Qalandiya Stories: Being a Premature Baby in Palestine

Mustafa's premature son lies alone in Al Muqassad Hospital in East Jerusalem. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Tamar Fleishman

For hours, Mustafa was stuck at the Israeli military checkpoint, waiting for the bureaucratic procedures to be finalized. Only a few steps and he will cross the checkpoint to continue on his way to see his newborn son, who lies alone in Al Muqassad Hospital in East Jerusalem.

Mustafa’s son is a premature, 18-day-old baby. He does not realize that he is alone and he does not know when his parents will come to sit beside him, caress and care for him.

The Israeli officials did not allow his father to cross the checkpoint, but Mustafa refused to go back. Instead, he stood there and waited.  

From time to time, he would look at his cell phone screen, at his son’s pictures. He showed them to me and he also allowed me to take a photo. 

A Red Crescent medical team member told me that bureaucratic procedures to cross Israeli military checkpoints have become much tighter over the last month. 

What I see, however, is not a security threat, but just a father eager to reach his newborn baby at the hospital.

(Translated by Tal Haran. Edited by Romana Rubeo)

– As a member of Machsomwatch, Tamar Fleishman documents events at Israeli military checkpoints between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Her reports, photos and videos can be found on the organization’s website: She is also a member of the ‘Coalition of Women for Peace’ and a volunteer in ‘Breaking the Silence’. Tamar Fleishman is The Palestine Chronicle correspondent at the Qalandiya checkpoint.


(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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