Doctor falsely accused of praising terrorist to return to work at Hadassah

Months after incident, hospital allows Dr. Ahmad Mahajneh to return to work, with officials saying he never made the comments initially attributed to him

Dr. Ahmad Mahajneh speaks to Kan news, December 4, 2022 (Kan screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Dr. Ahmad Mahajneh speaks to Kan news, December 4, 2022 (Kan screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A doctor who was suspended after being falsely accused of praising a Palestinian terror suspect under his care will return to work following a drawn-out dispute over the incident, the Hadassah Medical Center said Sunday.

Dr. Ahmad Mahajneh, a resident at Hadassah Medical Center Ein Kerem, protested his innocence since the October 26 incident, and will now return to work with his name cleared, the hospital said.

Mahajneh was accused of giving patient Muhammad Abu Qatish, 16, a plate of treats, congratulating him, and calling him a “shahid,” or martyr. Abu Qatish seriously wounded an Israeli man in a stabbing attack on October 22, in the Jewish East Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat HaMivtar, according to Israeli authorities.

He also reportedly clashed verbally with a police officer who demanded to know who had given Abu Qatish the treats and ordered him to identify himself.

The hospital said an investigation concluded that Mahajneh never made the comments to Abu Qatish.

According to Mahajneh, the knafeh and other food given to Abu Qatish were leftovers from food he had ordered to celebrate passing his residency exams, and were offered to all patients as part of a policy of equal treatment, though he was not the one to give it to Abu Qatish.

The hospital had accused Mahajneh of “insulting a police officer” during the incident. It maintained on Sunday that his behavior toward the officer when the latter had demanded he identify himself had been “inappropriate.”

The accusations were initially broadcast by the right-wing group Betsalmo — following a report by Israel Hayom — which has since retracted them and called for Mahajneh to be reinstated. Media reports initially relied on the apparently fabricated version of events, sparking outrage on social media, with some users threatening the doctor.

In November, Mahajneh told The Times of Israel that he had never supported terrorism in his life, and that “terrorists deserve to be punished.”

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