Gaza City, Gaza Strip
Giclée print on Hahnemühle photo rag paper
60 x 42 cm
5/5 edition (+ AP)
A Gazan man sits outside the ruins of Al Wafa Rehabilitation hospital in the neighbourhood of Shujaiyya, Gaza City.
The hospital and most of Shujaiyya was completely destroyed during the Israeli military attacks of 'Operation Protective Edge' in July/August 2014. The hospital was attacked multiple times on July 11, 15, 17 and 23 before being destroyed. Staff would often receive prerecorded messages in phone calls by the Israeli Defence Forces warning of the imminent attacks. The Israeli government and military have accused Hamas of using the hospital as a military headquarters and a site for launching missile attacks.Staff had evacuated all patients, but the attack on the hospital, which is the only rehabilitation centre in Gaza, is estimated to have destroyed $15 million worth of medical equipment. Much of this equipment is specialised and available nowhere else in the Gaza Strip.
In January 2015, I was able to visit the new al Wafa facility, South of Gaza City. I noticed cement from Israeli cement companies was being used in the ongoing constructions there. It appeared as if the Israeli government was destroying Gaza and Israeli companies were in a prime position to cash in on reconstruction.
At this new hospital I also met Hamad Rifi. Only 8 years old, Hamad's home was destroyed during 'Operation Protective Edge' with most of his family killed in the strike. Hamad had been buried alive long enough to cause brain damage which led to paralysis and the inability to breath without the help of a machine. His mother survived the attack but lost both legs and could not visit him in hospital. Doctors said his prognosis wasn't good and the care was considered palliative.
Hamad is one of the reasons I am holding this exhibition.