Should Erekat be treated in Israel?

by David Kramer

Today, chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat was hospitalized in critical condition and placed on a ventilator in Israel’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, Jerusalem. The senior Palestinian official, diagnosed with Covid-19, was brought to the hospital by Magen David Adom paramedics accompanied by IDF soldiers. Many in Israel are disturbed by this since Erekat, a terrorist sympathizer, is well-known for spreading lies and misinformation about Israel and is considered a significant impediment to the advancement of talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Most recently, Erekat accused Israel of intentionally infecting Palestinians with Covid-19 and spoke about Israelis “spitting on Palestinian cars and property in order to transfer the Corona disease to them.

Several Israeli lawmakers opposed the gesture saying that Israel should have made it conditional on Hamas returning the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oren Shaul, held captive in Gaza, since 2014. The Choose Life Forum, an ssociation for terror victims and their families and other Israeli organizations also protested Erekat’s treatment outside Hadassah hospital, calling the move unjust and a “slap in the face” to every Israeli, since Erekat has long supported Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups directly responsible for the loss of countless Israeli lives. Herzl and Merav Hajaj, parents of murdered Israeli Border Guard Police Officer Shir Hajaj who was slaughtered in a 2017 terrorist attack in Jerusalem while on duty told the media, “Anyone who works to prosecute our soldiers in the International Criminal Court has no right to receive treatment in Israel. The State of Israel should not try to save the life of someone who profits from the murder of Jews.”

However the State Of Israel’s policy has always been to extend humanitarian medical assistance to whoever needs it, no matter who they are and what their intentions are. Almost 100,000 Palestinian patients and their family members, from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, enter Israel each year for medical assistance in Israeli hospitals (COGAT.) Israeli doctors also treat countless Arab patients from all over the Middle East, including hostile countries like Syria.  During Syria’s civil war, since 2011, Israeli hospitals treated thousands of wounded Syrians, through a humanitarian mission led by the Israeli army titled, Operation Good Neighbor.

Israeli hospitals have also treated the leadership of Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization and their family members. In 2003, Hassan Salame, a Hamas leader and the mastermind of a series of bus bombings that killed 45 Israelis, had his life saved at Hadassah and in 2013, Suhila Abd el-Salam, the sister of Hamas’ Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyah, public enemy number one in Israel, accompanied her husband for treatment in Israel. He was admitted to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva for immediate medical treatment regarding a serious heart condition. Amongst many others.

According to Yuval Weiss, Director of Hadassah Ein Kerem, who addressed the hospital’s policy in 2013, “We relate to patients without regard to nationality and religion. We treat Muslims, Christians, Jews and other nationalities without bias, and 30% of the patients who are children are Palestinians.” He went on to say that, “We’ve begun cooperating with the Palestinians. We now train teams of physicians from the hospital in Beit Jala in Bethlehem, to treat cancer among children. We have about 60 Palestinian medical interns and specialist physicians who will be returning to the Palestinian Authority areas to carry out their work.”

Also at a special conference on the topic of humanitarian medicine held at Hadassah Medical Center at Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, November, 2015, Division Medical Officer, Lt. Col. Michael Kassirer said, “The treatment of the Palestinian population is first and foremost a moral and professional obligation for every one of us.” In answer to the question of whether they receive the same treatment as Israelis, Kassirer said, “There is no question about it.

The father of Nahal fighter Ron Kukia, who was killed by a radical Islamist terrorist in Arad, now serves as one of the leaders of the Bereaved Families’ Voting Forum. Lt. Col. (res) Boaz Kukia told reporters, “Choose Life Forum representatives came to Hadassah Hospital to protest the presence of a terrorist who is being treated here, who heads the Palestinian Authority that supports terror by paying salaries to terrorists. “The same terrorist takes up a bed and costs money at the expense of Israeli citizens while he and his boss encourage their murder,” he added.

The verdict is open.

Photo Credit: Middle East Monitor



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David Kramer

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