In tomorrow’s edition of the New York review of books there is an article by British doctor/magazine editor Richard Horton blaming Israel for the poor state of healthcare in the Palestinian Territories. Not only is the article fill of lies and half truths, but Mr. Horton is set up as an objective reporter, but in actuality he has never been a “friend of Israel” For example in an article written in October of 2004, Horton said:
The deteriorating health of PLO Chairman and President of the Palestinian Authority Yasir Arafat brought new speculation regarding “chaos” in the occupied territories without Arafat, but no new acknowledgement by the U.S. or Israel that ending the occupation was a prerequisite to achieving stability. In the meantime, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon won parliamentary support for his plan for “disengagement” from Gaza. His plan would not end the occupation even of Gaza, but would simply transform the current occupation of Gaza into a siege of Gaza
So Mr. Horton says that all of the healthcare problems in the terrorist territories is Israel’s fault, but as usual the folks at CAMERA are right on the money with an article pointing out that Horton Laid an Egg.
Is Israel Responsible for Palestinian Healthcare Woes?
March 14, 2007 by Steven Stotsky
Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal, exploits his position to blame Israel for Palestinian healthcare problems in a lengthy article in the New York Review of Books (March 15, 2007). He reveals a striking lack of objectivity and accuracy in dealing with this topic.
* Horton writes that “Procurement of medicines is difficult.” He fails to inform readers that the Palestinian Authority government turned down an Israeli offer of $11 million dollars worth of medicine that Israel sought to transfer to the Palestinian Authority, and that the Palestinians asked instead for the cash equivalent. (Ynetnews.com, July 6, 2006) It is the Palestinians who are the obstacle to medicine deliveries – not the Israelis.
Reproaching Israel for the delays and difficulties caused by its checkpoints, Horton only in passing mentions the Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians that necessitates the security checkpoints. He ignores that the checkpoints have saved countless lives by enabling the Israelis to catch terrorists before they get into Israel to bomb crowded civilian targets. Just a few of the would-be bombers who have been caught at checkpoints are:
* Gaza resident Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas was scheduled to arrive at Soroka hospital in the southern Israeli town of Be’er Sheva for some tests, and was hoping to take advantage of the medical appointment to bomb the busy clinic, its doctors, nurses and patients.
* Abdullah Quran, the 11-year-old found carrying a bomb in his rucksack. His terrorist handlers tried to blow him up at the checkpoint when his bomb was discovered, but he and the soldiers were saved because the triggering device was faulty.
* Hussam Abdo , the 16-year-old mentally-challenged boy wearing a bomb-vest who was relieved when the Israelis caught him and sent a robot with scissors to him, so he could cut the bomb-vest off.
Accusing Israel of interference with Palestinian medical services and denying them unrestricted freedom of movement, Horton does not mention that Palestinian terrorists have been caught using ambulances to ferry explosives.
While checkpoints are indeed frustrating for those who must wait in lines, saving lives trumps inconvenience. If Palestinians generally had shown outrage when terrorists used women, children, ambulances and/or medical passes to advance terrorism against Israelis, perhaps such uncivilized behavior would have ended, negating the need to check everyone and everything entering Israel.
Horton also gives short shrift to the medical care Israeli hospitals do provide to Palestinians despite the fact that they belong to a society inimically hostile to the Jewish state.
Horton’s tone and vocabulary throughout the piece betray his one-sided approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
* “the Israeli government prefers to reject any humanitarian impulse to assist Palestinians, let alone adhere to its past commitments to end the occupation of Palestinian land.”
Despite thousands of deaths, severe injuries, and major security problems arising from violence instigated by the Palestinians, and despite the Palestinians expressing in their speeches, television shows, textbooks, cartoons and sermons, their desire for the Jews of Israel to be murdered, Israel has provided medical services for thousands of Palestinians. Jewish doctors have treated Palestinians in Israeli hospitals, trained Palestinian doctors and nurses, and attempted to provide medicine (but their offer was turned down).
Israel has taken significant risks in its quest for peace. Israel withdrew from all of Gaza and much of the West Bank. Palestinians were given control over their population centers and were able to elect their own government, take control over their schools, infrastructure and health system.
Unfortunately, instead of concentrating on building their state and making a final peace with Israel, the Palestinians chose over and over again to spend their energy, time and money on terrorism against Israel. Israel adhered to its signed agreements; the Palestinians did not adhere to even the most basic promise – to choose negotiation over violence.
* In his 4,991 word piece, Horton extensively discusses how the Israeli security barrier and Israeli security measures affect healthcare to Palestinians, and includes a harrowing description of fatal injuries to one young Palestinian boy, yet he never acknowledges, let alone describes, the horrifying wounds sustained by Israeli children blown up by Palestinian bombs and rockets. It is, after all, the terror attacks that necessitate Israel’s security measures. The declining healthcare of the Palestinians is a result of their own choice to pursue terror and rejection over negotiations and coexistence.
* He describes the Israeli security barrier as the “separation wall” even though 95% of it is a fence.
* Condemning Israeli military activity that leads [inadvertently] to civilian deaths, Horton repeats the words of the Beit Hanoun hospital director that the inhabitants “should not be punished for the actions of a few extremists.”
He fails to note that the terrorists purposefully place themselves and their rocket factories in the midst of civilians, hoping that they will either act as a human shield or that they will get a PR bonanza if the civilians are inadvertently harmed when Israel aims at the terrorists or their bomb factories.
He also omits that the actions of these extremists are sanctioned by the elected Palestinian government and that no action has been taken by the Palestinian government to stop the rockets being fired at Israeli civilians.
* “Palestinians have been unable to make use of the press and television to present their story in a strong and convincing way to the world. Partly it is because powerful members of the international community have abandoned the Palestinian people, relying on the convenient but cruel excuse that the democratically elected Hamas government continues to hold positions it finds objectionable.”
This particular quote is emblematic of the problems Horton has with fact and impartiality. The Palestinian point of view is given prominent voice in many leading newspapers and major news broadcasts such as the BBC, New York Times, NPR, Los Angeles Times, and on various Internet sites. It is telling that Horton advocates reading former President Jimmy Carter’s one-sided and error-filled book, Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid. The international community continues to provide very substantial aid to the Palestinians, even after the election of Hamas. In another part of the article, Horton refers to the “lack of concern shown by the international community for civilian health.” Is Horton unaware of the immense international support Palestinians receive in many forms, including UNRWA, that dwarfs the aid received by far larger and more needy groups of people in places like Darfur and the Congo?
* Horton throws in specious facts. He cites a shocking figure of forty percent of Gazan children having relatives who died during the second intifada. The total number of Gazans who died during the second intifada as a result of Israeli actions is 1,956 (PHRMG – through Jan. 31, 2007). The population of Gaza is approximately 1.43 million (CIA World Factbook). This works out to 1 person out of 730 killed in the second intifada over more than 6 years. How distantly related must these relatives be for 40% of the children to be able to claim a relative killed in the intifada. The statistic offered by Horton is provocative but actually quite meaningless.