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Tuesday, August 30, 2005 

Deadly Israeli hypocrisy.

This is a really horrible case that exposes the Israelis not only as hypocrites, but as hypocrites that are prepared to let a child with cancer die.

The electricity pylons that could mean the difference between life and death for Ennas al-Atrash are dotted a few hundred yards from the little girl's village in Israel's Negev desert.

But the residents of Sawa are Bedouin Arabs whose village is deemed "unrecognised" by the state, and so they are deprived of the basic services that Ennas's doctors say are essential if the frail three-year-old is to have a chance of survival.

Ennas was diagnosed with cancer in her chest cavity in January and subjected to weeks of chemotherapy and two operations. She was sent home to recover with a daily injection of medicine to boost her collapsed immune system. The drug has to be stored at a steady temperature between zero degrees and 4C (32F-39F).

But the Atrash family has no reliable means to do so because the Israeli government refuses to allow 80,000 Bedouin Arabs to be connected to the power, water or sewerage infrastructure on the grounds that their villages are illegal - even though many have stood since before the modern Israeli state existed.

It has made no difference that Ennas's father, Yusuf, is a doctor in Israel's state health system who treats other, more fortunate, children while his own daughter's health is hostage to politics.

"We put her drugs into a plastic bag and pack it with ice cubes to try to keep it cool. We're not sure it keeps it the right temperature," he said.

Last week, Ennas, who has lost her hair and is said by her mother to be terrified of going to hospital, fell victim to secondary infections and underwent another operation. The doctors say she needs radiotherapy and more drugs to boost her immune system. But the family still has no proper refrigeration.

The Atrash family shares a generator with four other homes, but the cost of running it constantly is so high - about £900 a month, which is the average monthly wage in Israel - that it is turned on for only four hours each evening.

The family says its last hope is a petition to Israel's highest court to be heard on Thursday.

Dr Atrash spent months pleading with government departments. Officials said they were constrained by the law, although this has not stopped the infrastructure ministry from providing power, water and roads to Jewish outposts in the West Bank which are also regarded as illegal.

The Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal. According to Israel, the Bedouin Arabs village is also illegal. The difference is that the Arabs aren't the right religion or the right colour. It's ok if their children die, while Jewish settlers were shown being cradled by IDF soldiers, their bodies spasming with emotion and misery as they were evacuated from the Gaza strip, recorded as a part of Israel dying. If Israel still has any compassion for anyone apart from its own population, it will let the little girl's family have power.

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