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Surgeon Says He's Tired of Treating Palestinians; Knesset Erupts

MK Tibi, former aide to Arafat, tells Minister Orbach his 'head is twisted' for defending doctor's moral dilemma after abduction.
By Hezki Ezra, Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/26/2014, 1:49 PM

Surgery (illustrative)
Surgery (illustrative)
Flash 90

The Knesset erupted in angry invective Thursday when MK Ahmed Tibi, a former aide to the late PLO chief Yasser Arafat, slammed an Israel heart surgeon who expressed his mixed feelings in treating Palestinian Authority children.

The doctor, David Mishali, was interviewed on TV Channel 10 along with his wife, journalist Yael Mishali, who expressed their feelings of frustration following the abduction of three yeshiva boys – two of whom study alongside their son at Mekor Haim yeshiva high school.

Dr. Mishali, an expert on heart defects, told the television reporter that he has been operating on patients of all nationalities for decades and it never mattered to him where the patient was from. But after the abduction, he said, he no longer feels the same way. His wife, Yael, who identifies as on the left end of the political spectrum, opined that Israel must stop treating Palestinian Authority (PA) children until the Jewish kids who were abducted are handed back.

Dr. Mishali explained that he suddenly finds himself going to work with a heavy heart, knowing that he has to treat Palestinian children, many of whom, come from Hevron - the very city the kidnapped Israeli teens are thought to be held.

“I'm tired of being the bleeding heart who helps the needy,” he said. “It's hypocritical,” he added, and said that instead of his usual joy at work, he currently feels depressed there.

Minister Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) took to the Knesset podium to defend Mishali, in response to Tibi's parliamentary query on the matter. He told Tibi that Dr. Mishali did not say that he would stop treating Palestinian children – only that he would do so with a heavy heart and frustration. Tibi, he said, was purposely twisting Mishali's words to make it seem that he had refused to treat Arabs. He also reminded Tibi that his own ethics could be questioned, in view of his long working relationship with Arafat.

In response, Tibi told Orbach that he has “a twisted head” and is “a fascist.”

"Arafat's shoe is worth 10 people like you,” Tibi screamed. As Tibi was escorted out of the plenum, Orbach told him to leave his shoe behind, because it is worth more than he is.

Israel prides itself on treating Palestinian Authority Arabs in its hospitals, but some believe this policy goes too far.

Israeli media reports shortly after the abduction of the yeshiva boys said that the wife of Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas was convalescing in a top Tel Aviv hospital after undergoing surgery. The reports said that Abbas' wife was being held under heavy security in a private room, with no roommates.

In November, it was reported that a granddaughter of Gaza's Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had been hospitalized in Israel in critical conditionPhotographs on social networks showed Ismail Haniyeh, head of violent anti-Israel terrorist machine Hamas, who does not recognize Israel's existence, visiting the sick child in Al-Nasser pediatric hospital before her transfer.

She was later reported to have been transferred back to Gaza and described as "clinically dead" after Israeli doctors failed to save her.