A Different Kind of Miracle was Here

18/01/2012 Muayad Abu Awwad

 

Thursday the 11th of November 2004, the day of Chairman's Arafat's death. In the occupied territories people mourn and get ready for the funeral. In order to avoid unnecessary clashes, IDF soldiers are given an order to avoid entering city centers. But, as usual, in the daily occurrences in the territories the unavoidable tend to happen, and at times, the results are horrendous.

In 11:30 before noon, a lone jeep enters the center of the village of Beit Omar in the Hebron district. During the same time a symbolic funeral parade is taking place in the village. The presence of the military vehicle entices the spirits, stones are thrown, bullets are fired and two fall down: Jamil Amar, a 19 years old student, is killed on the spot. Muayad Abu Awwad, a 15 years old teenager, falls with his blood flowing from him, hurt by a bullet in his pelvis.

Meanwhile, in Kibbutz Gesher Ha-Ziv, Khaled Abu Awwad- the boy's father- and Boaz Kitain, are in a different place altogether: they are standing before a group of high school students and telling their personal and painful story: An Israeli and a Palestinian appearing jointly, as they are both members of the Bereaved Families Forum for Peace. They both paid the highest price because of the conflict but are talking of reconciliation and of the need to finally bring the circle of the violence to an end. Suddenly in the middle of the lecture, a knock on the door is heard. Boaz is called out side and returns to whisper on Khaled's ear...

... For Khaled this story is not new: in the beginning of the present Intifada, his brother Yussef (age 31 married and a father of 2) was shot and killed after an argument with a soldier in his village, Beit Omar. A few months afterwards, his younger brother Sa'ed (age 14) was shot and killed. Khaled remembers that when Yussef was hurt, he was told that his brother was "only" wounded at his leg. The truth of the death has only been revealed to him after he reached the hospital.

And now the story is repeating itself, although this time it is his own son. Boaz turns to the high school students and says: "we have come to give you hope, but unfortunately it seems we have difficulty with it today". The meeting ends abruptly, Khaled and Boaz turn to leave on their way to the hospital in Jerusalem. But a moment before leaving Khaled stops suddenly and turns to the students and says to them: "listen to me- whatever happens, we mustn't lose hope. We mustn't stray from the road of reconciliation".

Meanwhile, back in the territories things are getting more complicated. Muayad's situation has taken a turn for the worse. His friends have been able to take him to a hospital in Hebron, but there the doctors are unable to treat the wounds given the gravity of the condition and the torn blood vessels.

Meanwhile in the offices of the FF in Ramat Efal, Israel, everybody with influence, everybody who knows someone, who can pick up the phone and persuade someone, are getting together in a singular effort to save the child's life. And they succeed: in joint Israeli and Palestinian efforts, Dr. Omar Alaul of the Palestinian authority and Daly Bassa who is an officer in the Israeli Ministry of Health are organizing the transference to Jerusalem. An IDF ambulance waits for Muayad in Gush Ezyon and on the way to Hadassah hospital, the medics stabilize Muayad's condition, but upon arrival to the hospital's gates, his blood pressure is "0". In the hospital, doctors and two surgeon's teams have been prepared an awaiting Muayad who is rushed to the operating room.

A few minutes later Khaled arrives short of breath and concerned. He is accepted by a dear lady- the head nurse Etti Ben Yaakov. Khaled and his friends are waiting for many hours in and still intense silence. Khaled is chain smoking and pacing up and down the long corridors of the hospital impatiently when time is stretched likes rubber and the tension raises by the minute. Towards midnight, Prof. Barlevski leaves the operating room to talk to Khaled: "If he would have been late in 10 minutes time, he wouldn't be alive. If he would have been late in 5 minutes time, we couldn't rescue the leg." An hour later Khaled enters the emergency ward to have a first look in his son all wrapped in bandages and connected to wires and devices, pale and unconscious but alive.

As the days go by, and the risk lessens, the reception room of the word becomes a place of gathering for relatives and friends of both sides - Israelis and Palestinians- all rush to the hospital in Ein Karem to sit by Khaled and Muayad and to support them in their difficult times. This is going on for many weeks to the amazement of many who visit the hospital and not used to see such good relations between Israelis and Palestinians. As the days go by, Muayad is getting better, he starts wandering up and down the corridors aided by his wheel chair and, later on, on his own.

 

Rami Elhanan
December 2004 

 


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