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The plight of Palestinian woman blinded by occupation forces

Ayat Mahfouz, 22, is a Palestinian woman from the West Bank city of Hebron. She has lived with the fear of blindness since she was aged two. In the early 1990s, Israeli soldiers fired a gas canister into her home, which caused her to fall down the stairs and lose her right eye.

With weak sight in the left eye and complete blindness with the right eye, Ayat was forced to live in a world of darkness. As time passed, she became desperate to be cured as vision in her left eye became increasingly worse.

Recently, she has stopped seeking treatment and gave up all hope to be cured after it seemed that her recovery was no more than a dream. The pressures of life forced her to become suicidal and contemplate revenge against the Israeli occupation forces, which caused her misery.

In the last two years, Ayat carried out two failed attempts to stab Israeli soldiers. On the first occasion she was detained for 40 days; the second attempt led to her detention for 10 months.

After being subjected to maltreatment at the hands of her Israeli jailers, Ayat lost all hope of a better life and was soon plunged into a state of complete blindness while in prison.

Ayat's mother said that her daughter's sole solution to regain any hope in life is a surgical operation to replace the retina of her left eye in order to regain her sight and the implanting of an artificial right eye to improve her facial appearance.

Her mother said that if she looked at the mirror and saw herself beautiful, she might feel much better and become more disposed to adopting to her surroundings instead of contemplating taking her own life or seeking revenge.

This story is a condensed version of a feature published by Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper, 7 June, 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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