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`A Security Risk` Doesn`t Hold Water`
[Editor`s comment (VB) : The literal translation of the Hebrew title is `A Security Risk Is Leg-less`, which in Hebrew means `baseless`]
by Prof. Rafi Walden
Yediot Ahronot print edition 30-07-07
Hebrew text can be found in
Translated by Judith Green
Allah Oudeh, 25, a member of the security forces of Fatah in Gaza, was caught in a shootout with Hamas activists on the 14th of June; a round of bullets wounded him in his lower limbs. He was brought to the `Shefa` hospital, suffering from serious injuries in his bones and blood vessels. Oudeh was operated upon several times, but the operations weren`t successful and the blood supply to his legs was blocked. Since they are not able to cope with such complex injuries in Gaza, the hospital asked that he be transferred to Israel.
The detailed report, which I received from the Physicians for Human Rights organization, left no doubt. As an expert in blood vessel operations, I sent my detailed professional opinion on the 18th of June to the Co-ordination and Communications Office of the IDF (the DCO). In my report, I made it clear that, if Oudeh did not reach the hospital in Israel within 24 hours, his legs would have to be amputated.
Two hospitals in Israel expressed willingness to accept the injured party. However, our requests met with refusal, on the grounds that he was a person who is `denied entrance.` On the next day, the organization presented a petition to the High Court, which was discussed behind closed doors. The Court ordered the security authorities to consider the proper balance between the urgency of the treatment and the risk associated with the injured party. Another request was presented in which the seriousness of Oudeh`s condition was emphasized. This request was also denied. On the 22nd of June, his right leg was amputated.
On the 27th of June another meeting of the High Court was held, following the report of the organization concerning his deteriorating condition and the danger to his left leg. The Court accepted the position of the General Security Services, according to which the man constituted a `security risk`. His entry to Israel was not allowed. On the 29th of June his left leg was amputated.
Samed al-Gidian was injured in his legs by Hamas militants. In the `Shefa` hospital, his right leg was amputated above the knee. The condition of his left leg continued to deteriorate. A request was submitted to transfer him to Israel; this also went to the High Court. The request was refused. According to the recommendation of the General Security Services, he could not be transferred to Jordan under Israeli guards. On the 20th of June, I wrote a professional opinion, stating that there was a critical possibility of his losing his leg and I made it clear that it was necessary to send al-Gidian for treatment in Israel immediately. The request was denied. On the 7th of July, his left leg was amputated.
During the same week, A.T. arrived at the Sheba Medical Center. His is 20 years old, also a Fatah member who was shot by Hamas activists, also in his legs. He also went through an unsuccessful operation in Gaza, was suffering from a serious infection and was about to have his right leg amputated. During a complicated operation, which lasted more than 6 or 7 hours, we managed to save his leg.
I studied medicine while in the army; I served in the IDF for more than two decades as a doctor, as a combatant in the paratroops and an officer with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel. I was educated, and I educated the next generation after me, according to the principle that when the battle is over, one treats not only our own wounded but also those of the enemy. More than once I found myself treating an Egyptian soldier or a terrorist, who had tried to kill me and my comrades only minutes previously. That is the ethical code of the IDF; that is the moral code of Judaism.
I wonder what went through the mind of the GSS person, or the soldier, who decided that a young man with one leg amputated, and about to lose his second leg, was a security risk, and in this way condemned him to a life of suffering and pain? What were they thinking, when an urgent and critical request, supported by the medical opinion of a senior Israeli doctor, was treated so laconically, with maddening bureaucratic delays? And what brought our most senior judges to accept the recommendations of the GSS as holy, even when they completely contradicted professional medical opinion as well as common sense? How can one accept the thought that an injured man, knowing that less than an hour away there are doctors who are ready to save him from handicap or death, is left on his own because of the fantastic claim that he is a security risk? This is immoral; this isn`t Jewish.
One final thing: Muhamed Murhag`a was a 19 year old suffering from a cancerous growth in his brain. A senior oncologist at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem gave her opinion that only an immediate transfer to treatment in Israel would save his life. Her request was denied, and an urgent request was immediately filed: weigh the decision over again, this child will die. On the 1st of July the family was told: Muhamed died. At 17:00 the answer was received from the DCO, `It was decided to allow the entrance of Muhaned Murhag`a into Israel.`
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