13-year-old Palestinian boy to arrive in Greenville for surgery on leg injured in airstrike

Greenville News:

A Palestinian 13-year-old named Ayham will arrive in Greenville Tuesday afternoon, welcomed by Greenvillians with Palestinian flags waving. He is traveling alongside his brother Ismail.

Ayham joins 18-year-old Ahed who was brought to Greenville to undergo treatment after her uncle had to amputate her leg. Her home in northern Gaza was shelled by the Israeli military, according to a press release from Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF), a U.S.-based charity. Ahed’s uncle, a doctor, was forced to amputate her leg with a kitchen knife on the dining table — with no anesthesia.

Right now, she is hoping for a chance to walk again.

"In the face of overwhelming adversity, the strength and resilience of these children inspire us all.Their journey to the US for treatment is not just a testament to their courage but a call to action for us to support and stand by innocent civilians in dire need. Together, we can restore hope and rebuild lives, one child at a time," Tareq Hailat, head of the treatment abroad program with PCFR, said in a statement.

Ayham is traveling to receive surgery on his leg, which was injured by an explosion when his neighbor's house was targeted by an Israeli airstrike in December 2023, according to a press release from Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF), a U.S.-based charity.

The Greenville News reported on Raghad Al-Jabri, a Palestinian girl who was seven years old when she first learned to walk and traveled to Greenville for treatment in 2018, supported by volunteers at PCRF. Raghad died in 2023 after an Israeli airstrike hit the building her family was huddling in.

What is happening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Though conflict existed between Israel and Gaza for years prior, the violence came to a head on Oct. 7, 2023, when the militant group Hamas launched an attack on Israel's military and border towns. Israel then retaliated with airstrikes, which continued into 2024. 

In January, South Africa accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians and expressed its concerns to the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands.    

“Israel has a genocidal intent against the Palestinians in Gaza,” Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, who represented South Africa, told the court. “The intent to destroy Gaza has been nurtured at the highest level of state." 

The United Nations has urged both parties to “allow humanitarian access, avoid ‘collective punishment’ and release hostages.”  

Though President Joe Biden has provided military aid to Israel, recently, he also announced the United States will develop a temporary pier off Gaza to deliver supplies to Palestinians. 

Nationally, there's been an effort for President Biden to call for a ceasefire, an effort that has taken place locally in Greenville as well. Since October, three rallies calling for a ceasefire have been held in Greenville.

This story will be updated.

Savannah Moss covers Greenville County politics and growth/development. Reach her at [email protected] or follow her on X @Savmoss.