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Where’s the international outcry against Arab apartheid?Where’s the international outcry against Arab apartheid?
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, died this week at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment.
Taha’s tragic case highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in squalid refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care.
Ironically, the boy’s death at the entrance to the hospital coincided with Israeli Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the US, Canada and other countries.
It is highly unlikely that the folks behind the festival have heard about Taha. Judging from past experiences, it is also highly unlikely that they would publicize the case even if they would hear about it.
Why should anyone care about a Palestinian boy who is denied medical treatment by an Arab hospital? The story has no anti-Israel angle to it.
Can anyone imagine what would have happened if an Israeli hospital had abandoned a boy to die in its parking lot because his father did not have $1,500 to pay for his treatment? The UN Security Council would hold an emergency session and Israel would be strongly condemned and held responsible for the boy’s death.
All this is happening at a time when tens of thousands of Palestinian patients continue to benefit from treatment in Israeli hospitals.
Last year alone, some 180,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip entered Israel to receive medical treatment. Many were treated despite the fact that they did not have enough money to cover the bill.
In Israel, even a suicide bomber who is only (!) wounded while trying to kill Jews is entitled to the finest medical treatment. And there have been many instances where Palestinians who were wounded in attacks on Israel later ended up in some of Israel’s best hospitals.
Lebanon, by the way, is not the only Arab country that officially applies apartheid laws against Palestinians, denying them proper medical treatment and the right to own property.
Just last week it was announced that a medical center in Jordan has decided to stop treating Palestinian cancer patients because the Palestinian Authority has failed to pay its debts to the center.
Other Arab countries have also been giving the Palestinians a very hard time when it comes to receiving medical treatment.
It is disgraceful that while Israel admits Palestinian patients to its hospitals, Arab hospitals are denying them medical treatment for various reasons, including money. But then one is reminded that Arab dictators do not care about their own people, so why should they pay attention to an 11-year-old boy who is dying at the entrance to a hospital because his father didn’t have $1,500 handy? But as the death took place in an Arab country – and as the victim is an Arab – why should anyone care about him? Where is the outcry against Arab apartheid?