Friday, May 25, 2007

IS ISRAEL DENYING HEALTH CARE TO PALESTINIANS? Dr. Mitchell Bard address this myth in the following excerpt from Myths and Facts:
MYTH #264: "Israel is denying health care to Palestinians."

FACT

The Palestinian Authority’s ongoing inability and unwillingness to prevent terror attacks against Israel has required the imposition of security measures to prevent most Palestinians from entering the country. Still, Israel has remained open to Palestinians in need of medical assistance.

Contrary to frequent Palestinian claims that Israel prevents Arabs from obtaining health care, the Civil Administration in the West Bank receives and grants thousands of requests by Palestinians to visit Israeli hospitals where they are treated by some of the finest medical professionals in the world. In 2006 alone, 81,000 Palestinians were given permits to enter Israel for health reasons, an increase of 61 percent from 2005. According to the Health Coordinator responsible for responding to requests, 90 percent of the applications for permits are approved.123

In addition to providing direct care to Palestinians from the territories, Israel is also training Palestinian health care workers. Courses have been offered since 2000 and since then 200 Palestinians have taken part, including Marwan Baqer, who heads of team of ambulance workers in Gaza. Baqer was invited to participate in a course in emergency medicine. “It is excellent that people from the Palestinian territories come to participate in an Israeli course.” He added that when he returned to Gaza he would say he “learned something good.”

One of the Israeli physicians on the board of Physicians for Human Rights’, the group sponsoring the course, observed, “We have a common enemy – disease.”124

Israel is committed to providing health care for anyone in need, including not only Palestinians but sometimes Arabs from countries still at war with Israel. This concern for the individual, and willingness to cooperate with Palestinians in the field of medicine, offers hope that Israelis and Palestinians will find more common ground in the future.

Notes
123“ISRAEL-OPT: More Palestinians entering Israel on health grounds,” IRIN, (February 15, 2007).
124Corinne Heller, “Palestinians learn emergency medicine in Israel, Reuters, (November 22, 2006).
This article can be found at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths2/exclusives.html#a73

Source: Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard.

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