Debunking Palestinian Authority’s Incitement, Eastern Jerusalem Doctor Denies Allegations of Discrimination Against Arabs

By Baruch Yedid/TPS • 5 April 2020
Photo by TPS

Arab doctors from the Al-Makassed and Augusta Victoria hospitals in eastern Jerusalem have recently alleged in interviews with the media that the Israeli Ministry of Health has ordered the transfer of Arab patients only to their hospitals and does not allow their hospitalization in Israel, although the eastern Jerusalem hospitals are not equipped with respiratory systems.

Foreign media outlets and Palestinian Authority (PA) television interviewed medical officials at these hospitals and heard from them complaints of racism and neglect of Arab patients, and an extensive investigative article is slated to be broadcast on PA TV in the coming days in which they will say that this is a discriminatory and deliberate policy.

The allegations come as the PA condemned the arrest of Jerusalem’s Minister of Affairs Faddy Al-Hadmi by Jerusalem’s police after operating within the city’s limits, in contravention of a law prohibiting the PA’s activities in Jerusalem.

The PA’s Health Minister Mai al-Kaila on Saturday condemned the arrest of the minister and claimed he was “forced to wear a blood-stained mask during his arrest,” in a move described as a “war crime.”

The Al Quds newspaper accused Israel that despite its claims of sovereignty over the eastern part of the city, it discriminates against residents in the eastern part of the city and prevents the PA from tending to them.

However, contrary to the doctors’ claims, a senior doctor at Al-Makassed told TPS that “there is no discrimination between Jews and Muslims or Christians. Cooperation with Israel in routine, and especially now, is positive, even though the entire world is unprepared.”

The doctor expressed regret “for things that are advertised in the media that are contrary to the already harsh reality.” The doctor said that Israel transferred several respirators to the hospital on the Mount of Olives, and that the hospital maintains direct, daily contact with the Israeli Health Ministry’s “Corona Headquarters.”

“Israel, like the world, is not prepared for a mass outbreak and the virus is challenging us all,” the doctor said.

A spokesman for the Israeli Health Ministry told TPS in response to the allegations that “there is not a word of truth in any of the claims made here. Residents of eastern Jerusalem are sent to all hospitals in the country and do not require approval or permission from anyone, like all other residents of the State of Israel.”

Speaking about the lack of respiratory machinery, the spokesman said that “all three eastern city hospitals have respirators.”

Last week, hospital administrators in eastern Jerusalem held a conference call with the PA’s Health Minister and its Minister of Jerusalem to coordinate the activities. At the meeting, it was agreed that Al-Makassed and St. Joseph’s hospitals will receive Coronavirus patients while cancer patients and others will be referred to the Augusta Victoria Hospital, and the Red Crescent will assist with the patients’ mobility.

Eastern Jerusalem hospitals are preparing for the hospitalization of Coronavirus patients as many residents complain of crowds at many centers in the eastern neighborhoods, including at mosques and shopping centers.

There is a serious fear in the east of the city of mass infection due to breach of the lockdown and an assessment of health officials in Israel that the number of people infected in the east of the city is particularly high.

TPS has learned that the Al-Makassed and Augusta Victoria hospitals have prepared wards for the hospitalization of Corona patients and are expected to receive many patients. To this end, much medical equipment was transferred from Israel, including respirators.