A disturbing part of Joe Biden’s visit to Israel was the trip he took to east Jerusalem to visit the Augusta Victoria Hospital. The hospital caters to Palestinian patients, and the media coverage – especially that from NPR’s Daniel Estrin — made it seem that Palestinian and Arab Israeli patients have no other options save these “underfunded” facilities. A few sob stories, about how difficult Israel makes it for Palestinians to come to Jerusalem for treatment of cancer and for dialysis, which are the focus of care at the Augusta Victoria Hospital, were broadcast on NPR; It is not true, of course, that Israelis deliberately delay Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank from being admitted to hospitals in east Jerusalem. All of those with life-threatening illnesses that can best be treated in Israel are quickly admitted, and so are many other Palestinians and Israeli Arabs with ordinary illnesses who simply prefer Jewish doctors. Both Israeli Arabs and Palestinians are treated in all the Israeli hospitals, and often received as charity patients, who pay nothing. None of that was mentioned in the coverage of Biden’s visit to the hospital. It wouldn’t fit the NPR narrative.
In fact, both the leaders of Hamas and of the PA, despite ranting about Israeli killers of Palestinians, have deliberately sought medical treatment for themselves and their relatives in Israeli hospitals. These include the late Saeb Erekat, the master propagandist, who when he came down with COVID insisted on being treated in the Hadassah Hospital, That treatment of such a senior Palestinian figure in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital rekindled a debate in Israeli society about the Palestinians’ cynicism and ingratitude in their relations with Israel.
Erekat had long accused Israel of being an “apartheid” country; he actively supported the “resistance” (a euphemism for Palestinian terrorism, which aims to kill Israelis); he called for a tsunami of millions of “returning Palestinian refugees” to overwhelm Israel and demographically destroy it as the homeland of the Jewish people, and advocated ending coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Given his past behavior, it’s ironic that Erekat would look to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Israel’s capital city for help in his coronavirus plight; he knew the Israelis would not turn him away; he knew they were nothing ike what he had been claimiing during thirty years of uninterrupted mendacity.
The Jerusalem-based Sheikh Ikrima Sabri behaved the same way as Erekat. For years, he spewed vicious anti-Israel and anti-American incitement from his pulpit. But when he urgently needed heart surgery, his first choice was the Zionist-run Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The Jewish doctors saved Sabri’s life, and he returned to defaming Israel and inciting violence and terrorism against Jews.
There are many other examples of this moral double standard, and every month the Hamas and PIJ leadership send hundreds of sick Palestinians to Israeli hospitals for complicated medical procedures, even as they denounce Israelis as “child-killers.”
During his visit to the Palestinian hospital in east Jerusalem, Biden was told by Palestinian doctors of the “underfunding” that their own medical facilities in Gaza and the PA-ruled parts of the West Bank must endure. But instead of fostering a modern Palestinian public health system, and building new hospitals and improving the quality of medicine in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders invest the international community’s ‘”humanitarian assistance” money in positioning missile arrays inside United Nations schools and infirmaries, building a network of underground terror tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip, and fortifying the bunkers they constructed under Shifaa Hospital in Gaza City.
The poor quality of medical care in Gaza (and the somewhat better care in the PA-ruled territories of the West Bank) reflects a conscious choice by the Palestinian leaders. They chose to invest money that they received from foreign donors for the Palestinians not on improving their hospitals, on training and hiring competent doctors and nurses, and on buying needed medical equipment, but instead spend hundreds of millions of dollars on acquiring and placing thousands of missiles and rockets inside schools, mosques, infirmaries, creating a vast underground system of attack tunnels and fortified bunkers, and paying for weaponry. The money spent on preparing for terror attacks on “the Jews” could have gone to improving medical care for the Palestinians. Hamas chose to invest so much of their aid money on preparing for terror attacks on Israelis rather than on medical care for the Palestinians.
It is no wonder, then, that the Palestinian public health system cannot deal with complicated medical problems and sends its difficult cases to Israeli hospitals. In 2014, the wife of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas was treated in Israel. In 2018, an Israeli specialist was sent to Ramallah to treat Abbas himself, resulting in a dramatic improvement in his health and apparently saving his life. Over the years Israel has provided medical care for the relatives of the Hamas and PA leaders, whose main pastime is to spend their days thinking about and planning how to destroy the State of Israel.
The Western press has failed to mention that first Abbas’ wife, and then Abbas himself, were both successfully treated by Israeli doctors. Of course, this information is kept very quiet by those treated, who don’t want it known that they rely on Israeli doctors for special treatment, which would jar with their constant denunciations of Israel ‘s cruelty towards the Palestinians. And they certainly don’t want their own people to learn of the medical care that the Hamas and PA leaders receive in Israel.
Abbas and his wife are not the only members of his family who have been treated by Israel. Mahmoud Abbas’ younger brother, Abu Louai, was treated in Assuta Hospital, a private hospital in Tel Aviv. Abu Louai is 76 years old and suffers from cancer. He lives in Qatar. The PA press has not and will not ever publish this information, nor will the rest of the Arabic press should they ever get the news. Notice that Abu Louai chose, or rather, his brother chose for him, to be treated in an Israeli private hospital, even though the alternative was not, in his case, a poorly-funded Palestinian hospital, but a state-of-the-art hospital in enormously rich Qatar. No doubt Mahmoud Abbas wanted the best care for his brother, and his own experience with an Israeli specialist who treated him in Ramallah for a life-threatening condition led him to insist that his brother be treated by Israeli medical personnel. Even a hospital in Qatar wasn’t good enough. And when Abbas’ brother-in-law needed a heart operation, he, too, was treated in an Israeli hospital. In other words, Abbas, his wife, his brother, and his brother-in-law have all been treated for life-threatening illnesses by Israeli doctors.
One of the scandalous absurdities arising from Israel’s unparalleled humanitarian policies toward the very terrorist groups trying to destroy the Jewish state — never reported in the Western media — is that the very same terrorist organizations have tried to turn some of its patients into suicide bombers. For example, in 2005 Hamas sent a Gaza woman named Samir Ibrahim Bas to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for life-saving treatments. But Hamas secretly padded her under-clothing with 20 pounds of high-powered explosives so she could blow up the doctors treating her in the Israeli hospital.
A Palestinian patient who needed life-saving treatment offered by Israeli doctors instead was prepared to blow herself up — and kill them – in a suicide bombing planned by Hamas. Fortunately, the 20 lbs. of high-powered explosives hidden inside her underclothing was discovered in time. Could there have been a more diabolical act than murdering the very people who are trying to save your life?
In Israel, they know the truth. For example, in October 2014, just two months after Hamas started a war with Israel in which it launched more than 10,000 missiles at civilian targets, Sarah Haniyeh, the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, was treated at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital following complications she suffered in a Gaza hospital. Around the same time, but unreported, Hamas leader Haniyeh’s mother-in-law and granddaughter also left Gaza for treatment in Israeli hospitals.
Like Mahmoud Abbas, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, wanted only the best medical treatment – for his daughter, his mother-in-law, and his granddaughter.
Another absurdity that separates Israeli medicine from Palestinian cynicism and hypocrisy is the example of terrorist Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, who, while imprisoned in Israel in 2007, was operated on to have a brain tumor removed. Now, having been released in 2011 in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, he went right back to calling for more attacks on Israeli targets, more killings of Israeli civilians. Like Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, like Mahmoud Abbas and his relatives, like Ismail Haniyeh and his relatives, Yahya Sinwar was a beneficiary of the medical skills, and humanity, of Israeli doctors and nurses. And like so many other Palestinian patients treated by the Israelis, after having his life saved Sinwar immediately returned to denouncing Israeli Jews and calling for the destruction of their state. These recipients of Israeli medical care were unembarrassed; they did not think of themselves as hypocrites; they knew that you could accept aid from Infidels and still want those Infidels dead.
As Biden visited the hospital, and heard the rehearsed tales of woe by medical personnel and patients alike, about Israelis deliberately preventing Palestinians from reaching the hospital – a complete fiction – did he think to mention to his hosts that a great deal of money could be provided to the hospital by the PA if it ended its ”Pay-For-Slay” program, thereby taking delivery of the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes that have been collected for the PA by Israel, but that are withheld by the exact amount that the PA spends on “Pay-For-Slay”? The Palestinian rulers have chosen their priorities: they prefer to reward past, and incentivize future, terrorism, by spending $330 million on the “Pay-For-Slay” program each year, rather than to receive the money withheld by Israel, which could then be spent on health care.
None of the media stories about his visit to the hospital has mentioned how many Arab patients are treated in Israeli hospitals, not only Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians, but also Syrians from both sides, wounded in that country’s civil war. Hundreds of Syrian patients have been given free care in Israeli hospitals. Why did the international media mention none of this?
Which brings us back to two most disturbing aspects of Biden’s visit to east Jerusalem. A report on those insults to Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is here: Did Biden’s visit downgrade US recognition of Jerusalem? – analysis,” by Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2022:
…Without saying a word about it, Biden made a nuanced change from his predecessor in Washington’s view on Israel’s capital.
As with all diplomatic visits, most of the action took place in Jerusalem, in which Prime Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog made sure to call Israel’s “eternal capital” in their remarks at different events with Biden.
Notably, they did not call Jerusalem Israel’s “undivided capital,” as their predecessors often did, which is just as well, because Biden seemed determined to divide the city if not in his words, then in actions and policies.…
Weeks before Biden flew to Israel, word of his plan to visit a Palestinian hospital in east Jerusalem made waves in Israel. The president did not want any Israelis accompanying him on his trip.
On Friday, when “the Beast,” Biden’s armored limousine, drove up to the Augusta Victoria hospital in east Jerusalem on Friday, it was festooned with two American flags on it. This came in contrast to the Beast’s flags the day before, at the President’s Residence, where it had a US flag and an Israeli flag.
Biden’s refusal to allow Israelis to visit along with him and his change of flags signaled he does not recognize Israeli sovereignty or authority in that part of Jerusalem.…
One should not, however, make the mistake of thinking that it downgrades Jerusalem. The hospital Biden visited on Friday is near the Mount of Olives, which has been a Jewish cemetery for 3,000 years and is still in use. The Mount of Olives overlooked the Old City of Jerusalem, home to two Jewish Temples. Jerusalem is still, and will always be, the historic capital of the Jewish People and, therefore, of the Jewish State.
The historic, and undivided capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. And it will remain so, no matter what the Bidenites may be inveigled into thinking by the likes of Mahmoud Abbas.