Palestinian Leaders Want Israel Destroyed — Until They Need a Doctor
The coronavirus-related death of senior Palestinian figure Saeb Erekat in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital has rekindled a debate in Israeli society about medicine and morality, and the Palestinians’ cynicism and ingratitude in their relations with Israel.
Erekat, whom I knew personally, is a perfect example: he worked tirelessly not only to delegitimize, but to try to destroy Israel by means of economic strangulation through his unending promotion worldwide of the BDS campaign. He accused Israel of being an “apartheid” country, actively supported the “resistance” (a euphemism for Palestinian terrorism, which aims to kill Israelis), called for a tsunami of millions of “returning Palestinian refugees” to overwhelm Israel and demographically destroy it as the homeland of the Jewish people, and advocated ending coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Still, he was never rebuked by any Western government or human rights organization. In fact, Erekat was treated no differently than other members of the PA and Hamas who openly support and coordinate terrorism and indoctrinate their children with poisonous antisemitic curricula — often subsidized by European governments and large left leaning US foundations.
Given his past behavior, it’s ironic that Erekat would look to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Israel’s capital city for help in his coronavirus plight.
The Jerusalem-based Sheikh Ikrima Sabri behaved the same way. For years, he spewed vicious propaganda and anti-Israeli and anti-American incitement from his pulpit. But when he urgently needed heart surgery, his first choice was — the Zionist-run Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The Jewish doctors saved Sabri’s life, and he returned to defaming Israel and inciting violence and terrorism against Jews.
There are many other examples of this moral double standard, and every month the Hamas and PIJ leadership send hundreds of sick Palestinians to Israeli hospitals for complicated medical procedures.
It is interesting that there are so many terrorists among the Arab medical establishment that has made such a prominent contribution to terrorism and murder. Ayman Zawahiri, a medical doctor, was one of the original founders of Al-Qaeda; Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi was a senior Hamas figure and a physician, as is Mahmoud al-Zahar (a surgeon) and Ibrahim al-Yazouri, (a pharmacist); all of them terrorist operatives to the core. But instead of fostering a modern Palestinian public health system, and building new hospitals and improving the quality of medicine in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders invest the international community’s ‘”humanitarian assistance” money in positioning missile arrays inside United Nations schools and infirmaries, building a network of underground command and attack tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip, and fortifying the bunkers they constructed under Shifaa Hospital in Gaza City.
It is no wonder, then, that the Palestinian public health system cannot deal with complicated medical problems and sends its difficult cases to Israeli hospitals. In 2014, the wife of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas was treated in Israel. In 2018, an Israeli specialist was sent to Ramallah to treat Abbas himself, resulting in a dramatic improvement in his health. Over the years Israel has provided medical care for the relatives of the Hamas and PA leaders, whose main pastime is to spend their days thinking about and planning how to destroy the State of Israel.
One of the scandalous absurdities arising from Israel’s unparalleled humanitarian policies toward the very terrorist groups trying to destroy the Jewish state — never reported in the Western media — is that the very same terrorist organizations have tried to turn some of its patients into suicide bombers. For example, in 2005 Hamas sent a Gaza woman named Samir Ibrahim Bas to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for life-saving treatments. But Hamas secretly padded her under-clothing with 20 pounds of high-powered explosives so she could blow up the doctors treating her in the Israeli hospital.
Beyond the medical treatments given to the very terrorists sworn to destroy the Jewish state, Israel opened up a field hospital on its Syrian border in the Golan Heights to treat those seeking help. The Israeli doctors and nurses asked no questions of any of the hundreds of wounded. The patients included soldiers from the hostile Syrian Army — still technically at war with Israel.
It was thus ironic that in the past two weeks, at the same exact Golan Heights site where Israel operated the field hospital treating wounded Syrians, Israeli soldiers found a system of IEDs set to kill an IDF patrol.
In Israel, we know the truth. For example, in October 2014, just two months after Hamas started a war with Israel in which it launched more than 10,000 missiles at civilian targets, Sarah Haniyeh, the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, was treated at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital following complications she suffered in a Gaza hospital. Around the same time, but unreported, Hamas leader Haniyeh’s mother-in-law and granddaughter also left Gaza for treatment in Israeli hospitals.
The parade of Hamas murderers, kidnappers, and genocidal Jew-hating terrorists who find no moral contradiction in seeking medical help from the very people they are sworn to wipe out boggles the mind. But then again, mass murderers usually don’t have guilty consciences.
Another absurdity that separates Israeli medicine from Palestinian cynicism and hypocrisy is the example of terrorist Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, who, while imprisoned in Israel in 2007, was operated on to have a brain tumor removed. Now, having been released in 2011 in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, he continues to furiously beat the Hamas drum for more and more missiles, and more and more killings.
At present, Hamas holds Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers hostage in unthinkable conditions. No one knows where they are, their conditions, or whether they are even alive. Hamas refuses to let the Red Cross visit them. At the same time, convicted Palestinian terrorist murderers go on hunger strikes in Israeli jails, secure in the knowledge that they can rely on the oath sworn by their Jewish doctors, which the terrorists cynically leverage for their own ends, to get effective “get out of jail free cards.”
Yet Israel is cast as the real impediment to peace.
The difference between the Hippocratic Oath and the hypocritical oath sworn by the Palestinians when they join the terrorist organizations is not the spelling. They invest in weapons and tunnels instead of hospitals, and explosives instead of medicines.
The Palestinian murder doctrine is not meant to bring healing or peace, but to sow death. Hamas’ missiles in UNRWA infirmaries, the Red Crescent ambulances used to transport terrorists and the Hamas bunkers under Shifa Hopsital all give witness to that awful truth. It’s time to put a stop to this lunacy.
IPT Senior Fellow Reuven Berko holds a Ph.D. in Middle East studies, specializing in Arab and Islamic Affairs. He served as the Adviser on Arab Affairs to the Jerusalem district police. Berko is a frequent commentator on major Arabic satellite programs and an analyst for the Arabic Affairs program on Israeli TV. He writes for a broad range of Israeli and Arab newspapers and is considered one of Israel’s top experts on Arab affairs.
A version of this article was originally published by The Investigative Project on Terrorism.