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July 11, 2014 8:01 am

Despite Rocket Attacks, 23 Palestinians, Including Eight Gazan Children, Are Undergoing Treatment in Israeli Hospitals

avatar by Aryeh Savir / Tazpit News Agency

Haifa's Rambam Hospital. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Despite ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza leaving most of Israel’s population under threat, the Jewish state’s Rambam Health Care Campus is currently treating a number of Gazan patients including three adults and eight children, and three adults and two children from the Palestinian Authority.

In addition, Haifa hospital is hosting seven patients from the PA for treatment in outpatient clinics, and additional patients from Gaza are scheduled for treatments later this week.

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. Even in times of war we continue to receive patients and give them the care they need – children and adults.”

However, while the medical routine is being maintained, Israel’s current Operation Protective Edge aimed at stemming the rocket attacks from Gaza has brought a feeling of tension to the air, the hospital said. Falah is in close contact with the Arab patients and said that they feel trapped in a complicated and challenging situation.

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“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 who 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 at the fore. The hospital has become a second home to these patients. Israelis and Palestinians live together due to their sometimes long hospitalizations. 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.”

As the war continues to escalate, both the Haifa and Rambam Hospitals are preparing for possible rocket attacks from Gaza.

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