By Aryeh Savir
Rambam Health Care Campus provides medical care to hundreds of patients from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) year round. 650 children and teenagers in were treated in the hospital throughout 2013. Currently, hospitalized patients include 3 adults and 8 children from Gaza, and 3 adults and 2 children from the PA. In addition, this Haifa hospital has 7 patients from the PA being treated in the outpatient clinics. Additional patients from Gaza area are scheduled for treatments later this week. These young patients are further accompanied by relatives.
Medical cooperation between Israel and the PA continues despite the shooting. According to Yazid Falah, the coordinator for Palestinian patients coming to Rambam, “Despite the security situation, and despite the fact that both sides are fighting, all continues as usual in the realm of medical cooperation,” explains Falah, “Even in times of war we continue to receive patients and give them the care they need-children and adults.”
While the medical routine is maintained, the current situation cannot be avoided and there is a feeling of tension in the air, the hospital reports. Falah is in close contact with the Arab patients. He shares that they feel trapped in an impossible situation. “On the one hand they are in Israel and see the consequences of the actions of Hamas and how people get hurt on this side of the border. On the other hand, their families in Gaza are under attack by the IDF and they fear for the lives of their loved ones,” says Falah, “there are those who have told me they are ashamed of what Gaza is doing, and others say they are afraid of how people will talk and look at them here in the hospital. Others have said they are afraid to return to Gaza. Others yet just don’t know what to think. Some have made contact with their families and learned of property damage and casualties near their homes. Those people have a life there and see the kind of life people have here. At the end of the day, they simply want to live in peace, but it is clear to them that the situation has changed. They believe the situation will only to get worse “.
Despite the complications, the human factor remains the winner. The hospital has become a second home to these patients. Israelis and Palestinians literally live together due to the long hospitalizations, as is the case in all Israeli hospitals. Parents and children share rooms, activities, treatments, and begin to develop solid relationships.
“When the hostilities escalated, the Palestinian patients feared a cold reception,” says Falah, “we explained that would never happen in an Israeli hospital. Here you see people and not nationalities. Many times, Israeli patients reach out to their Palestinian “neighbors” to help them feel more comfortable and to encourage them. Eventually, all are in the same boat.”
Tazpit News Agency