January 12, 2011 for The Associated Press
by Josh Lederman

JERUSALEM – A Palestinian girl paralyzed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza will be allowed to remain in the country for medical care, according to a government document released Wednesday.

The decision enables 9-year-old Marya Amen, along with her brother and father, to stay in Israel as temporary residents. The status ensures state-sponsored health insurance and compensation for the girl, who needs a respirator to breathe.

A letter signed by Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai and obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday cites a “special humanitarian case” in granting the residency request.

Amen was wounded in a 2006 airstrike targeting Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza City. Her mother, brother and grandmother were killed.

Since then, she has been at a Jerusalem hospital while her family fought attempts by Israel to transfer her to a West Bank facility they say cannot treat her condition. Her lawyer, Adi Lustigman, said the Israeli Defense Ministry has until now covered her medical and other expenses, and has rented the family an apartment near Jerusalem.

Doctors expect Amen to remain paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of her life.

Physicians for Human Rights, which advocated for her in Israeli courts, welcomed the decision but said there are hundreds of other Palestinians injured in Israeli military actions who claim compensation and want access to medical treatment.