by Carol Rushton
Arabs have complained for years that Israel kills Arab protesters for simply engaging in peaceful protests. Since Arabs do not have the military forces or weapons to protect themselves like Israel does and can only throw rocks and stones to protect themselves, Israel is wrong to respond with overwhelming brute force which kills many innocent Arab civilians. Besides, if Israel would stop their brutal oppression of the Palestinians, Palestinians would not have to protest by throwing stones, rocks, Molotov cocktails, and anything else they have to draw the world’s attention to their plight.
Where do I begin?
Of course, it is wrong to kill someone without cause. This is murder and is condemned and forbidden in the Sixth Commandment, given to Moses by the Lord God on Mount Sinai as written and recorded in the Torah, the first five books in the Jewish Bible, and also contained in the Christian Bible. Jews started observing this commandment about 3,500 years ago when the Arab countries of Moab, Ammon, Edom, Philistia, and others were sacrificing their children to the pagan gods of Chemosh, Moloch, Ashtaroth, and Baal.
Stones and rocks are lethal weapons when they are thrown at someone or something else. They can cause great injury to another person, including severe brain trauma if the victim is hit in the head by one. If someone was throwing something at you with the intent to do bodily harm or injury to you, would you not want to defend yourself? Yes, you would.
There is a vast difference between peaceful protests and violent rioting. Israeli soldiers must defend themselves as well as the peaceful, law-abiding citizens of Israel, whether these are Jews, Muslims, Christians, or Druze from those who are trying to maim, injure, and/or kill them, just as the United States military or a local police force in our country would be compelled to do the same. This would also include the latest tactic of the Arabs sending burning kites or balloons into Israel from the Gaza Strip or driving cars into crowds of pedestrians on city sidewalks.
The PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, ISIS, and other terrorist groups in the Middle East have plenty of weapons to use against Israel and others. This is proven by the hundreds of times Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists have launched terrorist attacks against Israeli Jews from the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, and Lebanon; the countless suicide bombers who have infiltrated Israel to blow up buses in Tel Aviv, restaurants in downtown Jerusalem, or shooting from their advantage point on the Temple Mount at Israeli policemen below, killing them. Arabs choose not to use these weapons in protests in order to arouse world sympathy toward them by portraying Israel as the “bad guy” by firing at and killing the “poor, defenseless Palestinians” who are just throwing rocks and stones.
If an Israeli soldier is thought to have killed an Arab protester without cause, he is prosecuted by the Israeli justice system. If found guilty, the soldier will spend time in prison. Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for killing an Arab teenager in 2016. The teenager had stabbed an Israeli soldier and had already been shot, lying down on the ground and wounded when Azaria shot him in the head, killing him. Azaria was sentenced to 18 months in prison and served two-thirds of his sentence before being released.
This is in contrast to what happens when an Arab terrorist attack against a Jew is successful. Arabs rejoice, hold parties, and pass out cake and candies in the streets. If the Arab terrorist is killed as a result of the attack, either by blowing himself up or by the Israeli military or police forces killing him, the PLO issues a monthly stipend to the remaining family members as a reward for their sacrifice. The PLO sometimes renames city streets in honor of terrorists. For example, Mohammad Shafik Halabi murdered two Jews in the Old City part of Jerusalem in 2015 but that did not stop the PLO and Halabi’s hometown of Surda-Abu Qash naming a street after him a little over a month after the terrorist attack. Israel National News, October 26, 2015.
Israeli hospitals also often accept Arab patients from the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria who are in dire need of surgeries or medical treatment at little to no charge. The Jerusalem Post reported on this on January 12, 2017 in “Israeli Doctors – Palestinian Children” by Brenda Katten.
Back in the midst of the intifada of 2000, when Palestinian suicide bombers were blowing up Israelis, claiming the lives of over 1,000 civilians, Israeli hospital continued to treat Palestinians.
It was during this period that I was invited by Dr. Yoram Neumann, then-deputy head of the pediatric hemato-oncology department of Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, to meet some of his patients. The department cares for children with cancer and related problems. In this unit a child is prepared for his bone marrow transplant that ultimately could give him a 70% chance of a complete cure. At that time, 20% of the patients were from the Palestinian Authority areas in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.
Today, Neumann is a consultant to the outpatient clinic of the pediatric oncology department at Sheba . . . Currently, 40% of his patients come from Gaza and the West Bank. I looked around at the parents with their children waiting to be seen – many of the youngsters’ faces were bloated by the necessity of steroids given following a bone marrow transplant – children without hair in the midst of treatment yet still able to smile.
For those requiring hospitalization, 24 beds are available in the pediatric malignant oncology unit. On average, 50% of the inpatients are from Gaza and [Judea and Samaria].
Neumann introduced me to a mother from Gaza whose eight-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with an abdominal tumor at the age of one year and three months. The child was operated on at Sheba some three months ago and has remained hospitalized ever since for follow-on treatment. Her mother has been with her for the entire period. Hostel accommodation – at a minimal cost – is provided for the accompanying parents or grandparents.
While Palestinian patients from Judea and Samaria come for treatment and then return home, this is not the case with those from Gaza, which is why it becomes necessary to provide accommodation. Children from Gaza arrive in special ambulances, which are obligated to pass through three checkpoints – Fatah, Hamas and finally Israeli.
Unfortunately, Palestinian children arrive in a far worse condition than those from Israel, primarily because they are not sent here at an early stage of diagnosis.
One of the patients I spoke with was 20-year-old Hela (not her real name) from Jenin. I expressed surprise at finding an adult in the pediatric unit. Neumann explained that there are young adults who have a pediatric-type cancer that can be treated far more successfully in the children’s cancer wing. Hela has been an inpatient since August, having been allowed home recently for one week’s respite. It is her hope to return to college to continue her studies in hospital administration.
During my conversation with Hela, we were joined by a young Palestinian woman from Hebron who helped with translation. A mother of three, her youngest child is currently hospitalized. I asked how it was for her, a Palestinian woman, being in an Israeli hospital. Her immediate response was that she had come to confront the enemy but found a friend. Meeting personally with Israelis has given her a totally different perspective. She spoke warmly of the care given to her child and the support she personally receives.
Neumann pointed out that a frustrating aspect of treating Palestinian children is that there is no knowing how they will fare in the future. The contact ends with the completion of the treatment at the hospital. This is in stark contrast to Neumann’s Israeli patients, whose families remain in touch and are only too ready to share with him how his ex-patient is fairing, which is very heartwarming.
My visit continued . . . I was introduced to Nagah Zaid, the [cardiac intensive care] department’s chief nurse . . . He introduced me to four-year-old Mahmoud and his mother from Hebron. Mahmoud, as with many of the patients in the intensive care unit, is seriously ill.
Zaid went on to tell me about seven-year-old Tasnim from Gaza, who, together with her mother, has spent the past month in the unit following heart failure. She has now returned home, with the requisite medication, awaiting a heart transplant. The unit fought to ensure Tasnim was on the list of those requiring a new heart. Every effort was made to ensure Tasnim was given a chance to live.
At the conclusion of my visit I returned to Neumann and asked for his thoughts on treating patients from Palestinian backgrounds. He answered: “My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I am a doctor who rejoices in helping children – irrespective of their backgrounds. I want to do the best for each and every one. I would dearly love a link with my Arab colleagues. I have trained a number and feel proud to have done so.
“On the other hand, I feel angry at the manner in which the world media projects us – we are portrayed as ‘child killers,’ while here and in hospitals all over the country we are saving Palestinian lives.
“Is it not time that the world recognized the humanitarian work carried out here, in spite of the continued incitement, stabbings, vehicle rammings, and rockets activated against us?” (https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Israeli-doctors-Palestinian-children-478208, accessed July 16, 2018).
In June 2014, Amina Abbas, the wife of PLO President Mahmoud Abbas underwent surgery at an Israeli hospital for a medical procedure on her leg, soon after three Israeli teenagers in Judea and Samaria were kidnapped by Arab terrorists and tensions between Jews and Arabs were sky high. The mother-in-law and granddaughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also received medical treatment at Israeli hospitals as well.
So which group is the more honorable, Arabs or Jews?