Saturday, 27 February 2016

Cut off from PA aid, relatives of slain in Gaza face destitution

Hanadi al-Qayid looked tired.

The 45-year-old lost two of her children when fighter jets shelled her home in the central Gaza Strip city of Deir al-Balah during Israel’s assault in the summer of 2014.

Now she attends a regular sit-in demonstration outside a branch of the Palestinian Authority office responsible for the welfare of the families of the dead and wounded. Relatives of the martyrs, are they are known, gather weekly in Gaza City to protest the decision to suspend the payment of allowances to families of the those slain by Israel in 2014.

“Officials tend to say that it is a great honor for them to serve the families of martyrs. But we have become beggars due to these offensive practices,” al-Qayid told The Electronic Intifada. Walaa, 15, and Ahmad, 12, were not the first of al-Qayid’s children to lose their lives to the Israeli military. In 2003, their oldest brother, Mahmoud, was shot and killed by the army and as if that wasn’t enough, her husband, Said, suffered a heart attack five months ago and had to undergo urgent surgery to save his life, surgery the family needed to borrow money to pay for.

“I’ve found myself alone in consecutive ordeals,” she said, another reason her anger at the PA is so acute. “I am really upset. I have no option but to take to the streets to demand that the PA pay our allowances so we can meet the basic needs for our surviving family.”

Al-Qayid remains optimistic that the sit-in will eventually bear fruit. But she has been protesting for a year and a half and still there has been no change of heart by the West Bank-controlled PA. Indeed, the 2016 budget was passed without any resolution to the issue. more


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