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Archive for August, 2009

Aug 27 2009

On journalism and organ donations

The Swedish daily Aftonbladet has set last week new journalistic standards by publishing a story about IDF soldiers harvesting organs from Palestinians. Editor in chief Jan Helin admitted that his newspaper ran the story with no evidence whatsoever.

Palestinian woman giving birth in Barzilai hospital (photo: Edi Israel)

Palestinian woman giving birth in Ashkelon (photo: Edi Israel)

But the thing is that there is evidence. Actually, a lot of evidences. They just point to a totally different story.

From information I gathered in the last couple of days, it emerges that dozens if not hundreds of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza are being treated daily in Israeli hospitals. Most of them are not casualties of the conflict, just patients in need for care.

Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon, for example, just 12km north of the border with Gaza, treated more than 400 Palestinians in 2008. The city of Ashkelon was hit many times by rockets coming from Gaza in the last war with Hamas in January 2009.

Barzilai’s spokesperson, Lea Malul, said that since January 2009, the number of Palestinian patients has dwindled significantly, due to Hamas authorities’ refusal to let patients go to Israeli hospitals. Malul said that right after the war, teams from Barzilai opened a medical clinic on the border, but they were sitting idle – again, because of Hamas’ refusal to let Palestinians leave Gaza for medical care in Israel.

Sourasky hospital in Tel Aviv treats 30-50 Palestinians daily, according to spokesperson Aviva Shemer.

Sheba hospital in Tel Hashomer (near Tel Aviv) treats daily a few dozens Palestinians. Sheba spokesperson Amir Marom said that 25 Palestinian children are currently being treated for chronic and severe diseases such as cancer. This week, a Palestinian woman went through a procedure of taking her cord blood in order to save the life of her child.

Palestinians are being treated regularly in other hospitals, such as Soroka in Beer Sheeba (also targeted with rockets in the last war), Hadassah in Jerusalem and Beilinson near Tel Aviv.

I also approached The Israeli National Transplant Unit. They said that in the last 5 years at least 2 Palestinians from the territories were cured thanks to Israeli donors – one was a case of a boy who received a lung, and the other was a case of a girl who received a kidney. They said that cases of donations inside Israel between Jews and Arabs are too numerous to count.


Aug 9 2009

How did Israel stop being a free country (update)

On July 30th I published an investigation into a report made by Freedom House about the freedom of the press in Israel.

In response to this publication, Freedom House notified me that the report, sent to me by them on July 14th (to view it click here), was a draft report. They attached a new and revised report (to view it click here), which is somewhat shorter and has the following changes:

1. All references to self censorship by Israeli journalists were omitted.

2. The reference to media outlets, which during the Gaza conflict “fed popular sentiment and prioritized nationalistic themes” was omitted.

3. The story of RAM FM, “a pro-peace radio station” that was closed by the Israeli police, was omitted.

4. The reference to the Israeli government, who “ignored the High Court ruling”, was omitted.

In addition to these, many wordings were softened so as to be less aggressive towards the State of Israel.

Nonetheless, the score of Israel on the Freedom of the Press Index (31) and its definition (“partially free”) did not change.