Thousands of Palestinians have been hurt, or maimed, during the long years of their conflict against the Israelis.
SV INTERIOR Palestinian hospital in West Beirut: Men weaving chair seats in therapy (2 shots)
SV Men working on women baskets
SV Medical personnel putting finishing touches to artificial limb and mould (2 shots)
SV Partially-paralysed youth sculpting elephant
SV Palestinian Red Crescent loader, Mr Fathi Arafat speaking in Arabic
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Background: Thousands of Palestinians have been hurt, or maimed, during the long years of their conflict against the Israelis. Many have been blinded, lost limbs, or had their bodies crippled. One rehabilitation programme to help them is run by the Palestinian Red Crescent, their equivalent of the Red Cross.
SYNOPSIS: These men are patients at the Palestinian hospital in West Beirut, one of the most important centres for this work in the Middle East. The weaving brings both physical and mental benefits. It helps to develop co-ordination in their injured, or artificial limbs, and gives a focus for concentration. Nerves impaired by the traumas of battle and injury are brought back under control.
The hospital recently introduced a variety of new projects, one of the Palestinian Red Crescent's gestures to mark the beginning of the International Year of the Handicapped. A programme of making objects in ceramics is one of these.
A key figure in the rehabilitation work is Mr Fathi Arafat, who is the head of the Palestinian Red Crescent, and the brother of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) chief, Yasser Arafat. He said a n???w troupe had been formed among the patients to help their therapy. It consisted of singers, dancers and actors. Their efforts would both bring pleasure to fellow patients, and advance the process of moving them towards resuming their places in society. It would boost their confidence and reduce self-consciousness to perform in front of sympathetic audiences, whose members were striving to overcome the same problems.
Some of the newer patients were injured in the recent flare-up of the conflict in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Others reportedly received their injuries in the increased sectarian strife in Beirut itself between rival forces of Christian militiamen and Palestinian commandoes.