Tuesday, August 12, 2014

  • Tuesday, August 12, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
I wrote  yesterday that Sky News reported the tragic story about Maha Sheik Khalil, the 7-year old girl from Gaza.

Sky News wrote that

The family has been told there are three hospitals willing to treat Maha - in Germany, Turkey, and the US - and a sponsor has agreed to cover the cost.

But they need to get her our of Gaza first, and they are still waiting for permission from Israel.
I noted that according to the IDF, no such request had been made, which means that it wasn't Israel keeping Maha from live-saving treatment - but Gaza officials.

It turns out that Maha has been a literal poster child for supposed Israeli atrocities for weeks, with many stories about her.

AP had a photo of her in the hospital on July 28:

Palestinian Maha al-Sheikh Khalil, 7, left, receives a present by a charity worker dressed as a bear for the Eid al-Fitr holiday on a hospital bed in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 28, 2014. ... According to the family, the doctors informed them that there is nothing that they can do and they have to seek treatment and spinal cord surgery abroad. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

AFP published a photo of her as early as July 23.

On July 28, WSJ wrote:
Her surviving relatives say they are awaiting permission from Israel to let her leave Gaza to receive medical treatment in Germany. Due to the fighting, they aren't holding out much hope.

So was there any formal request to transfer Maha to Israel so she could be treated abroad?

Not until after the Sky News story was aired, and two weeks after media first reported they were waiting for permission from Israel!

Channel 3 New Zealand reported on her Monday at the same time as the Sky News article, indicating that officials at Shifa Hospital have been pushing her story to every reporter that walks in:

And while Maha has received offers of treatment from Germany, Turkey and the United States, she is stuck in the warzone.

Her transportation will take longer to organise than the current three-day ceasefire allows - and also requires Israeli cooperation.

Her doctor told Sky News every day she waits Maha's chances of nerve recovery fade.
That reporter did a follow-up today:

3 News met Maha days after the strike. Nearly three weeks later she is still in hospital, unable to receive the advanced treatment she needs.

But her family has just been told there might be some good news. They've got Maha's passport and there's a possible flight from Tel Aviv to Turkey – but they have to get her into Israel first.

A mobile phone sits at Maha's bedside and her uncle prays quietly – the family has been told the call could come at any minute.

Maha is listening to everything that's being said around her.

"They told me that I'm going to travel but until now they didn't let me go," she says.

"I want to go outside so fast so I can get well."

Maha's family is waiting for travel permission from Israel, but Israel says it hasn't received the request.

A check with the hospital confirms Maha's name is on a list that was sent a day earlier. But because of the political situation in Gaza the hospital has had to send it to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah first, and on from there into Israel.
The urgent request had not been made until yesterday!

Maha's crime is that she is a cute 7-year old girl who can be used for anti-Israel propaganda - and as such she is far more valuable being shoved in front of reporters than abroad.

Now that there were indications of malfeasance by the administration of the hospital in getting her specialized treatment, her value has changed. Now it makes more propaganda sense for her to be treated abroad where more stories can be written about her. A British hospital, for example, is seemingly vying to treat Maha, but there is something a little off about that:

Dr Abdul Razzaq, chairman of North West directors of public health, has been working to have the little girl brought to Alder Hey.

He said: “I’ve been trying to see what’s possible. She’s very poorly.

This is not political, this is a humanitarian issue with helping young innocent children to get better.”

If Maha, injured by shrapnel, can be operated on at Alder Hey, she will need to stay in Britain whilst she recovers.
Does it sound like Dr. Razzaq is working to treat her or is he working to use her to generate more news stories about Israeli atrocities? Especially since there are already hospitals in three countries willing to take her, why is he pretending that his hospital is in the running? When he says this isn't political - it sure sounds political. 

Remember that Shifa Hospital is Hamas' de facto headquarters. The administration at the hospital knowingly protects and cooperates with a terror group. Terrorists set up shop next to the emergency room.

Finally, one must wonder if there aren't any Israeli hospitals that could treat Maha. The country has a fair share of medical expertise and an unfortunately high percentage of the population who have been paralyzed in war. Why is no one trying to get her treated in Israel, and instead concentrating on moving her to where even more stories can be written about her?

Doctors and hospital officials, possibly in cooperation with Hamas, are sacrificing Maha's well-being in order to demonize Israel.

This entire episode is an exercise in anti-Israel PR, and Maha is the star of the production - very possibly at her own expense.

(h/t Bob Knot)

UPDATE: Sky News reports that Maha may leave Gaza, but gives a somewhat different story about the circumstances of her permit:

The family of paralysed seven-year-old Maha Sheik Khalil have been told she will be able to leave Gaza.

The Al Shifa hospital is now working to co-ordinate her transfer for specialist treatment abroad.

It comes as Israel issued a statement saying it had originally authorised a request for her evacuation abroad 16 days ago, but the permit was not used.

A spokesperson for the Co-ordination of Government Activities in the Territories (Cogat), a branch of the Israeli Ministry of Defence which co-ordinates entry and exit of people and goods to Gaza, said the permit was issued on July 26.

However, until Tuesday morning, neither the Director of Patient Transfers at Al Shifa Hospital nor the family had been made aware the application had been received, or authorised.

On Monday, in response to a Sky News report on Maha's situation, Israeli military spokesperson Lt Col Peter Lerner tweeted that a "preliminary investigation" had shown that no request had been made for Maha to be able to leave Gaza.

The reason for the confusion is not clear, but the process for patient evacuation requires a chain of communications, from the doctors in Gaza sending a request to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, which is then communicated to Israel.

Sky News was shown a list of requests for evacuation sent by the Al Shifa hospital's patient transfer office on Sunday, which included Maha's name, but they did not know whether the list had reached Israel.

In a statement to Sky News, Major Guy Inbar, from Cogat, said he had on Tuesday sent messages to both the Palestinian Authority and the World Health Organisation, urging them to resubmit an application, which would be authorised immediately.
So it looks like the hospital did submit the request but for some reason didn't follow up.

(h/t Irene)


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