Palestinian challenges PA, Greenblatt over daughter's treatment in Israel

Rima's case caught the attention of US Special Representative for International Negotiations and Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
July 15, 2019 16:50
2 minute read.
THE NEW cardiac catheterization lab at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopu

THE NEW cardiac catheterization lab at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus.. (photo credit: HADASSAH SPOKESPERSON)

A Palestinian father has been challenging the Palestinian Authority over denying his daughter treatment in Israel.

Journalist Fathi Sabbah's daughter Rima suffers from a form of blood cancer. She was one of the thousands of Palestinian patients affected by the PA's decision to stop funding medical treatment in Israel for its citizens. The cessation of services went into effect on March 26.

According to the news website Days of Palestine, Sabbah was promised by PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh that he would personally follow Rima's case to make sure that she would receive the treatments she needs. Shtayyeh contacted Sabbah via telephone after he shared his story on Facebook.

However, the medical referral that Rima received to be treated at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem only covered a checkup and not the medications she needed, according to the report.

More than 20,000 permits used to be granted to Palestinians living in the West Bank to enter Israel and receive treatment or support a patient who was receiving treatment in the Jewish state, according to numbers released to The Jerusalem Post by the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in an interview earlier this year. That number was up by nearly 3,000 from the year before.

The coordinated cooperation was put to an end by the PA when Israel implemented the "Pay-for-Slay" Law in February, which instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "martyrs" from the tax money it collects for the PA. Afterward, the authority announced it would stop providing its citizens with medical treatment in Israel, and committed to finding alternative opportunities of healthcare.

Rima's case caught the attention of US Special Representative for International Negotiations and Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt.

"Mr. Shtayyeh, how abt keeping your word & paying for Rima's treatment? The PA has the funds & it would be a wise & compassionate use of them. Mr. Sabbah, my thoughts are w you & your family. I pray Rima will have a full & speedy recovery," Greenblatt wrote in a tweet on Sunday.

However, Sabbah responded to Greenblatt's tweet remarking that "40% of patients in the Gaza Strip and more than 50% of their accompanying relatives are not allowed by Israel to cross the Erez checkpoint to reach the Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank, Jerusalem and even Israeli hospitals. Some patients died before receiving an Israeli permit to pass through."

Sabbah also recalled how in 2017, he was denied the permit to accompany his daughter when she was hospitalized in Hadassah for a bone marrow transplant.

"Mr. Greenblatt: It is true that my daughter Rima suffers greatly from her blood leukemia. As a family, we have had a problem with the PA in financial coverage. But if you were keen on my daughter's life, you would press the Israeli government to allow all Palestinian patients and their relatives to go freely to the hospital," he further wrote.

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.




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