Sunday, December 24, 2006

Palestinian Women Pay Health Toll at Checkpoints

Palestinian Women Pay Health Toll at Checkpoints
By Brenda GazzarWeNews correspondent

In the past six years, at least four pregnant women and 34 newborns have died after mothers were delayed at Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza. Volunteers and aid groups are working to ease access restrictions.

SHEIKH SA'AD, West Bank (WOMENSENEWS)--At the entrance of this small village near Jerusalem, Palestinian grandmother Khadijeh Musa Alaan was told at an Israeli checkpoint that she could not leave to visit her daughter in a nearby village.Two Israeli volunteers, Laura Sznajder and Tamar Bilu, politely tried to persuade an Israeli army official to let the 59-year-old woman pass on that hot August afternoon. He refused. Alaan, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank, did not have a temporary permit from the district commander's office, he said. She was also turned back at the checkpoint in July while trying to visit a doctor for treatment of her diabetes, she says. Alaan is just one of many women whose health and safety have been placed in jeopardy as a result of Israel's nearly 40-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and increasingly restrictive security measures.

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