Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hamas tried to silence swine flu reports in Gaza

After Hamas' initial denials that there was any swine flu in Gaza, the number of confirmed cases has ballooned in two days to 15, with four fatalities, including a doctor at Shifa Hospital.

Palestine Press Agency investigated why Hamas so strenuously denied any cases of swine flu as late as Saturday.

The agency quotes medical sources in Gaza that confirm that Hamas ordered them to keep any potential H1N1 news quiet. The reason? Hamas is planning a huge rally in a few days to celebrate its 22nd anniversary, and it wanted the largest turnout possible - and Hamas leaders know that the public will stay home of they are afraid that they would catch the swine flu in the crowd!

But Hamas is not shy about putting political concerns above the welfare of the people it controls. After Hamas stopped some 37 patients from entering Israel yesterday, some for already scheduled surgery in Israel and the West Bank, there are reports that another 87 have been stopped today.