(Image courtesy Pixabay)

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

An entire population in the Middle East has been banned by their own government from seeking any medical treatment in Israeli hospitals, which are among the best in the world

Bassam Tawil, a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East, wrote at the Gatestone Institute about the new hindrance to health care.

The Palestinian Authority has banned residents of the Gaza Strip from getting medical treatment in Israel.

“Last March, the PA Ministry of Health in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, announced that it was halting medical transfers to Israeli hospitals and promised to find alternatives for Palestinian patients in private and government hospitals,” the report said.

The PA made the move as part of its protest against the Israeli government’s new policy allowing deductions from payments to the PA because of its sponsorship of terrorists and prisoners.

The PA’s “Pay for Slay” funding of terrorists families was the focus of the move.

“One report estimated that the PA spent no less than 502 million shekels [USD $141 million; 126 million euros] of its 2018 budget on salaries and payments to terrorist prisoners and released inmates. At least 230 million shekels [$65 million; 58 million euros] were paid in salaries to terrorist prisoners, while another 176 million shekels [$48 million; 44 million euros] were paid in salaries to terrorists after they were released from prison, the report revealed. The remaining 96 million shekels [$27 million; 24 million euros] covers additional salary payments and other benefits to the terrorists and their families,” the Gatestone report said.

Now Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas apparently has decided to punish anyone in Gaza who needs medical treatment.

“Osama al-Najjar, spokesman for the PA Ministry of Health, said that the PA government has decided to stop funding medical treatment for Palestinian patients in Israeli hospitals in response to the Israeli deduction of the allowances paid to the terrorists and their families. Al-Najjar estimated the cost of the medical transfers to Israeli hospitals at $100 million each year,” the report said.

Tawil reported Fathi Sabbah, a Palestinian journalist, called the move “dangerous because the patients are being denied the right to receive medical treatment that is not available in Palestinian hospitals.”

He also warned, “The Jordanian and Egyptian hospitals will not be able to deal with these patients with the required professional medical care, and the patients will be forced to return to the starting point and undergo new medical tests.”

That will mean more suffering and more expenses, he explained.

“The journey from the Gaza Strip to Cairo lasts two to three days, while the return trip takes three or four days. This means that cancer patients will spend a whole week to get a dose of chemotherapy, while it takes only one day or a few hours to get the same treatment in Israel,” he said.

There is an exception to the ban, however.

It’s for senior Palestinian officials, the Gatestone report noted.

“Last week, Jibril Rajoub, a senior official with Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank, was admitted to Ichilov Hospital, the largest acute care facility in Israel. Rajoub, who also heads the Palestinian Football Association and previously spent 17 years in Israeli prison for terror-related offenses, was rushed to the hospital for urgent medical treatment despite the PA’s decision to ban Palestinian patients from receiving medical treatment in Israel,” the report said.

Tawil continued: “Rajoub is not the first or last senior Palestinian official to seek medical treatment in some of Israel’s best hospitals. In 2017, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, who has accused Israel of ‘genocide,’ checked into Israel’s Beilinson Medical Center for treatment after he underwent a lung transplant in the U.S.”

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