(April 1, 2019 / Palestinian Media Watch) Until now, Israel has been giving medical treatment in Israel to thousands of Palestinians every year. But this humanitarian program will now come to an end, as the Palestinian Authority has decided to stop sending its citizens in need of medical treatment to Israel.
The P.A.’s explanation is as follows: Since Israel is refusing to transfer approximately $138 million to the P.A. this year to spends on salaries to terrorists, the P.A. will no longer permit Palestinians to travel for medical treatment in Israel, for which the P.A. has to pay.
In essence, the P.A. has decided to punish its own citizens in need of medical treatment, which costs $100 million a year, because it lost $138 million that it pays to terrorists in Israeli prisons and released terrorist prisoners. Israeli law is explicit that should the P.A. stop paying salaries to terrorists, Israel could release and return all this money to the P.A.
In 2015, the last year for which there are public records, more than 102,000 Palestinians were granted permits to enter Israel for treatment, including some 20,000 Palestinians who received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
P.A. Ministry of Health Spokesman Osama Al-Najjar explained the cessation of medical referrals to the Israeli hospitals, starting from March 26, 2019, as follows:
“This decision was made in response to the deduction of sums [Israel transfers] from the taxes that [Israel] collects each month for the Palestinian coffers. He added that the cost of the referrals to the Israeli hospitals is $100 million a year.”
[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 27, 2019]
Stressing that the change of policy was not based on the desire to improve the medical care for Palestinians, Al-Najar added that: “The decision is political par excellence and comes in response to Israel deducting sums from the money that it collects for us.”
Shortly after the murder of Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher in February 2019, Israel’s cabinet decided to deduct 502 million shekels ($138 million) from the tax revenues Israel collects and transfers to the P.A. (Palestinian Media Watch had exposed that $138 million was the amount the P.A. admitted to paying in 2018 to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners.)
Significantly, the current decision is in addition to the P.A. decision to cut the salaries of its civil servants, as a result of the financial crisis the P.A. is inflicting on itself.
Seen in their entirety, the decisions of the P.A., stating the implementation of Israel’s anti-“pay for slay” law as the major reason for the changes in policy, clearly demonstrate the P.A.’s priorities: The continued payment of the salaries to the Palestinian terrorist prisoners and released prisoners is more important than providing sick Palestinians with the opportunity to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals, or the right of its law-abiding non-terrorist employees to receive their full wages.
Realizing the hardships and medical crises this will inflict on its population, the P.A. added to its announcement that it will find “find alternatives for the sick in the state hospitals and in private hospitals.”
Full article at PMW.