Abbas: Within a year, no Palestinian will need treatment in Israel

“Infants and children are dying. They are not getting the treatment they are supposed to get,” Dr. Raz Somech from Sheba Medical Center told the Jerusalem Post last month.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed that within a year no Palestinian patient would need to receive medical treatment abroad.
“I told the Minister of Health that within a year, there must inevitably be no patient being treated abroad. Do we lack the skills? I do not think this is a valid argument… and if we lack the equipment, [the need] will be met immediately,” Abbas said while inaugurating a private hospital in Ramallah according to the Palestinian News Agency Wafa.
“I don’t want any Palestinian to be treated neither in Israel nor in America, as long as the [doctor] who will treat him/her in America is here now, and as long as we have the machine and the equipment. Do we lack for anything? We lack for nothing,” the PA president stated.
Earlier this year, the Palestinian Authority announced that as of March 26, 2019, it would stop providing its citizens with medical treatment in Israel.
More than 20,000 permits were 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 last year, 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 PA’s move followed the Israeli decision to withhold $138 million in tax money from the PA, which is the implementation of the Jewish state’s “Pay-for-Slay” law that instructs it to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of “martyrs” from the tax money Israel collects for the authority.
The law was passed in July 2018 and was approved for implementation by Israel’s security cabinet this year.
Since then, multiple reports have pointed out that the Palestinian Territories are experiencing a dramatic medical emergency, with countless patients unable to get vital treatments.
“Infants and children are dying. They are staying in their villages or cities, and they are not getting the treatment they are supposed to get,” Dr. Raz Somech, the director of general pediatrics at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, told the Post last month.
“I continually receive notifications of children who have died in the Palestinian Authority, children that we regularly [could have] saved at Sheba,” he continued. “It’s a tragedy that is happening now, and no solution appears to be in sight.”
Sheba has treated 150,000 West Bank and Gazan Palestinians since the Six Day War, a spokesperson for the hospital told The Jerusalem Post.
However, Abbas did not seem to acknowledge any of these difficulties.
“We have been a highly qualified people for a long time, for 90 years, and our Palestinian youth have been working and receiving education everywhere, both in the Arab world and in the non-Arab world,” Abbas further said during the inauguration of H-Clinic Hospital.
The last comprehensive study regarding the treatment of Palestinians in Israeli hospitals was released by the Knesset in 2017. That report, which covered a five-year period ending in 2015, showed that during those years, 42,314 Palestinians received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Of those treated, 15,831 were hospitalized and treated for the full spectrum of medical needs. Half of those hospitalized were children, most of whom received oncological or hemo-oncological treatment.
According to Wafa, H-Clinic offered more than 40 specialized departments.