” she says, adding that it was Sameer who first came up with the idea of conceiving a child through smuggled sperm.

“The first Palestinian child born this way was Muhanned, the son of prisoner Abelkareem Al-Rimawi who was sentenced to 25 years in the Israeli occupation jails,” Suhad recalls. “My husband saw the news about their experience and called to tell me about it. He said he wished to have a child the same way.”

READ: Palestinian prisoner has a baby through smuggled sperm

Asked how she felt about the idea, Suhad remembers being enthusiastic. “I had never met any mothers who had done it. Yet when he asked me if I liked the idea, I was thrilled, I welcomed it; I love having kids, its part of who I am. And thank god, we were blessed that we had Huriye.”

Huriye – whose name means “freedom” in Arabic – is now four years old. Although Suhad had to undergo months of IVF treatment and follow strict procedures, under which the sperm samples can only be smuggled to hospital by a family member, she believes the difficulties were worthwhile.

“Subhanallah [glory be to God] once I had Huriye inside me, she changed me. She gave me self-esteem. I had neglected myself for so long,” Suhad goes on, “my kids were my priority. I forgot about self-care for 12 years, I was just counting days. But that changed once Huriye lightened my life.”

“My kids love her more than anything else,” she says fondly. “Of course, she changed the shape of our life; my youngest daughter, who is now 17, was always the spoiled one. She had always been the centre of attention, but Huriye stole that from her. Everyone in the family wants to see Huriye and spend time with her; she is given all the love possible.”

Giving birth to Huriye so long after her other children also taught Suhad about herself: “She showed me my patience, and showed me how this patience can pay off. Of course, she can be naughty some days, like any child her age, but my patience paid off with the kindness she gives me.”

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“I learned from Huriye that I am a resilient and strong person. She’s the one that gave me courage after I challenged the whole world to give birth to her.”

Huriye, 4-year-old, daughter of Suhad and Sameer Abu Fayed

Asked why she thinks others have followed her lead, Suhad explains that many see the procedure as a way to circumvent the paralysing restrictions imposed by Israel’s occupation.

“It’s overbearing to live under occupation,” she says. “I have been targeted by the occupation in so many ways; they refuse to give me a permit to visit my husband, the only time in my life they gave me a long term permit was to blackmail me: they held me in custody for 24 hours, then they revoked my permit and even my Palestinian ID card.”

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“They don’t like us to feel confident and do things that challenge them,” she continues, “but no matter how much we are happy to have succeeded in having Huriye, against all the odds, everything reminds us of the bitterness and heartache that comes with the prisoners’ experience.”

This is for Palestine, it’s for the prisoner who lost his freedom for the sake of Palestine. It’s like bringing life to a dead soul.

Yet with her husband having only one year left to serve, Suhad is now beginning to think about the future.

“My husband’s parents both died while he was in jail,” she laments. “They lived their lives wishing to be able to celebrate his freedom; they kept talking about how they planned to celebrate. I think even on the day he is released, there will still be some feelings of bitterness and heartbreak.”

Huriye, 4-year-old, daughter of Suhad and Sameer Abu Fayed 

Yet Suhad is also hopeful. “Huriye remembers that his sentence will end next year,” she tells MEMO. “I think she is smarter than a normal child her age; she was only two years old when she started recognising her father’s picture around the house, and she knows his voice over the phone.”

“I also really wish to have a new son, a brother for my son,” she says wistfully. “I pray and ask God to be able to get pregnant again. When my husband’s sentence is finished, I will be 40 years and eight days old. But I love having kids! This is common among most Palestinian women, so I hope I too can have another child.”

READ: Israel imprisons Jerusalemites for attending freed prisoner’s wedding

(Source / 05.06.2019) 

Israeli report warns of ‘environmental implications’ of Gaza crisis

Israelis complain that sewage from the Gaza Strip is polluting their water. Photo of the sewage problem in Gaza.

Israelis complain that sewage from the Gaza Strip is polluting their water. Photo of the sewage problem in Gaza

A report prepared by Israeli experts has warned that “the collapsing water, sewage and electricity infrastructure in the Gaza Strip pose material danger to Israel’s groundwater, seawater, beaches and desalination plants”, reported Haaretz.

The study was prepared by scholars from Ben-Gurion University and Tel Aviv University for the environmental organisation EcoPeace Middle East, and was presented Monday at the annual Conference of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians and Schools of Public Health.

One upshot of the reduced electricity supply to the blockaded territory “is that sewage plants aren’t operational and thus 70 percent of Gaza’s untreated sewage goes straight into the sea”.

READ: US study examines Israel’s ‘targeting’ of Palestinian agricultural, water and energy infrastructures

In addition, “Gaza is also over utilising its aquifers and consequently, most of the underground water is already contaminated. By next year zero percent of the Gazan groundwater will be fit for human use, according to standards of the World Health Organisation”, Haaretz added.

The report authors say “sewage dumping already caused Israel’s desalination plant in Ashkelon to shut down three years ago”, while “dumping in Gaza can increase bacterial concentrations as far north as Ashdod”. In addition, “sewage contamination also endangers an important source of groundwater for Israel southeast of Ashkelon”.

According to Haaretz, “Israel, until now, had been able to mitigate the effect of the environmental pollution from Gaza on Israel itself, by monitoring the quality of the seawater and closing down the Ashdod desalination plant if necessary”.

However, “the more the population in Gaza grows, and with it, the quantity of sewage, the greater the danger that sustained damage will be caused to the beaches and the groundwater in Israel”.

(Source / 05.06.2019) 

Israel delays auction of Palestinian classrooms donated by EU

Palestinian students attend activities during a summer camp, organized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) at Zaitoun School in Gaza City, Gaza on 18 July, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian students attend activities during a summer camp in Gaza City, Gaza on 18 July, 2017

Israeli occupation authorities have postponed the public auction of prefab classrooms donated by the European Union (EU) to Palestinians, reported Haaretz.

The classrooms, as well as other equipment, were confiscated on the grounds they had been erected ‘illegally’. Israel routinely denies Palestinians in ‘Area C’ of the West Bank permission to build.

According to Haaretz, the one-month postponement of the auction came after the EU “rejected a deal whereby the structures would be returned to the Europeans in return for their commitment not to restore them to the West Bank without proper building and planning authorization”.

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Israeli officials reportedly hope “the postponement will allow time for Israel and the EU to negotiate a solution and head off further deterioration in diplomatic relations between the two sides”.

The structures in question were dismantled and confiscated by Israeli occupation forces and officials in October and November 2018, including two prefabricated buildings used as classrooms for 49 Palestinian schoolchildren in Ibziq near Nablus.

The paper noted that Israeli occupation officials “routinely auctions off items that have been seized after 90 days”, adding that EU sources are reportedly “concerned that the structures in question might be sold to settlers if auctioned”.

An Israeli defence ministry spokesperson “said the postponement was made for ‘technical’ reasons and was not related to pressure from the EU”.

OPINION: The education of Palestinian children is an act of resistance

The EU said that “the direct financial injury to donors caused by these seizures amounts to 15,320 euros”, while the EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah called on Israeli authorities to “return the confiscated items to their intended beneficiaries without precondition as soon as possible”.

The EU noted that its position on Area C is clear: “It is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and part of any viable future Palestinian state. All EU activity in the West Bank is fully in line with international humanitarian law”.

***#ChildrensDay in the #oPt***

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(Source /  05.06.2019) 

Army Injures One Palestinian In Al-‘Arroub Refugee Camp, North Of Hebron

05 JUN1:47 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday evening, the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and shot one Palestinian.

Media sources said several army jeeps invaded the refugee camp, and resorted to the excessive use of force against Palestinian youngsters, protesting the invasion.

They added that the soldiers fired several live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at the protesters and surrounding areas.

One Palestinian was injured by fragments from live rounds in his arm and shoulder, before he was moved to the Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, suffering mild wounds, while several others were treated for the effects of teargas inhalation.

(Source / 05.06.2019) 

Soldiers Abduct One Palestinian, Injure Many, In Beit Ummar

05 JUN2:41 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday evening, Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, before storming and ransacking many homes, and abducted one Palestinian, in addition to wounding many others during ensuing protests.

Several army jeeps invaded Beit Ummar, before the soldiers initiated violent searches of homes, leading to protests.

Local media activist Mohammad Awad, said the soldiers fired many gas bombs, especially in the area around Beit Ummar al-Kabeer Mosque, causing scores of Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

He added that the soldiers also abducted a college student, identified as Karam Yousef Ekhlayyel, 19, from his home, and summoned Fathi Shehda Sleibi, 20, for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center, north of Hebron.

In related news, the soldiers invaded the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and shot one Palestinian.

(Source / 05.06.2019) 

Illegal Colonists Burn Palestinian Farmlands Near Nablus

05 JUN11:44 AM

Several illegal Israeli colonists invaded, Wednesday, Palestinian farmlands in Jaloud village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and set them ablaze.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s colonialist activities in northern West Bank, and burnt large areas of olive orchards, and in addition to other trees and plants.

Daghlas added that the assailants came from ‘Adei Ad and Ahiya colonies, which were built on illegally confiscated Palestinian lands, south of Nablus.

In related news, many illegal colonists invaded the archeological area in Sebastia Palestinian town, north of Nablus, before the soldiers forced the Palestinians away.

(Source / 05.06.2019)