Palestine: the assault on health and other war crimes
Summerfield’s outrage is misplaced
EDITOR-Summerfield’s jump from psychiatrist to attorney,judge, and jury is a classic example of the inappropriate useof science and medicine to promote specific political views.1 Any reasonable and objective observer of the longstanding conflictbetween Arabs and Jews understands that the situation is notas prejudicially simple as Summerfield would have us believe.
His outrageous statement that Israeli soldiers are “Clearly…routinely authorised to shoot to kill children… ” is particularlyegregious, baseless and something that has no place in a journalwhere science and evidence is valued. What is in fact routineis the care that Palestinians continue to receive, even todayafter years of conflict, in Israeli hospitals and from Israeliphysicians. Unlike Israeli civilians, who dare not set footin Palestinian villages for fear of being attacked and killed,Palestinian Arabs receive care in Israel that they could notreceive in any neighbouring Arab country. In the last few monthsalone nearly 200 Palestinian children who were referred undera joint Israeli-Palestinian programme to treat children withserious medical conditions have already undergone major surgeryat Israeli hospitals at no cost to the families. Another 350-400Palestinian children have undergone free diagnostic testing.
It is true that Palestinians have been forced into dreadfulconditions because of the continuous policies of their own leadership,but Summerfield would do well to consider how Palestinian actions,rather than Israeli reactions, play a role in this continuingtragedy.
Irwin J Mansdorf, member
Task Force on Medical and Public Health Issues, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, New York and Raanana, Israel [email protected]