I always say that when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there’s more than enough suffering and blame to go around. In other words, always mistrust anyone who tells you one side is always right and another side always wrong. Dudy Tzfati brings word of a tragedy that unfortunately perfectly illustrates this point.
Medical care is one of the major points of contention in the everyday low-intensity conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel’s Peres Center makes a point of subsidizing the medical care of Palestinian children in need of specialized care that can only be found at Israeli hospitals. It then publicizes its beneficence in order to score points in Israel and the world community by highlighting how merciful Israel is toward sick Palestinian children. This of course begs the question–what about solving the conflict, instead of merely providing medical care for a few hundred sick Palestinians, much as that is to be admired?
On the other hand, Israel often denies severely ill Palestinians (especially Gazans) the right to exit the Occupied Territories for treatment in Israel or Europe. Many such individuals have died from such Israeli callousness.
But neither are the Palestinians blameless. Until now, the PA has paid for the medical care of those children being treated at Israeli hospitals. And then inexplicably, the PA refused to continue doing so. It said it saw no reason to allow Palestinian children to become pawns in an Israeli propaganda game. Omitted from consideration appears to be the actual children who will die due to Israeli and Palestinian stubbornness. Asil is one such girl:
With a heavy feeling I write about Asil, a six year old girl from the Palestinian village of Wadi Fuqeen, near Bethlehem. Asil was sick with tuberculosis, which got complicated and reached the brain. She was referred to Hadassah Hospital and her parents managed to get the financial coverage by the Palestinian Ministry of Health for day treatments. Two weeks ago she arrived to the hospital and underwent several tests. A CT scan was needed but since it was not included in the coverage, Asil was released home. Her parents tried to get the financial coverage for the CT scan and for full hospitalization, which was needed, but in vain. The Palestinian Ministry of Health refused. Helplessly, they tried to get an urgent appointment for a CT scan in a Palestinian hospital, but the line was too long.
A few days later, on a Friday, Asil’s condition deteriorated. She needed urgent hospitalization and treatment of her brain infection. But since she did not have the coverage for hospitalization at Hadassah, she was taken to a hospital in Bethlehem, where they didn’t have the necessary medicine and expertise to treat her. Her parents continued to beg for approval of the coverage, with no success.
By Sunday morning her situation worsened. She still had the coverage for day treatments in Hadassah and so the doctors wanted to send her in an ambulance. However, Hadassah management refused to accept her, knowing that emergency room and full hospitalization will be required, without financial coverage. She stayed in Bethlehem and started to take the medication advised by the Hadassah doctor. But this was too late and too little. On Sunday night Asil passed away.
How can we accept such an unbearable situation and denial of life-saving treatment, which was available 15 minutes drive from Asil’s home? But Asil is not the only one. In Hadassah Pediatric Hemato-oncology alone, the financial coverage for 57 kids was cut in the midst of their treatment – a death sentence for many of them.
A physician friend is spending his time and own money to buy expensive medicine for his patients who were saved by bone marrow transplantation. Otherwise they would be lost. And who knows how many more patients are being denied life-saving treatments available in Israeli but not Palestinian hospitals.
Apparently, the Palestinian Authority decided to cut the financial coverage for medical care in Israel, while the money is Palestinian tax money held by Israel. The Israeli hospitals refuse to treat patients without the coverage, and the Israeli government denies its responsibility for the Palestinian living under its control. Meanwhile, innocent children pay with their lives.
What can be done? Is there not enough suffering around? Can we demand from the Palestinian Authority to leave the children out of the struggle? Can we demand from the Israeli government to assume responsibility for the Palestinians under its control? Or may be raise donations for this purpose?