Israeli security guards at the Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa recently “denied entry to the complex to a Palestinian from Jerusalem and his brother, who lives in Ramallah”, who sought to “visit a hospitalised relative, an Israeli citizen”, reported Haaretz.
Bassim Khoury, a resident of East Jerusalem with an Israeli ID card, is 59 years old, and the CEO of the Pharmacare Group, while his 63-year-old brother is a resident of Ramallah with “a special permit for Palestinian businessmen (BMC)”.
The incident in question took place on 8 March. According to the paper, “the hospital claimed that the two refused to undergo a special physical inspection, which is required for residents of East Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority, and therefore were not allowed to enter.”
“The brothers,” however, “say that they were not even asked to undergo an inspection, and that the behaviour of the security guards, and their supervisor in particular, was tinged with racism.”
According to the hospital spokesperson, David Ratner, “the instructions for a special inspection include Palestinians from Jerusalem”.
In a reply to Haaretz he explained that: “The Rambam security guards operate according to the written regulations of the Health Ministry security division, which are derived from police instructions…Anyone with an ID from the PA and anyone with an East Jerusalem ID is required to undergo an inspection as a condition for entering the hospital.”
Khoury was the national economy minister under former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Writing to the hospital, Khoury expressed regret that the security guards’ version of the story was accepted without question.