One of the 256 terrorists slated for release Friday as part of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s “good will” gesture to the Palestinian Authority has said “Thanks, but no thanks” to the offer.
The prisoner chose to remain in an Israeli prison, according to Pardons Department director Emmy Palmor, because he prefers to continue receiving free medication for arthritis.
The other prisoners on the list are waiting to leave after having signed a statement promising not to return to their former occupation of attacking Israeli citizens. Palmor said the signed document is no guarantee the prisoners will keep their word, quoting statistics that show 17 percent of terrorists who have been freed in the past resume their attacks against Israel.
Israel has long provided quality medical care to Palestinian Authority residents, be they terrorists or civilians.
Last month, dozens of Arabs wounded in Gaza – including several Fatah terrorists – were brought to Israeli hospitals for free treatment. Among them was a 4-year-old child suffering from leukemia and a 40-year-old woman in critical condition who had been caught in the crossfire during the bloody civil war between the Fatah and Hamas terrorist factions. Hamas won the war and took over the area in June.
Terrorists are often taken to Israeli hospitals when wounded during their attacks, and are given the same care as their victims in the same medical center, albeit under heavy guard.
A 17-year-old stabber that attacked two Border Guard police officers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron last April was taken to an Israeli hospital for treatment after being shot by a commander. Questioning by security forces was deferred until medical clearance was given.
PA residents are also frequent beneficiaries of Israeli medical care, despite the best efforts of the terrorists in their midst to attack the Israelis who are trying to help them.
An Israeli ambulance entered PA-controlled Samaria city of Ramallah in March for the first time in more than six years in order to transfer a 6-month-old Arab infant to Sheba Medical Center for specialized treatment at Tel HaShomer in Tel Aviv.
Israel also provided medical assistance to northern Gaza residents in the wake of a massive flood of raw sewage that killed at least six people and injured hundreds of others. One of the injured who was treated at an Israeli hospital for a head injury was transferred via the Erez Crossing, the same area which has seen repeated attacks by PA terrorists shooting at IDF soldiers across the border.
In February, more than a dozen PA residents received treatment at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital, the primary medical receiving facility for Israelis who are injured in Kassam rocket attacks fired from Gaza.
Treatment of the patient continued even as one of the rockets narrowly missed a strategic target in the port city.
Most of the PA men who were treated at Barzilai were allegedly part of the Gaza police force or the Fatah militia. However, doctors refused to comment on their patients’ terrorist connections, saying that medicine has always ignored political conflicts.
The Arabs who received treatment at the hospital also declined to publicly expose their own affiliation with either of the rival terrorist groups operating in the PA.
Said Barzilai’s deputy director, Dr. Ron Lobel, "We certainly don’t check [to see] if someone belongs to Hamas, to [Islamic] Jihad or if he comes from Sderot – we treat everyone exactly the same way."