Thursday, March 12, 2009

Choking on My Falafel 2

In my 14 January post, Choking on My Falafel, I wrote:-

"I cannot document this. Channel 10's website doesn't even bother with a summary account of its 5 pm news bulletin, let alone a transcript. Yet, this is what I saw on its 12/1/09 evening news: overseas correspondent Danielle Isdale was standing in the grounds of a hospital in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Two Palestinian (?) patients, allegedly from Gaza, whose cuts and bruises had been lovingly attended to by hospital staff, were out in what appeared to be the hospital's garden, smiling beatifically in gratitude as a small group of Israeli musicians (I seem to remember a guitarist and a violinist among them) serenaded them. I was so gobsmacked I can't remember anything Danielle said, but thanks to her and Channel 10, Israel's beautiful soul was there for all to see."

Now comes a 9 March press release from Israeli human rights watchdog B'Tselem, headed Palestinian patients should not be used as political tools by both the Palestinian Authority or the Israeli government.

It reads: "Following the decision of the PA in Ramallah to stop all financial coverage for the medical treatment of Palestinian patients in Israeli hospitals, and given the policy of the Government of Israel (GOI) to insist on conditioning access to healthcare for Palestinians in Israel on financial coverage from the PA, PHR-Israel, PCHR, Gisha and B'Tselem protest the use of Palestinian patients as political tools by the PA and the GOI. In January 2009, after the end of the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, the PA cancelled financial coverage for all medical care for Palestinians in Israeli hospitals, including coverage for chronically ill Palestinian patients, and those in need of complex care that is not available in other tertiary medical centers in the region. The result has been that an estimation of hundreds of Palestinian patients who were in the middle of long-term treatment regimes in Israel, including cancer patients in need of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, found their treatments interrupted with no alternatives."

The press release goes on to remind us that as the Occupying Power, Israel, not the PA, "bears overall responsibility for the protection of the right to health of the Palestinians, including free access to health services in the territories it occupies." The entire press release can be viewed at

So here's the context you didn't get from Channel 10's story: the PA was footing the bill for those two patients (thus relieving Israel of its obligation under international law to provide for them!) while Israel was exploiting them for propaganda purposes as a diversion from its slaughter in the Gaza Strip. Beautiful Israel indeed. And Channel 10? Well, what do you expect?

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