US cuts aid for Palestinians’ hospitals

Razan al-Najjar (C-R), a 21-year-old Palestinian paramedic, tends to an injured colleague during clashes near the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 15, 2018, amidst protests marking 70th anniversary of Nakba -- also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948 -- and against the US' relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. / AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB

Jerusalem: The United States has scrapped its $25m financial assistance to a network of six hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem. It was one of Washington’s last remaining aid programmes for Palestinians. The decision which will affect critical patients, including cancer victims and children with serious health conditions, was sharply criticised by Palestinian leaders and health officials, who called it a “cruel” and “unjustified” act of “political blackmail”.

According to the World Health Organization, US aid had been helping Palestinians to get specialised treatment such as cardiac surgery, neonatal intensive care, radiation therapy or paediatric dialysis, which is not available in the occupied West Bank or Gaza.

Walid Nammour, the chief executive officer at Jerusalem’s Agusta Victoria Hospital said that patients should not be caught in the middle of political issues.

Ahmad Shami, spokesperson for PA President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the decision terming it completely inhuman and immoral.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee said “Such an act of political blackmail goes against the norms of human decency and morality”.

It must be recalled that the Trump administration ended $200m in economic assistance for the West Bank and Gaza last month.

This post was last modified on September 10, 2018, 3:08 pm