A report published recently by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT) shows that 219,464 Palestinian patients received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals during 2012 – 21,270 of them children. These numbers include companions accompanying the patients to Israel.
The numbers show a dramatic increase in Palestinians receiving treatment from Israeli medical professionals. 197,713 Palestinians received medical treatment in Israel in 2011, and 144,838 in 2008.
COGAT, a military unit which is responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policy in Judea and Samaria, stated that: “The Civil Administration, through its health department (HDCA), works closely with the Palestinian Ministry of Health to support the medical needs of the Palestinian population throughout Judea and Samaria.” The HDCA manages all issues relating to Israeli-Palestinian healthcare coordination, primarily the transfer of Palestinian patients to hospitals in Israel.
The HDCA further works to enable professional medical training for Palestinians by the state of Israel, through the encouragement of medical conferences and the training of Palestinian medical staff in Israeli hospitals. Training sessions take place several times a year, initiated by both the HDCA and the Palestinian Authority. In 2012, the Civil Administration paid two million NIS to send Palestinian doctors, nurses, and paramedics for training in Israel. The Civil Administration has also set aside a budget to finance critical medical procedures for patients who are not covered by Palestinian or UNRWA health insurance and are not able to pay privately.
Tazpit’s Anav Silverman reported last year that Suhila Abd el-Salam, the sister of Hamas’ Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyah, accompanied her husband for treatment in Israel. Her husband was admitted to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva for immediate medical treatment regarding a serious heart condition.
Because Gaza hospitals could not properly treat the condition, Haniyah’s sister and her husband requested permission to travel to Israel to receive the necessary medical treatment. This was not the only time that a Gaza resident was treated in Israel. This past March, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was transported to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot after suffering severe burns and shrapnel injuries from an alleged rocket launching pad that was set up in Jabalya, a neighborhood in northern Gaza.
Further, the Palestinian Minister of Health, Dr. Hanni Abadin, visited the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem this past May. The visit was the first of its kind. Dr. Yuval Weiss, director of the hospital, reported that at any given moment there are some 60 Palestinian medical personnel in training at the hospital. Dr. Abadin thanked Hadassah for the opportunity to visit and for its services. He then visited Palestinian children hospitalized at Hadassah and gave them gifts.
The Civil Administration Health Department has announced that it will continue to cooperate closely with its Palestinian counterpart and international organizations in Judea and Samaria to advance healthcare for all residents in the region.