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Greenblatt under fire after criticising PA for not paying Palestinian’s medical costs

July 16, 2019 at 1:06 pm

US special envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt at the US Embassy in Jerusalem on 27 June 2019 [U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/Flickr]

Jason Greenblatt, the US’ Middle East envoy for peace, has come under fire after criticising the Palestinian Authority (PA) for failing to provide adequate funds for a Palestinian child’s blood cancer medication.

Greenblatt tweeted on Sunday: “Mr. Shtayyeh [Palestinian Prime Minister], how about keeping your word & paying for Rima’s treatment? The PA has the funds and it would be a wise and compassionate use of them. Mr. Sabbah, my thoughts are with you and your family. I pray Rima will have a full and speedy recovery.”

Gaza-based Palestinian journalist Fathi Sabbah accused the PA on Friday of not being serious about providing medical care for his daughter Rima, reported Days of Palestine. On Facebook, Sabbah said that Prime Minister Shtayyeh had pledged to personally follow up on Rima’s case. Ahmed Abu Houli, a member of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, had further pledged to provide Rima with medical treatment in hospitals.

However, the treatment Rima received in Israel’s Hadassah Hospital only included a medical check-up and did not cover the cost of her medication.

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Many responded to Greenblatt highlighting the irony of his tweet as Rima could have easily been treated without needing help from the PA if Gaza were not besieged.

Sabbah himself replied to Greenblatt, calling on him to put pressure on the Israeli government to allow Palestinian patients and their companions to travel to hospitals freely.

He noted that Israel does not permit 40 per cent of patients in the Gaza Strip to pass through the Erez crossing to go to hospitals in the occupied  West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel and that people have died waiting for travel permits.

Using his own experience as an example, he also noted how companions of patients are very often denied travel permits, despite hospitals sending requests to the government.

He ended his replies with a wider criticism of the White House’s policies towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He particularly condemned US President Donald Trump unilaterally declaring Jerusalem Israel’s undivided capital and moving the US embassy to the Holy City. He also mentioned the Trump administration’s decision to end funding to UNRWA, the Palestinian refugee agency, as well as their continuous support for illegal Israeli settlements.

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