Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances [file] 390 (R).
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
A tour of the Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah by Israeli physicians last
Thursday triggered a wave of protests in the city and other parts of the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip.
During the visit, the Israeli physicians were
accompanied by Palestinian Authority Health Minister Fathi Abu Mughli and one of
the medical center’s directors, Ahmed Bitawi.
Workers at the compound
claimed that the Israelis were IDF officers from the Civil Administration of
Judea and Samaria.
They also said that the Israeli delegation was
accompanied by soldiers and IDF vehicles.
Many Palestinians used Facebook
and other social media to post angry comments about the visit. Most of the anger
was directed against the PA for allowing Israelis to enter the medical
A statement issued by the workers accused the PA of engaging in
“normalization” with Israel by allowing the delegation to tour the compound in
Doctors and nurses working there were instructed to meet IDF
officers inside the compound last Thursday, according to the
“We strongly condemn the visit, which is a form of
normalization [with Israel] – something that we are opposed to,” the employees
They called on the PA leadership to hold accountable those behind
the visit of the Israelis.
Dr. Mutasem Muhaisen, who is affiliated with
Fatah and works at the compound, described the decision to host the Israeli team
as irresponsible. The presence of Israelis in the compound was an offense to the
memory of Palestinian “martyrs” who died in clashes with IDF soldiers over the
past few decades, he said.
Abu Mughli, in an interview with the PA’s
Voice of Palestine radio station, denied that the Israelis were IDF officers and
An Israeli medical delegation visited the compound and a
military clinic in Ramallah last Thursday at the request of the Israeli
authorities, he said.
Abu Mughli said that his ministry did not object to
such visits and noted that Palestinian patients were being transferred to
Israeli hospitals on a regular basis.
He added that the PA was prepared
in return to provide medical services to Israelis. “We are not against meetings
with Israeli doctors,” he stressed.
Bitawi also defended the visit,
saying it was part of ongoing cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians in
the medical field.
“The visit has nothing to with political issues,” he
said. “Doctors have a purely humanitarian mission.”
In the Gaza Strip,
Basem Naim, the minister of health in the Hamas government, condemned the visit
of the Israelis to the medical compound, arguing that it was part of the
continued security coordination between Israel and the PA.