- Published: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 4:42 PM
- Tags: Harem Abdel KhaderHiba Azzam SahwilMohammed Azzam SahwilPalestinian AuthorityPalestinian childrenPCHR
Jerusalem Sunday, December 18, 2011
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported on December 4th that two Palestinian children, members of the same family, died recently as the result of a political decision by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
On November 2nd The ministry issued a decision decreasing the transfer of seriously ill patients to Israel, citing the high cost of treatment in Israeli hospitals.
The measure has nothing to with finances however, but was the result of the long standing PA policy of boycotting Israel.
PCHR wrote the following about the deaths of Mohammad Azzam Sahwil (9) and his sister Hiba Azzam Shawil (8):
“On 04 November 2011, the death was announced of Mohammed Azzam Sahwil, born on 29 September 2002, who was suffering from growth retardation and muscle atrophy. His condition deteriorated on 1 November 2011, as a result of which he was admitted to the intensive care unit of al-Nasser Hospital in Gaza City. The Ministry of Health was provided with an urgent report to facilitate arrangements to transfer him abroad. On 25 October 2011 a Form No. 1 to receive medical treatment abroad was issued in his name. On 02 November 2011, financial coverage for medical treatment in al-Maqassed Hospital in Jerusalem was officially confirmed, but the hospital refused to admit him because of its inability to treat him. The Ministry of Health was informed of this decision, but it did not take the action necessary to transfer him to a hospital equipped to deal with his ailments – in this case an Israeli hospital. As a result, his condition deteriorated further and he died in the intensive care unit of al-Nasser Hospital in Gaza City.
Less than one month later, the child’s sister died in similar circumstances. The Ministry of Health did not learn a lesson from what had happened to her brother. On 01 December 2011, the death was announced of Hiba Azzam Sahwil, born on 03 January 2003, who also suffered from growth retardation and muscle atrophy. On 27 November 2011, Form No. 1 for her to receive medical treatment abroad was issued. On 27 November 2011, she was granted financial coverage for treatment in al-Maqassed Hospital in Jerusalem. On 28 November 2011, an appointment was arranged for her on 13 December 2011. However, her health deteriorated on 29 November 2011 and she was admitted into the intensive care unit of al-Nasser Hospital. The Ministry of Health was informed and al-Maqassed Hospital was contacted to schedule an appointment at an earlier date. However, at approximately 12:30 on 30 November 2011, al-Maqassed Hospital announced it would not admit her because of its inability to treat her. The Ministry of health was informed of this and was requested to transfer the child to Ichilov Hospital in Israel immediately, but the Ministry refused to transfer her. At approximately 11:30 on 01 December 2011, notification that the costs of her treatment would be covered was sent to al-Mizan Hospital in the West Bank, but the child had already died at approximately 11:05”.
Yearly thousands of Palestinian patients are treated in Israeli hospitals. From the Israeli perspective high costs were never a reason to refuse them treatment.
There have even been cases in which funds for treatment were raised among the Jewish public in Israel. The best known example of this was the story of Mohammed Abu Mustafa, a Palestinian baby from Gaza who was born without an immune system. The baby was saved by Israeli doctors after a anonymous Jewish Israeli donated the costs of the treatment.
The Peres Peace Centre has a special fund known as ‘Saving children’ that enables hundreds of Palestinian children to receive free medical treatment in Israel.
Recently the IDC website No Camels ran a story about a pregnant Palestinian woman who received emergency treatment in the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem.
The woman was pregnant with twins whose blood supply was insufficient. According to No Camels ‘A small catheter was inserted into her womb and using a laser device, her placenta was burnt and separated to two parts – one for each baby. The procedure was carried out successfully and the lives of the twins were saved.’
It is obvious that the decision to deny seriously ill Palestinians treatment in Israeli hospitals has nothing to do with finances but everything with the ongoing political war against Israel by the Palestian Authority.
Last week several planned informal meetings which aimed to promote normalization between Israelis and Palestinians, were thwarted by Fatah. Hatem Abdel Khader, a senior Fatah official, told Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh that Fatah has declared war on all informal meetings between Israelis and Palestinians.
It is highly doubtful however that this new PA attempt to boycott Israel will succeed.
An earlier economic boycott failed miserably after the Palestinian public refused to participate. One has only to visit the West Bank to see that Palestinians massively buy Israeli goods and are involved in trade with Israel. Despite an ongoing ban thirty thousand Palestinians work in the Jewish communities in the West Bank and their number keeps growing.
The current normalization boycott seems to be ignored as well. While Fatah was busy sabotaging reconciliation meetings in Jerusalem and Beit Jallah last week, Israeli scientists met their Palestinian counterparts at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in order to discuss further cooperation.
So the real victims of this boycott appear to be the seriously ill Palestinians who do not have the ability to ignore this cynical attempt to destroy normalization with Israel.