Israel Helps Sick Gazans

May 1, 2008

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This isn’t news to me, but since it is most likely news to most, I thought I’d post about this.

I have actually made a few posts in the past about medical procedures performed in Israel on Palestinians, but yesterday the BBC, known to be very anti-Israel, published a nicely balanced article about the issue. Here are some excerpts from the article. I urge you to read it in its entirely if you can.

I would like to point out that I am pasting PARTS of the article here, the parts that aren’t often published, and am aware that I have left out certain sections. This is to ensure the basic points get across in case you don’t click on the article itself.

Crying out in pain, Ahmed lies in a hospital bed in Barzilai Medical Centre, his blood-encrusted lower limbs heavily bandaged. Two weeks earlier, the 17-year-old became another victim of the violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants when he lost his left leg, he says, in an Israeli missile strike against militants in Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

At first, he was taken to Gaza’s Shifa hospital, but with the territory’s health system under severe strain after months of Israeli blockade and internal strife, his only hope for life-saving treatment lay in Israel itself.

“We got our permit from the Israeli authorities within 24 hours,” said Ahmed’s father, Muhammad. “An ambulance took my son from Shifa to the Erez crossing, where he was transferred to an Israeli ambulance and brought to Barzilai. I used to work in Israel so I wasn’t afraid, but for him it is his first time,” he said.

Since his arrival at the medical centre in Ashkelon, Ahmed has undergone three operations and he is awaiting a fourth.

While some 1,600 Gazan patients had permit requests denied by Israel in 2007, more than 7,000 were allowed in for medical treatment – a 50% increase on 2006 – according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

2006: 4932 granted; 538 denied
2007: 7176 granted; 1627 denied

Under the 1994 Israeli-Palestinian peace accords, the Palestinian Authority assumed responsibility for health services in the West Bank and Gaza. However, with tertiary care virtually non-existent in Gaza, Palestinians there are forced to seek such treatment in Israel or beyond.

Barzilai is one of three hospitals in Israel to which most of the cases come, but its proximity to Gaza – just 12km (seven miles) – means it gets those which are most severe.

“We treat hundreds of Gazans here each year,” says Dr Ron Lobel, Barzilai’s deputy director.

He says there are some five to 15 Gazan patients there at any given time.

“Most are extremely ill, a lot have bullet wounds, but we also treat Palestinians with cancer, kidney and liver diseases who can’t get treatment in Gaza.”

He says doctors never ask patients how they got their injuries or if they belong to a militant group.

“Even if they’re terrorists they’re treated like any other person being brought into the emergency room – we make no distinction between treating Israelis or Palestinians.”

Most treatment is funded by the Palestinian Authority’s health department, although many cases are treated by Israel for free.

Ironically, Barzilai’s closeness to Gaza also means the hospital is within range of militants’ rockets.

“It’s absurd,” says Dr Lobel. “We’re treating Gazans while coming under fire from their own back yards.”

In February, a rocket landed near the hospital’s emergency room on the same day that a Palestinian woman from Beit Lahiya in Gaza gave birth there to premature twins.

“WHO believes there is a right for everybody to get health care,” said Mahmoud Dahar, the organisation’s director in Gaza.

“Israel has the most sophisticated security measures at the Erez crossing, so if people are going to carry out attacks, they will be stopped there. No requests should be turned down.”

But Israel says it has to balance Gaza’s humanitarian needs with its own security.

In June 2007, two Palestinian women who had received medical entry permits were arrested at the Erez crossing after it was discovered they planned to blow themselves up in an Israeli hospital, Israeli authorities said.

In 2004, a female suicide bomber who claimed she had surgical plates in her legs blew herself up at the crossing after bypassing the metal detector, killing four Israelis.

“This is why the crossing can’t be the first point of verification, there has to be some sort of clearance process beforehand,” said Maj Lerner.

The crossing itself has been bombarded over 200 times by mortars, rockets and sniper fire since last June, automatically closing every time.

“It’s a dilemma we’re dealing with – the terrorists make life very difficult for genuine medical cases, but at the end of the day the vast majority who need treatment in Israel are actually approved.”


  1. Well if Israel causes the problem – the boy came to grief in a palestine Israel conflict – isn’t it the responsiblity of Israel to help. Afterall what better way to use all the money it gets from the USA. What better way for Israeli doctors to practice their medical techniques than on Palestnian victims. Afterall the Israeli Jewish population benefits. Think about the situation where the palestnian father, whos child came to grief from Israeli military action, donated his childs organs to an Israeli child in need?

  2. All the comments on this website are pro Israel. So it looks like you don’t post comments that do not support your point of veiw. I guess that is ok.

    It is hard to find a site that does not have a bias.
    Israel and Plaestina Rocks!! Hope you have freedom of the press in both these places. It is so very important in order for both these countries to become a realy true democracy.

  3. A few things about your comment:

    1) Just because Israel caused the problem doesn’t mean Israel has to fix it. Exactly how many Israelis injured in Palestinian terror attacks were treated by the Palestinians? Same goes for every other war out there.

    2) This is just an example of medical aid given by the Israelis to the Palestinians. There are countless others of sick Palestinians that aren’t related to Israel “aggression” of any kind, like cancers, heart problems, birth defects, and plenty others.

    3) Are you insinuating that Israel only treats Palestinians like a Mengele-type “experimentation?” Are you KIDDING?! Israel has some of the most advanced medical personnel in the world. There has never been even the slightest insinuation that Israel practices any type of medical experimentation on anyone because it doesn’t. Doctors are doctors anywhere and for anyone. As for trying new things, which happens everywhere, otherwise there is never medical advancement, they don’t try anything on Palestinians that they don’t try on Israelis. If they have any experiment going on, it’s just like any other Western country – documented, legal, after much research.

    4) As for organ donation, if a Palestinian child were to die, the family doesn’t have to allow any organs to be donated, to Israelis or otherwise. Organ donation laws in Israel are even tougher than in the US. Filling out an organ donation card (named Eddi in Israel), isn’t enough – your next of kin has to approve.

    That said, there have been dozens – if not more – cases of Israelis donating organs to Palestinians – and vice versa, by the way.

    As a side note, my friend Warren’s organs were donated when he suddenly died 3 years ago, and they were donated to both Jews and Arabs. There are numerous stories of organs being donated both ways – and even parents of Israeli Jews murdered in terror attacks have donated their organs to anyone – specifically stating they don’t care who it goes to (though I could only assume the only stipulation would be not going to the terrorist him/herself).

    I’ve noticed that throughout all of your comments, there is an incredibly enormous amount of negativity and lack of knowledge – and flat out misconceptions and lies – about Israel. I encourage you to look around instead of just your local papers. Also, opening your mind may just help you in the long run (I pretty much have the feeling that anything I will say, in your case, will not have an effect on you anyway).

  4. BTW, the comments on my site are SO not all pro-Israel, though, if I chose to have them as such, I wouldn’t be doing something wrong. My point is to show the side of Israel that others don’t.

    However, I choose to post the anti-Israel comments (and each of yours is worse than the previous) precisely so I would be able to answer them and show everything that’s wrong about them. You just need to look through the comments.

    That said, notice that you posted 6 comments and less than 24 hours later accused me of not posting them. Please note my last post – that states that I will be gone for a while because of family issues – when I’m not online, it’s hard for me to approve comments, and because of the nature of my blog, comments have ALWAYS been subject to moderation (also because of spam).

    It is well within my right not to post comments until I am able to answer them, and I have exercised my right. That said, I have posted each and every comment you made on my blog.

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