Affidavit No. 4493/2008

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Ahmad Omar Sa'di al-Sweisi, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 901315069, born on 8 July 1976, a public employee and a resident of al-Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood, Gaza Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am Ahmad ‘Umar Sa'di al-Sweisi, 32 years old, married and father of six children, the eldest of whom is Yaser, 11 years old. On 15 May 2007, during an exchange of gun fire between members of the Fateh and the Hamas movement Yaser sustained a bullet wound as he was standing at the house door. My son Yaser, who is 11 years old, sustained a bullet wound that penetrated through his left shoulder and stayed in his neck. Despite being examined by physicians in Gaza, my son was paralysed.

He is no longer able to move and can only move his head. Doctors decided to transfer Yaser for medical treatment at an Israeli hospital. Having completed necessary transfers, I left with my son Yaser to Soroka Hospital in Israel. On 16 May 2008, Yaser was admitted to Soroka Hospital. After medical examinations were conducted, doctors told me that Yaser suffered from paralysis and a complete failure in the respiratory system and that he should be connected to the artificial respiration device around the clock. Doctors also told me to quickly bring an artificial respiration device to my house as Yaser's health condition needed a long time to improve.

On 1 June 2007, doctors decided that Yaser return to Gaza after his treatment in Soroka Hospital. Immediately after he returned, Yaser stayed at al-Shifa' Hospital. After he had a surgical operation to implant a nutrition tube, he was connected to an artificial respiratory system around the clock. My suffering started with searching for an organisation to donate an artificial respiratory system after the hospital and Ministry of Health refused to give such a device to my son Yaser. Particularly under the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, hospitals needed such equipment.

Then, Yaser's health condition deteriorated. He had an infection in the nutrition tube and stayed in the Intensive Care Unit at al-Shifa' Hospital for three months. Then, doctors decided to transfer him to Elaine Centre for Rehabilitation of the Disabled in Jerusalem. There, he received medical treatment for one month and then returned to Gaza. After he returned, doctors decided to admit him to al-Quds Hospital west of Gaza city. There, he stayed in Intensive Care Unit for eight months. Meanwhile, he was under observation and connected to an artificial respiratory system. During all this time, while Yaser was hospitalised, I underwent great torment. I had to contact all hospitals, societies and sectors inside and outside of the Gaza Strip in order to obtain an artificial respiration device. Following prolonged suffering and assisted by Dr. Feisal Abu-Shahla, a member of the Legislative Council, and Dr. Fathi al-Haj, Director General of Hospitals, a Swiss man donated a device.

After a doctor helped me install the device and taught me how to operate it, I transferred my son Yaser to the house. I and my wife started to take care of Yaser and check his condition around the clock. However, my suffering exacerbated since the Israeli occupying forces have intensified the severe siege on the Gaza Strip and prevented fuel supplies to the electricity generation station. My suffering increased in light of frequent power outages in vast areas of the Gaza Strip. Bear in mind that the devices on which the life of my son depend, are all dependent on electricity. My suffering rose due to the lack of electricity. The electricity is cut off for more than 16 hours everyday, forcing me to conduct a manual respiration for my son in fear for his life. Take into consideration that my son Yaser gets very afraid when the electricity cuts off. "I am afraid to die," he used to repeat whenever electricity disconnected in the house and the electricity-run devices which keep him alive ceased to operate.

Yaser suffers from breathing difficulties whenever artificial respiration is conducted manually. The oxygen which he gets by the manual respiration is double the quantity he usually gets through the electric device. Moreover, he is afraid of the extreme darkness resulting from electricity cuts. Therefore, I use a one kilogramme electricity generator, which I bought at an exorbitant price in fear for my son's life which depends on electricity. However, this did not resolve the problem or stop Yaser's suffering from power outages. The generator only runs for four hours. To operate, it needs diesel, which the occupying authorities have prevented from entering through the Nahal 'Oz Crossing since 5 November 2008. Electricity is the one major component on which my son's life depends.

He suffers from paralysis and a complete failure in his respiratory system. Continued electricity cuts in large areas of the Gaza Strip is a result of the occupying authorities' closure of crossing points as well as denial of industrial fuel supplies to the electricity generation station in Gaza city. Prolonged electricity cuts in my house disrupt the artificial respiratory system, on which my son's life depends. This poses a direct threat to my son’s life, which might end at any moment. My son is an innocent child; he is only 11 years old. His health condition is continuously deteriorating because electricity is cut off and the artificial respiratory system expedient to sustain his life is suspended for a long period of time.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4493/2008
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 25 November 2008
  • Name: Ahmad Omar Sa'di al-Sweisi
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