Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Canadian Mum seeks gov't help to bring 8-year-old daughter home from Gaza

A mother from southern Ontario is pleading with the Canadian government to help bring her eight-year-old daughter home from Gaza after the little girl visited the war-torn region with her father.

Wesam Abuzaiter says her daughter Salma travelled to Gaza with her father Hassan in June, shortly before the Israeli government launched a major military offensive in the region.

Abuzaiter’s husband, a local paediatrician, was visiting Gaza to renew his medical license and decided to bring Salma along to visit family. He now works 24-hour shifts at a Gaza emergency room, helping children wounded in the daily attacks.

Abuzaiter says that for the time being, Salma is living with her grandmother who is keeping her sheltered from the events unfolding outside.

“She is trying to block everything, like you know all the bad news, all the scenes. Even when she is hearing you know bombardment and she is questioning it, they tell her ‘Oh, this is fireworks just to celebrate that you are in Gaza’ and she is believing it,”

Abuzaiter, who lives in Brantford, Ont., says her husband is reluctant to return home because he wants to offer his medical expertise to help treat Palestinian civilians suffering in Gaza.

“He told me ‘I do understand it’s our daughter but you have to understand that there are so many kids the same age as her that are needing me here and honestly, if I leave at this time, I’m not going to survive,’” Abuzaiter said.

She says Canadian officials have offered to transport Salma out of Gaza City to Jordan but have noted that the child would need to travel alone. She says she has also tried booking Salma a flight out of the region but the airline said Salma could not fly unaccompanied.

Salma’s uncle has offered to escort the little girl to neighboring Egypt, but would require government assistance to cross the border.

Abuzaiter says she just want the Canadian government to offer some sort of support to her and her family.

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