A classmate, who may or may not consider me a crazy leftist (if you do too, that’s ok), spoke movingly about the past several months of clinical clerkships here in Israel. It had been pretty powerful for him to see the hospitals as places where doctors, both Jewish and Arab, worked together to take care of patients, also both Jewish and Arab.
A woman present (who also may or may not consider me a crazy leftist) said that she had long believed that if peace was going to begin anywhere, it would be in the hospitals.
There is something to be said for that. The hospital, at its best, (and I don’t assume hospitals are always at their best) is a place where every life is fought for and cared for. It’s a good starting point, but it needs to spread further to really have an impact.
Imagine that attitude applied to riot control and other policing. Imagine it applied to land rights and housing. Imagine it applied to asylum requests.
At least, imagine this attitude applied more thoroughly to the medical system, and especially by the medical division of the Israel Prison Service, under whose watch Maysara Abu Hamdieh died of cancer without much treatment until the very end.
I have no reason to doubt the accusations that Abu Hamdieh masterminded attempted suicide bombings. I believe I’ve eaten in the café he tried to bomb; I’m not delusional enough to think that the presence of crazy leftists there would have deterred him. But his principles are not my principles, and there was an obligation to save his life.
I wasn’t there, I don’t know exactly what medical care was given and what was not, but this calls for a serious investigation.
His sentence was 99 years, not death. If you value life, then you value all lives.