By Rachel Avraham
The Talmud says, “Whoever destroys a soul, it is as if he has destroyed the world entire. Whoever saves a soul, it is as if he saved the world entire.”
Some have argued that one can judge a nation based on how it treats women and girls. However, I believe this also extends to how a society treats its doctors. After all, a society that does not invest properly in healthcare yet spends a lot of money on encouraging terrorism will not be a society that encourages the sanctity of human life. Likewise, a society that represses half of its population cannot be considered a free and liberated nation.
Recently, Save the West interviewed a Palestinian female doctor from Gaza, who claimed that the whole system in Gaza is terrible, and this adversely affects the medical system there: “Sometimes you need connections to get health services and many things. If you don’t have connections in Gaza, your life will be difficult. I have no connections. I am from a simple family. My life was harder than my colleagues, who are connected with Fatah and Hamas. They had more opportunities than me.”
The Gazan doctor added that in Shifa Hospital, the main hospital in Gaza, there are only four or five operation rooms: “You cannot imagine how bad the situation is there. During the war, we had injured people staying outside and only allowed the most severely injured into the operation room. As a result of telling injured people to wait and wait, they lost their limbs. The situation is horrible.”
Another Palestinian female doctor from Judea and Samaria claimed that although the situation is not as bad there, the conditions are still deplorable in Palestinian hospitals there, stressing that the doctors are given a very low salary and are not provided with comparable living conditions that doctors in the West enjoy. She claimed that the Palestinian doctors in the Palestinian Authority very much want to improve the medical system, but the Palestinian Authority is holding them back.
“All hospitals have stayed the same since the 1980s and 1990s,” she stressed. “Jenin has one hospital. Ramallah has one hospital. There are thousands of people who need treatment and not enough beds, MRIs, and CTs. It’s not enough for the people there.”
For the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and Gaza, this reality has had dire consequences. A 2017 study found that the Palestinian Authority and Gaza Strip have the highest burden of mental health disorders in the entire Eastern Mediterranean region. In 2019, the World Health Organization found that one in five people in conflict and post-conflict settings suffers from depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. A poorly funded medical system only exacerbates this mental health crisis.
According to a report published by the World Health Organization, Israelis who live over the green line have a nine-year greater life expectancy than their Palestinian counterparts in the PA. They also have a six times lower infant mortality rate than Palestinians in the PA, and maternal mortality is nine times higher among Palestinians than it is among Israelis living over the green line.
If one is comparing the Gazan statistics to those of the average Israeli in Tel Aviv, I believe the gap is even greater. While the World Health Organization likes to blame Israel for these statistics, claiming that they are the so-called “occupying power,” I believe that the blame for this reality lies elsewhere.
The truth of the matter is that both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have chosen to invest in terrorism rather than the health of their own people. As Palestinian doctors face dismal working conditions, Palestinian terrorists who were either freed or are still incarcerated were paid over $157 million in salaries in 2020 alone, which Palestinian Media Watch claims accounts for 3.25% of the PA annual budget.
According to reports in the media, the Palestinian Authority also has a Martyrs Fund for the families of terrorists that were killed while engaging in terror attacks. This Martyrs Fund provides monthly salaries, free education, medical care and much more, meaning that the Palestinian Authority in total could be paying way over $157 million in supporting terrorism in 2020 alone.
If this money were utilized to improve the healthcare in Gaza and Judea and Samaria, imagine how much better the health of the average Palestinian could be. For that same amount of money, more hospitals could be built. Additional wards could be added onto the already existing hospitals. More personnel could be hired. And the Palestinians could purchase badly needed equipment and tools to deal with corona, cancer, heart failures, mental health problems, and a variety of other health issues. This would thus significantly increase the life expectancy of the average Palestinian, as well as the quality of life for the people living there.
Sadly, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have demonstrated time and again that they value terrorists, not doctors, even as the corona pandemic finally shows signs of abating.
Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan – who.int
Palestinian Authority Paid Terrorist Salaries Of More Than $150 Million In 2020 – I24NEWS.tv
Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working for the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, which is run by Mendi Safadi, a former Likud Candidate for the Knesset and a former chief of staff of former Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara. Since 2012, she has been working as an Israel-based journalist and writer, covering Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other developments in the greater Islamic world.
Her articles have appeared in the Washington Times, the Hill, Front Page Magazine, the Daily Wire, the Christian Post, the Baltimore Jewish Times, the Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, Ahval and many other publications across the globe. She received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She got her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.
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