IDF provides emergency medical care to Gaza infant

An IDF (Zahal) medical team transported a Palestinian newborn with a congenital heart defect to the Sheba Medical Center in Israel for emergency treatment

Date: 04/04/2013, 5:21 PM     Author: Yair Barzilai

An IDF (Zahal) medical team transported a Palestinian newborn from Gaza into Israel for emergency medical treatment on Tuesday (April 2). The infant was born a few days earlier with a severe congenital heart defect that put him in life-threatening condition.   IDF (Zahal) authorities decided to transfer the infant for acute treatment at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in central Israel.

The transfer was arranged by the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Authority (CLA) – the IDF (Zahal) unit responsible for coordinating all civilian operations vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip.

“I received a call from the representative of the Palestinian Health Department requesting a transfer and medical assistance,” said Maj. Monir Nabawani, the CLA officer who supervised the transfer through the Erez crossing.

The tiny patient was placed inside a mobile incubator and connected to an artificial breathing apparatus inside an ambulance that transported him and an accompanying family member to the hospital in Israel.

IDF provides emergency medical care to Gaza infant

Maj. Nabawani explained that providing medical assistance to Palestinian patients is a daily routine. “Every day we help five to eight patients access free medical services in Israel,” a fact, he pointed out, that is not often publicized in the international media outlets’ coverage of the region.

The infant’s condition was sufficiently life threatening to demand a transfer through the Erez crossing despite the danger posed by rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

“”We have had a few difficult days dealing with repeated aggression from Gaza, but that did not influence our judgment in offering medical care to those Palestinians in need,” Maj. Nabawani noted. “Ultimately we are dealing with human beings, and we don’t differentiate between Israeli citizens and Palestinians when they are in need,” he said.

Doctors have cared for the infant who is now in stable condition at Sheba Medical Center where he remains for further treatment.

As the rocket fire from Gaza continued today, Maj. Nabwani expressed hope that each patient treated would bring a change in the attitude of Palestinians across the border, and perhaps also, peace a little closer. “Maybe the patients receiving medical assistance will perceive Israel without the falsely manipulated image they are taught by the authority in Gaza,” he said. “It’s a small hope, but we will continue to help regardless. It’s what we are fundamentally taught to do as Israeli citizens, and as soldiers in the IDF (Zahal),” he added.