15-year-old Swedish girl dying in Gaza

15-year-old Swede Miriam Nowajha will soon slip into a coma. Miriam, who together with her four siblings aged 6-16 was kidnapped and has been incarcerated in Gaza since June, suffers from Type 1 diabetes and is about to die.

Miriam has no more facilities for testing her blood-sugar level. Without knowing her blood-sugar level, she does not dare take insulin in case the dosage is wrong. Without her constant medication, Miriam is incapable of making rational decisions, even those affecting her health and life.

Without insulin, the 15-year-old will slip into a coma within 48 hours. She will then die in a slow but irreversible process. She has not been eating since the 6th of December.

Her mother Elisabeth Krantz has appealed to Swedish Prime Minister Mr Göran Persson, to Foreign Minister Ms Laila Freivalds, and to the Swedish Foreign Office. She has appealed to the Swedish Consulate General in Israel, which is the local Swedish authority best able to obtain the children’s release. Thus far without result.

The Swedish media have interviewed Elisabeth Krantz on a number of occasions. She has explained on the air and in the papers that her estranged husband, the children’s father, has announced his intention to marry off the two eldest girls, Sara and Miriam aged 16 and 15, to their first cousins, his own brother’s sons. Elisabeth has explained that the children – who were taken to Gaza back in June at the height of the summer when clothing requirements were minimal – do not even have shoes.

Elisabeth Krantz is appealing to media and politicians the world over to help save her children. Miriam’s situation is critical. In another couple of days’ time, it may be too late.

There is one means of getting the children released immediately: freeze Swedish aid to the PA, which is doing nothing to secure the children’s release. PM Persson stated in Parliament that it “would be a most unfortunate development if we were to confuse aid with any one legal case”.

Miriam is not a legal case, she is a 15-year-old Swede who will die far from home. She will die while Sweden continues to make huge financial contributions to the Palestinian Authority – which has still not released Miriam or her four siblings. Linking aid to the lives of Miriam, Sara, Zakarias, Amina and Adam is not an “unfortunate development” – failure to do so is tantamount to criminal negligence. Financial aid can be restored within a few seconds, without any side-effects. Miriam has one life. It cannot be restored, and it is ebbing away while these words are being read.