IMA calls to establish int'l field hospital in Gaza
As Hamas refuses Israel's offer to treat Gaza's civilian patients in Israeli hospitals, Israel Medical Association wishes to establish hospital within Gaza to treat them.
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
As Hamas has refused the Israeli government's offer to treat Gaza's civilian wounded and ill patients in Israeli hospitals, the Israel Medical Association (IMA) has called to establish a field hospital within Gaza to treat them.
IMA chairman Dr. Yoram Blachar, who is also president of the World Medical Association (WMA), wants to persuade international organizations to take this initiative.
Blachar, whose WMA post is ceremonial, called on Dr. Otmar Kloiber - the German secretary-general of the roof body of national medical associations around the world - to persuade international groups to push for such a field hospital.
While Blachar believes there would be no need for such a medical institution if Hamas were willing to let desperately ill and wounded patients to be treated in Israel, the terror organization's refusal "makes a field hospital within Gaza necessary."
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other world bodies, perhaps for political reasons, opposes the setting up of a field hospital, preferring to bolster the existing hospitals in Gaza.
Blachar sent a letter on Wednesday to Kloiber, saying that "the situation in Gaza continues to deeply concern us. There are hundreds of wounded in need of medical care, in addition to the chronically ill who need medical attention.
"We were informed by the Health Ministry in Jerusalem that Israel is willing to accept any number of wounded to Israeli hospitals, but that Hamas is preventing their transfer to Israel. The Rafah crossing to Egypt is closed and to the best of our knowledge there is no significant passage of the ill to Egypt. The few able to leave the Gaza Strip do not alter the general picture there."
Blachar continued that "given this picture, we suggested to Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Avi Yisraeli that Israel allow the erection of a field facility on the border with Gaza to care for the wounded and seriously ill. The ministry agreed."
Until Hamas changes its mind, "we are looking for ways to ameliorate the situation...Therefore, I first and foremost ask the WMA and other international bodies to use their power and authority to call upon Hamas to allow the transfer and treatment of these wounded in Israeli hospitals, as needed.
"However, if Hamas does not heed this call, I ask you and any other body to advance the establishment of a field facility, and I am convinced that the necessary help will be offered by Israel's Health Ministry to facilitate the establishment of this facility," Blachar declared.
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