The Palestinian propagandists have just claimed that Israel is responsible for the death from cancer of an incarcerated terrorist. And this absurd charge was not too absurd to be taken seriously by some major news services. This is reported on here: “Media Parrots Palestinian Authority, Blames Israel for Cancer,” by Chaim Lax, Algemeiner, December 23, 2022:
On December 20, 2022, the Israeli Prison Service announced that Nasser Abu Hamid (51) had passed away in custody as a result of lung cancer.
Abu Hamid was one of the most notorious terrorists to emerge from the Second Intifada.
One of the founders of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorist organization, Abu Hamid was responsible for the deaths of seven Israelis (either by directly taking part in their murders or coordinating them from a distance), and was also convicted on numerous counts of attempted murder. In addition, Abu Hamid was known for taking part in the infamous 2000 lynching of two Israeli reservists in Ramallah.
The lynching of two Israeli reservists was one of the most grisly displays of Palestinian bloodlust. The two Israeli reservists took a wrong turn, and ended up in Ramallah, where they were seized and dragged to the second floor of the police station. There they were butchered, to the glad cries of the crowd assembled below. Their entrails were pulled out. And those who had performed these acts appeared at the window, holding up their bloody hands to the cheers of the maddened crowd. And Abu Hamid was one of those who did the butchering.
What is remarkable is that despite his record of multiple murders, Abu Hamid was captured alive by the IDF, exercising superhuman restraint.
Abu Hamid previously served time in Israeli prison for killing five Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel. but was later released as part of the Oslo peace process.
Following the announcement of his death in a Tel Aviv-area hospital, some Palestinian officials blamed Israel for Abu Hamid’s demise. Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh accused Israel of “deliberate medical negligence,” while Hamas claimed that Abu Hamid’s death was a “serious crime.”
In response to Abu Hamid’s death, a general strike was called in major Palestinian centers in the West Bank, and protest rallies were held in both the West Bank and Gaza.
Of course, Mohammed Shtayyeh, the PA Prime Minister, had not a shred of evidence that Israel was guilty of “deliberate medical negligence.” But so what? Throw the charge out into the ether, whip up the Palestinian street, and let the riots begin. And so they did.
Unfortunately, lung cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer for both Israelis and Palestinians. In Israel, lung cancer is the number one cancer cause of death (with the highest mortality rates among men), while lung cancer is the most fatal type of cancer for Palestinian men.
Of course, the claim that Abu Hamid’s death from late-stage lung cancer was the result of deliberate medical negligence on the part of Israel is absurd, and only serves to inflame tensions and raise the likelihood of regional violence.
Most international media outlets quoted Palestinian officials’ claims, as well as the Israeli Prison Service’s response that there was no negligence and that Abu Hamid had received “close and regular treatment” by Israeli medical personnel since his 2021 diagnosis.
Several media organizations, however, failed to record the Israeli Prison Service’s response, seemingly giving more weight and authority to the absurd claims of “deliberate neglect” by Palestinian officials and political leaders.
For example, the AFP’s article, “Palestinians protest death of prisoner in Israel,” only mentions in passing that Abu Hamid was being treated by Israel (without mentioning the Prison Service’s statement on the quality of care that he was receiving), while giving full voice to the absurd allegations made by Palestinian leaders about his death.
To repeat the charges of the Palestinians, but without quoting the statement from Israel’s Prison Service that it provided “close and regular treatment” since Abu Hamid was first diagnosed with lung cancer in August of 2021, is unacceptable. Doesn’t Israel have a right to be heard? Wouldn’t a good reporter include that in his story?
Furthermore, far-left news source Democracy Now! presented Palestinian claims without even mentioning Abu Hamid’s treatment by Israeli medical personnel or relaying the Israeli Prison Service’s statement.
Democracy Now simply repeats the Palestinian charge, but fails to report that Abu Hamid was receiving any treatment at all, leaving the impression that the Israelis were intent on letting him die when they did their utmost to prolong his life.
The Associated Press’ otherwise reasonable coverage of the death notes that “Abu Hamid’s death came as one of the deadliest years in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in recent decades draws to a close,” seemingly connecting his death from cancer to the uptick in violence between Israeli security forces and violent Palestinian groups.
While the Palestinian Authority appears hellbent on using Abu Hamid’s death to incite further violence, his death from natural causes is completely unconnected to the rise in violence that was already taking place.
Therefore, instead of contributing to the Palestinian incitement and inflaming a volatile situation, media organizations should avoid parroting unfounded allegations made by Palestinian officials and political leaders without providing their audience with the Israeli response to these claims.
The media ought at the very least to have reported Israeli claims that there had been “no negligence” and that Abu Hamid had received “close and regular treatment” by Israeli medical personnel since his 2021 diagnosis. But in fact, it ought to have done much more.
Here is what, in an ideal world, conscientious reporters would have provided, as a long but fitting addendum to their accounts of the death of Nasser Abu Hamid:
Many leaders of the PA, and Hamas, and their relatives, have demanded and received treatment by Israeli doctors in Israeli hospitals. The PA propagandist Saeb Erekat spent his life denouncing Israel and Israelis. But when he came down with Covid-19, he insisted on being treated at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, where he received – as he knew he would – a standard of care unobtainable in Palestinian hospitals. He worked tirelessly not only to delegitimize, but to try to destroy Israel by means of economic strangulation through his unending promotion worldwide of the BDS campaign. He accused Israel of being an “apartheid” country, actively supported the “resistance” (a euphemism for Palestinian terrorism, which aims to kill Israelis), 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.
The Jerusalem-based Sheikh Ikrima Sabri behaved the same way. For years, he spewed vicious propaganda and anti-Israeli 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 then returned to defaming Israel and inciting violence and terrorism against Jews.
There are many other examples of this moral double standard, and the Hamas and PIJ leadership continue to send hundreds of sick Palestinians to Israeli hospitals for complicated medical procedures.
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 command and attack 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, training and hiring competent doctors and nurses, buying needed medical equipment, but instead on placing tens of thousands of missiles and rockets inside schools, mosques, infirmaries, creating a vast underground system of attack tunnels and fortified bunkers, and paying for weaponry – all of that requires money that could have gone to improving medical care for the Palestinians. It was their choice to invest so much of their aid money in terror rather than in medical care.
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 special medical care that they receive from Israel. You won’t find any mention of these patients in the Palestinian press.
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 now 78 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. 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.
It is the same with leaders of Hamas. Here are some more examples of how the “genocidal” Israelis treat members of the truly genocidal terror groups dedicated to Israel’s destruction:
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 hospital.
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. Naturally he arranged for all of them to be treated by Israeli doctors in Israeli hospitals.
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. Then, 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 Israeli medicine. And like them, after having his life saved, Sinwar went immediately back 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 medical treatment from Jews and still want those Jews dead.
It’s not only the leaders of Hamas and the PA who want themselves and their relatives to be treated by Israeli doctors, Israeli doctors also labor to save Israeli Arab children who get the best treatment in the Middle East. And then there are the Arabs who come from all over the Middle East, especially when the condition to be treated is particularly complicated, as with pediatric heart surgery. Many of them, including Palestinian children with heart conditions, are treated by those doctors for free.
That’s what should be pointed out to those who now so cynically insist that Israel is responsible for the death, by incurable lung cancer, of Nasser Abu Hamid.