An article that ran in early June in the far-left, capitulationist Israeli newspaper Haaretz provides an enduring example of how the media demonizes the Jewish state. It describes the calvary of Palestinians who cannot get the medicines they need from their own pharmacies and clinics. The newspaper puts the blame squarely on Israel, suggesting that this lack of medicines is one more way that the terrible Israeli government makes life so hard for the Palestinians. The article can be found here: “As Critical Medicine Runs Out in West Bank, Palestinian Authority Points at Israel,” by Jack Khoury, Haaretz, June 8, 2023:
The Palestinian Authority is blaming Israel for an acute drug shortage in the West Bank that is affecting Palestinian hospitals and residents with chronic conditions, arguing Israel has failed to help the organization supply and fund the medicines. The Gaza Strip is facing a similar crisis….
Why blame Israel? Shouldn’t Mahmoud Abbas and his fellow crooks in the PA be asked to cough up some of the billions they have collectively managed to squirrel away from the aid meant for the Palestinians in the West Bank? And in Gaza, why doesn’t Hamas try to claw back the money stolen by just two of its officials, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa abu Marzouk, each of whom has diverted $2.5 billion to his own Swiss bank account from the aid money meant for all the people in the Strip? And why shouldn’t the PA be asked to take the $350 million it spends each year on its “Pay-For-Slay” program and instead spend it on medical supplies?
A senior PA official told Haaretz the drug shortage in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip stems mainly from the Ramallah government’s inability to pay suppliers regularly. In addition, pharmacists in medical centers and hospital pharmacies in the West Bank are on strike. On top of that, in recent months the UN Relief and Works Agency has closed its medical centers in refugee camps due to budget shortfalls.
Is Israel responsible for the PA’s failure to pay suppliers of medical supplies? Did Israel decide how much the PA should pay pharmacists in the West Bank to prevent a strike? Did Israel cause UNRWA to close its medical centers in refugee camps?
“The PA’s entire budget is based on the taxes Israel collects, and that barely covers the costs of wages, including the Health Ministry’s wages. Because Israel deducts hundreds of millions from the tax money to the PA, it cannot pay for medicines,” the officials said….
“The shortage isn’t only the outcome of an internal Palestinian crisis,” the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Dr. Guy Shalev, said. “Beyond Israel’s contribution to the economic crisis in the PA, the roadblocks and policy restricting Palestinians’ movement is making the patients’ lives impossible.”
Roadblocks are temporary, put up when the IDF is hunting down terrorists, as part of an effort to keep them from escaping, and once the terrorists have been arrested or killed, those roadblocks come down.
Elder of Ziyon noted at the time this article was published:
I cannot find a single article in Palestinian media about a drug shortage in the West Bank from 2023. The Palestinian health ministry adds news articles and reports regularly and they have nothing about this. (Today, Al Quds translated Haaretz’ article.)
The absence of any mention of a drug shortage in the Palestinian media strongly suggested that there really was none. The claim was made by the PA to Western journalists in order to have yet another charge to level against those terrible Israelis. Elder of Ziyon adds:
Sky News Arabia – not a Palestinian news site – wrote about a medicine crisis nine months ago. It did not blame Israel; it said that the health ministry could not pay their debts so suppliers were stopping shipments….
Setting aside that question for now, let’s look closer at what the Haaretz article actually says.
While the headline says that the Palestinian Authority is blaming Israel for this shortage, it gives four separate reasons that Palestinians in the West Bank cannot get the medicines they need. The first three are from an anonymous Palestinian official
1. The Palestinian government cannot pay for medicines. Israel’s withholding tax revenue is blamed.
2. Pharmacists in the West Bank are on strike.
3. UNRWA has closed down its own medical centers in camps.
There’s a pharmacists’ strike? UNRWA has closed down medical clinics?
Those seem like pretty big news stories. When has Haaretz reported on them? For that matter, how much has the media altogether reported on them?…
No one in the Palestinian media has been reporting on a pharmacists’ strike, or on medical clinics in the West Bank being closed down. Are these stories even true? Or are they fictions designed to make Israel look bad?
Not Israel, but Mahmoud Abbas, is to blame for any shortage of medical supplies for Palestinians in the West Bank. It is he who insists on spending $350 million a year not on those supplies, but on his “Pay-For-Slay” program that provides generous monthly payments both to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists killed while committing their attacks. Anytime he wants he can change his funding priorities, and spend some or all of that money on the medical supplies his people need. To govern is to choose. He’s chosen to reward past, and incentivize future, terrorism, over the health of the West Bank Palestinians.
Another way for the PA to save money for medical supplies is to stop the colossal corruption in the PA’s government. Abbas himself, and his two sons Tarek and Yasser, have acquired a family fortune of $400 million dollars. More hundreds of millions of dollars in aid money have been diverted to the wallets of a few hundred PA officials and their relatives whose loyalty ensures Abbas’ continued rule. All this money could, and should, have gone to pay for such necessities as medical supplies. Israel cannot be blamed for this massive corruption, any more than it can be blamed for Abbas choosing to spend $350 million on “Pay-For-Slay.” Can none of this money be clawed back by an enraged populace? Or if not, can donors make their future aid contingent on an end to the PA’s staggering corruption?
“Taken altogether, this is Haaretz manufacturing a blood libel against Israel. Israel is not telling the Palestinian Authority how to spend its money, nor is it blocking any medicine distribution in the West Bank nor in Gaza (which is how these stories are normally framed.)
“In past years the Palestinian Authority itself purposefully blocked medicines from reaching Gaza for political purposes, showing howlittle it cares about health care for its own people.
In 2017, in the PA’s ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza, Mahmoud Abbas decided to block medicines and medical equipment from reaching people in the Strip. According to the Gaza ministry of health, because of the PA’s deliberate blocking of deliveries, 516 medicines were completely unavailable in Gaza hospitals, representing 40% of the medicines that are normally used. Additionally, some 291 medical supplies (out of 853 total) were unavailable. Yet no one in the outside world thought this worth reporting on, since this story had no anti-Israel angle .
“This is part of the same story: the PA has plenty of money to spend on empty museums [such as the “Museum of the Palestinian People” in Washington, D.C.] ”or fake jobs for released prisoner terrorists [one more perk for released terrorists – lifetime employment in PA-government sinecures] , but health care and teachers’ salaries are a much lower priority.
“But this Haaretz article also proves other dysfunctionality in the PA, in the media and with NGOs.
“There is next to no reporting on important stories like the pharmacists’ strike, UNRWA (maybe) closing its own medical clinics, Palestinian teachers’ strikes and other everyday stories that the media and NGOs ignore or skate over – even though there are more reporters and NGO employees covering the West Bank than anywhere else in the world, except perhaps Washington DC.
“The overarching imperative is to manufacture a narrative where Israel is solely to blame for all of the Palestinian ills, and Palestinian leaders have no responsibility to act like real leaders should. Media and NGOs do not put any pressure on the Palestinian leadership to act responsibly and to prioritize normal governance rather than keeping a system that everyone knows is corrupt and wasting international funds.
It’s very simple: the PA can ensure that it has enough money to pay for the medicines and medical supplies that are currently not available in its medical clinics and pharmacies because previous bills were not paid. All Abbas need do is take the $350 million dollars the PA now spends on the “Pay-For-Slay” program and spend it instead on those medical supplies. At the same time, once “Pay-For-Slay” has ended, Israel will stop withholding that same amount — $350 million dollars – from the taxes it collects for the PA. That’s another $350 million dollars that the PA will have to spend on medicines and medical supplies. The choice is not Israel’s to make, but must be made by the rais in Ramallah. Mahmoud Abbas bears the complete responsibility for the wretched state of Palestinian health care in the West Bank.