Jan 3 2009
Eight-year-old Palestinian cancer patient treated near Tel Aviv grateful to Israeli doctors.
Even though he is currently his Israel, while most of his family is in the Gaza Strip, Imad Tanani watches almost no television. His young daughter, eight-year-old Wala, is a cancer patient treated at the oncological department at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Imad says he prefers not to expose his daughter to the difficult images from Gaza because they frighten her. “I tell her that they’re not attacking everyone. There’s a mess right now, but eventually it will end,” he says.
The Palestinian child, who is being treated by Israeli doctors and nurses, understands the complexity of the situation. “The doctors are Israeli and they take good care of us,” she says. “Not all Israelis are bad. There are some good ones and some bad ones.”
Meanwhile, the family of Israeli cancer patient Nachman Raphael Fadida is staying with him at the hospital, next to the Palestinian children. The six-year-old child’s mother, Liat, says that she had not spoken to the Palestinian families. “I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, a child is just a child, yet on the other hand I know that those children will become martyrs one day,” she says.
In the midst of last week’s brutal fighting in Gaza and Israel’s south, Israeli doctors from Save a Child’s Heart, operated on a tiny baby boy from Gaza, giving him life-saving heart surgery.
Now recovering in intensive care at Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv, Jafar joins the 1,000 or so Palestinian children, and 1,000 more children from developing countries, who have received vital surgery in Israel from the medical volunteers at Save a Child’s Heart.
But that’s not all, Israel Has Been Paying Palestinians’ Hospital Bills for Years.
While the news is full of Israel’s “crimes” against the civilian population in Gaza, here’s one “crime” you probably haven’t heard about. Israel routinely admits residents of Palestinian Authority controlled territory into its hospitals – and the Israeli taxpayer foots the bill. Not only that; Israel even helps pay for treatment of patients in PA hospitals, where the patient never even comes near an Israeli hospital!
While many of us probably have heard of exceptional cases of Israeli doctors treating PA Arabs, I, and probably you, were under the impression that it was limited to high profile or complicated cases, such as the Save a Child’s Heart Foundation – with ill PA residents coming to Israel as a last resort. That kind of thing has been going on for a long time – even during the current war, as evidenced by the photo (courtesy of the IDF spokesperson), captioned “Injured Palestinian receiving medical treatment by Israeli and Palestinian medical personnel at the Erez crossing.”
But Israel’s contribution to the health of Palestinian Authority residents goes far beyond emergency assistance; according to some folks I interviewed for a story on a new database system being developed by an Israeli software company for hospitals in Bethlehem and Ramallah, Israel’s Health Ministry often pays for care of PA residents both in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority itself!
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