As fighting continues in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, Haifa’s Rambam Health Care Campus is treating more than twenty Palestinians.
According to a statement released by the hospital, there are 3 adults and 8 children from Gaza, 3 adults and 2 children from the West Bank, and 7 more West Bank residents in the outpatient clinics.
More Gazans are scheduled to arrive later this week.
The hospital says that most of the children are being treated in the pediatric oncology and nephrology wards. Most of the children are under the age of three, and they are accompanied by relatives.
Not surprisingly, being in an Israeli hospital while the IDF strikes targets in Gaza, and Israelis run from Hamas rockets, is difficult emotionally for the adult patients.
“On the one hand they are in Israel and see the consequences of the actions of Hamas and how people get hurt on this side of the border. On the other hand, their families in Gaza are under attack by the IDF and they fear for the lives of their loved ones,” says Yazid Falah, the hospital’s coordinator for Palestinian patients. “There are those who have told me they are ashamed of what Gaza is doing, and others say they are afraid of how people will talk and look at them here in the hospital.
“Other have said they are afraid to return to Gaza. Others just don’t know what to think. Some have made contact with their families and learned of property damage and casualties near their homes. Those people have a life there and see the kind of life people have here. At the end of the day, they simply want to live in peace, but it is clear to them that the situation has changed. They believe the situation will only get worse”
Still, says Falah, the staff and other patients work to make them feel comfortable.
“When the hostilities escalated, the Palestinian patients feared a cold reception. We explained that would never happen in an Israeli hospital. Here you see people and not nationalities. Many times, Israeli patients reach out to their Palestinian ‘neighbors’ to help them feel more comfortable and to encourage them. Ultimately, all are in the same boat.”