KateDecember 14, 2018
GAZA CITY, Gaza (AP) 9 Dec by Todd Pitman — Israeli forces deployed along the volatile border with the Gaza Strip have fired live rounds at rock-throwing Palestinian protesters ever since demonstrations against Israel’s long-running blockade of Gaza began in March. And for eight months, Israeli snipers have targeted one part of the body more than any other — the legs. The Israeli army says it is responding to weekly assaults on its frontier by Palestinians armed with stones, grenades and firebombs. The military says it opens fire only as a last resort, and considers firing at the lower limbs an act of restraint. Still, 175 Palestinians have been shot to death, according to an Associated Press count. And the number of wounded has reached colossal proportions. Of the 10,511 protesters treated at hospitals and field clinics in Gaza so far, at least 6,392, or roughly 60 percent, have been struck in the lower limbs, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. At least 5,884 of those casualties were hit by live ammunition; others have been hit by rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters. The upsurge in violence has left a visible mark on Gaza that will likely remain for decades to come. It is now common to see young men walking through dilapidated streets on crutches. Most have legs bandaged or fitted with a metal frame called a fixator, which uses pins or screws that are inserted into fractured bones to help stabilize them….
Gaza City (Asia Times) 12 Dec by Mohammed Dahman — When Palestinian cycling champion Alaa al-Daly rode to the eastern edges of the Gaza Strip earlier this year to join a demonstration against a decade-long Israeli blockade, he had no idea it would end with the loss of his leg and career. The 21-year-old athlete had finished his training early on March 30 and cycled over to join thousands in a march along the Israeli-occupied border zone … Daly says the Israeli authorities on multiple occasions have prevented him from traveling abroad to compete in cycling competitions, and so a central demand of the “Great March of Return” – an end to the blockade – resonated with him. The 2018 Asia Games were coming up in August in Jakarta, and Daly was eager to represent his people. On that first day of the protests, he recounted, “I was on my bike, about 250 meters from the barbed wire, when suddenly a bullet from an Israeli sniper stationed at the border hit my right leg.” The gunshot was only the first shock for Daly. In the span of eight days following the injury, doctors performed eight operations on Daly in an attempt to save his leg. Finally, they found themselves with no choice but to amputate it, shattering the cyclist’s hopes to ever return to his beloved sport, which he had been perfecting since childhood.
The Rachel Corrie Gaza Sport Initiative was held for the fifth time this year for Palestinians with special needs in the besieged Gaza Strip. The table tennis tournament held today was attended by nearly 50 players – both male and female – from a range of clubs. The majority of the players had been injured by Israeli occupation forces. The Rachel Corrie Gaza Sport Initiative is an annual project, consisting of the Rachel Corrie Ramadan Football Tournaments and the Rachel Corrie Tournament for Athletes with Disabilities. The Tournament for Athletes with Disabilities helps connect those with disabilities to the broader Palestinian society, affirms the place of the disabled in Gaza, and provides an avenue of accomplishment and fun in the sphere of athletics.