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Arab Israeli medic denied entry to flashpoint settlement to perform virus test

Man laments ‘racist hatred’ after security guard barred him from Yitzhar and claimed stones would be thrown at him; Terem medical services condemns incident

The entrance to the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank on October 20, 2019. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)
The entrance to the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank on October 20, 2019. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

An Arab Israeli medic said on Thursday he was prevented from entering the flashpoint settlement of Yitzhar a day earlier to carry out a coronavirus test on a resident, simply because he is an Arab.

The man, named only as Fadi, told Channel 12 news that he told the security guard at the entrance to the settlement that he was a medical intern and gave the purpose of his visit, but was not permitted to enter and left without collecting the sample for virus testing.

“At the entrance to the settlement, the security guard stopped me and told me that I could not go in because I was an Arab,” Fadi said.. “I answered him that I am a doctor, and I came to check patients. We are in 2020 and I am a citizen of Israel. As a doctor I do not differentiate between religion, race or skin color and I came here to check patients.”

Fadi said that he was carrying all the necessary paperwork to identify himself and the task he was there to perform.

ILLUSTRATIVE — A Shaare Zedek staffer wears protective gear as he takes a swab from a woman to test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside the coronavirus unit at the hospital in Jerusalem on September 14, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The security guard “told me that because I was an Arab it was dangerous for him to let me in, that stones would be thrown at me. In the end I did not go in. The patient called to ask why I did not come to the settlement and I told him they did not let me in because I was an Arab,” Fadi said.

“If that person had tested positive and God forbid deteriorated and come to the hospital, I would have been the one to treat him,” said Fadi, who works as a physician’s assistant at HaSharon Hospital. “This is an instructive example of the racist hatred that underlies the settlement movement.”

The Terem medical service, which sent Fadi to carry out the collection of the sample, said it strongly condemned the incident.

“Terem takes very seriously the incident in which a dedicated and professional worker encountered discrimination. This is an unacceptable phenomenon that we strongly condemn,” the organization said in a statement.

Window smashed on a police vehicle after rocks were thrown at it in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, September 22, 2020 (Israel Police)

The incident came on the heels of two attacks on police vehicles during recent operations at the settlement.

The tires of a police vehicle were slashed overnight Tuesday, just hours after rocks were thrown at a different vehicle used by officers, smashing a window.

Police suspect the attacks were carried out by right-wing extremist settlers. There has been no word on any arrests in connection with either attack.

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