Families grateful for Palestinian 'gesture of love'

The family of Ahmed el-Hatib, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy mistakenly killed by soldiers who saw him carrying a toy they thought was a weapon, will receive a special NIS 10,000 grant from the ADI organization after donating his organs for transplant. The Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel in Petah Tikva said it was performing four transplants of organs taken from the Palestinian boy. The heart was transplanted to a 12-year-old girl from the Druze village of Peki'in; the liver was going to a 7-month-old Jewish boy from Acre; and a kidney each was being transplanted to a four-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy - one Jewish and one Arab. Twelve-year-old Samah Gadban had been waiting for a heart for five years when doctors called her family late Saturday and told them of the donation. By Sunday afternoon, Gadban had a new heart and was recovering at Schneider. Samah's mother sat by her bed holding her hand, while her father, Riad Gadban, juggled phone calls from friends and relatives in the cardiac intensive care unit's waiting room. "This morning, I did not know anything about the boy. I only knew that the doctors said they had a heart," Gadban said. He heard Ahmed's story while his daughter was in surgery. "I don't know what to say. It is such a gesture of love." Samah's family will invite the el-Hatib family to a party they plan to throw when she leaves the hospital, Gadban said. "I want to thank him and his family. With their gift, I would like for them to think that my daughter is their daughter," Gadban said. ADI, which registers potential organ donors, is working to establish a state fund to make grants to families that donate lifesaving organs of their loved ones. Meanwhile, Acting Finance Minister Ehud Olmert spoke to the boy's father on the phone and invited the family to Jerusalem to receive his sympathy on the tragic death, which didn't prevent the family from "donating organs to save others' lives and bring the two nations closer together." He said many Israelis were very moved by the family's willingness to make the donation despite its loss. Olmert told the father he was sure the "gesture will contribute to producing an atmosphere of deeper connection and goodwill between Israelis and Palestinians." AP contributed to this report.