After 20 years of blindness, Nazareth Arab woman gets back eyesight


A blind Nazareth Arab woman from has regained her eyesight after 20 years following a first-of-its-kind surgery at an Israeli hospital. Writes Hugh Fitzgerald

When the settler-colonial apartheid state of Israel is not making Gaza into an open-air prison, or setting up illegal settlements between the Jordan and the sea, or blighting the lives of the Palestinians whose lands they have stolen, or attacking Palestinian civilians without warning and with no conceivable justification, or poisoning the wells of inoffensive Palestinian farmers, or makes plans for its long-delayed expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates, it sometimes does things – oh, hell, it is always doing things — that contradict these malignant tales. One such example, about Hana Awad, a blind Arab lady from Nazareth who had her sight restored by path-breaking Israeli doctors, was made public in mid-December.

The report on this medical miracle is here: “Blind Woman Regains Eyesight at Israeli Hospital With Artificial Cornea Carved From Her Shin Bone,” by Sharon Wrobel, Algemeiner, December 15, 2021:

A blind woman has regained her eyesight after 20 years following a first-of-its-kind surgery at an Israeli hospital.

The rare procedure carried out at Israel’s Beilinson hospital restored the sight of 60-year-old Hanan Awad from Nazareth, who suffered from a severe corneal disease which led to her blindness. During the complex surgery, which was performed for the first time at an Israeli hospital, a piece of bone from Awad’s leg and an artificial cornea were implanted in her eye.

“The surgery is performed in the most severe cases of corneal disease in which it is not possible to perform a cornea transplant from donor tissue, and in fact it is the only option for returning eyesight to blind patients whose condition until now was considered incurable,” said Dr. Eitan Livni, head of the cornea unit at Beilinson, also known as the Rabin Medical Center.

Diseases of the cornea, the eye’s outermost lens are the second leading cause of blindness in most developing countries. Every year about two million new cases of corneal blindness are recorded, according to estimates by the World Health Organization.

Awad’s two-phase procedure involved surgeries lasting seven hours each, the hospital explained last week. During the first, a piece of bone from Awad’s shin was taken and then carved and sculpted into the shape of a thin disc. In its center, a 3-millimeter hole was drilled, into which an artificial cornea made of plastic material was inserted. As a result, the doctors created a hybrid implant of organic bone and an artificial implant, to be implanted in the affected eye.

For a period of three months, the implant was placed under Awad’s skin so that soft tissue and blood vessels would nourish the bone and it would be kept alive. During this period, fresh tissue grows that attaches to the bone. In the second phase of the procedure, the surgeons removed the bone prosthesis with the blood vessels formed around it, and in a complex operation, implanted the bone disc with the artificial cornea in the center of Awad’s eye….

The recipient of the “first successful artificial cornea transplant” in Israel was Jamal Furani, an Arab resident of Haifa. Like Hana Awad, he owes his sight both to the brilliant breakthroughs of Israeli scientists, who created these artificial corneas, and to the equally wonder-working skill of Israeli surgeons who implanted them. Don’t expect the Palestinian Authority, however, to show any gratitude for Israeli doctors treating Israeli and Palestinian Arabs. Nor will there be any coverage in the Arab media about these dazzling displays of Israeli medical prowess enrolled in restoring sight to blind Arab patients.

“We are pleased to lead another breakthrough in the field of artificial corneas. These are surgeries which are performed in a small number of medical centers around the world, due to the great complexity associated with them,” said Professor Irit Bahar, Director of Beilinson’s Ophthalmology Department. “Beilinson is the only center in the country to perform these types of surgeries, which restore eyesight to blind people.”

How many of the people cursing Israel today for its “mistreatment” of Arabs – Kylie Broderick at UNC-Chapel Hill, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and so many others — are aware of the fact that the leaders of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority always send their own relatives to be treated in Israeli hospitals, and insist that they themselves be treated by Jewish doctors?

Saeb Erekat was the chief propagandist for the PA, who spent his life denouncing Israel and Israelis. But when he came down with Covid-19, he insisted on being treated at the Hadassah Hospital, where he received – as he knew he would – a standard of care unobtainable in Palestinian hospitals.

He is one of many Palestinians who have counted on Israeli medical care. A report on this phenomenon is here: “Palestinian Leaders Want Israel Destroyed — Until They Need a Doctor,” by Reuven Berko, IPT News, December 4, 2020:

The coronavirus-related death of senior Palestinian figure Saeb Erekat in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital has rekindled a debate in Israeli society about medicine and morality, and the Palestinians’ cynicism and ingratitude in their relations with Israel.

Erekat, whom I knew personally, is a perfect example: he worked tirelessly not only to delegitimize, but to try to destroy Israel by means of economic strangulation through his unending promotion worldwide of the BDS campaign. He accused Israel of being an “apartheid” country, actively supported the “resistance” (a euphemism for Palestinian terrorism, which aims to kill Israelis), called for a tsunami of millions of “returning Palestinian refugees” to overwhelm Israel and demographically destroy it as the homeland of the Jewish people, and fiercely advocated ending all security and civilian coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Still, despite his statements supporting terrorism and the elimination of the State of Israel, he was never rebuked by any Western government or human rights organization. In fact, Erekat was treated no differently than other members of the P.A. and Hamas who openly support and coordinate terrorism and indoctrinate their students with poisonous anti-Semitic curricula – often subsidized by European governments and large left leaning U.S. foundations.

Erekat was born in Jordan but pretended he was Palestinian. The Erekats are Bedouins, related to a large clan based in south Jordan. It was therefore ironic, not to say weird, when the diplomatic terrorist, who refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and did his best to destroy it in order to establish “Palestine” on its ruins, would look to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Israel’s capital city for help in his coronavirus plight despite the boycott he worked so hard to impose on Israeli institutions.

“Ironic” is too kind a way of describing Erekat’s behavior – spending his every waking moment undermining the Jewish state while, in his hour of need, he had himself taken to an Israeli hospital. Other words – such as “base hypocrisy” – come more fittingly to mind.

The Jerusalem-based Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, whom I also have known personally, behaved the same way. For years, he spewed vicious propaganda and anti-Israeli and anti-American incitement from his pulpit in al-Aqsa mosque. When he was in charge as the “Mufti” (an Islamic legal authority), he led millions of Muslims in prayers –beamed all over the Muslim world by radio and the internet – with his religious rants against the United States (“Allah will turn the White House black…”) and religious curses calling for the “annihilation of the Zionists” and “the destruction of Israel.” But when he urgently needed heart surgery, his first choice was…the Zionist-run Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The Jewish doctors saved Sabri’s life and he returned to defaming Israel and inciting violence and terrorism against Jews, just more fervently than in the past.

There are many other examples of the moral double standard that serves as the operative code used by the Palestinians, who ignore the old Arabic proverb, “Don’t throw stones into the well you drink from.” Hamas and Palestinian Jihad Islamist terrorists glorify what they proudly refer to as early Islam’s “Islamic morality,” the legacy of their seventh century beginnings in which they believed it was their intrinsic right, ordained by Allah, to impose their way on the rest of the world. Thirteen centuries later, they now love the land “occupied” by Israel so much that every summer they burn its forests, launch incendiary balloons to destroy its crops and year-round fire rockets into it, and indiscriminately shoot, run over and stab Israeli men, women and children. At the same time, every month the Hamas and PIJ leadership send hundreds of sick Palestinians to Israeli hospitals for complicated medical procedures.

It is interesting that there are so many terrorists among the Arab medical establishment that has made such a prominent contribution to terrorism and murder. Ayman Zawahiri, a medical doctor, was one of the original founders of al-Qaida; Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi was a senior Hamas figure and a physician, as is Mahmoud al-Zahar (a surgeon) and Ibrahim al-Yazouri, (a pharmacist); all of them terrorist operatives to the core. But instead of fostering a modern Palestinian public health system, in building new hospitals and improving the quality of medicine in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders invest the international community’s ‘”humanitarian assistance” money in positioning missile arrays inside United Nations schools and infirmaries, building a network of underground command and attack tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip, and fortifying the bunkers they constructed under Shifaa Hospital in Gaza City.

It is no wonder, then, that the Palestinian public health system cannot deal with complicated medical problems and sends its difficult cases to Israeli hospitals. In 2014, the wife of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was treated in Israel. In 2018, an Israeli specialist was sent to Ramallah to treat Chairman Abbas himself, resulting in a dramatic improvement in his health. Over the years Israel has provided medical care for the relatives of the Hamas and PA leaders, whose main pastime is to spend their days thinking about and planning how to destroy the State of Israel.

Abbas and his wife are not the only members of his family who have been treated by Israel. Mahmoud Abbas’ younger brother, Abu Louai, was treated in Assuta Hospital, a private hospital in Tel Aviv. Abu Louai is 76 years old and suffers from cancer. He lives in Qatar. The PA press has not and will not ever publish this information, nor will the rest of the Arabic press should they ever get the news. Notice that Abu Louai chose or rather, his brother chose for him, to be treated in an Israeli private hospital, even though the alternative was not, in his case, a poorly-funded Palestinian hospital, but a state-of-the-art hospital in enormously rich Qatar. No doubt Mahmoud Abbas wanted the best care for his brother, and his own experience with an Israeli specialist who treated him in Ramallah for a life-threatening condition led him to insist that his brother be treated by Israeli medical personnel. Even a hospital in Qatar wasn’t good enough. And when Abbas’ brother-in-law needed a heart operation, he too was treated in an Israeli hospital. In other words, Abbas, his wife, his brother, and his brother-in-law have all been treated for life-threatening illnesses by Israeli doctors.

One of the scandalous absurdities arising from Israel’s unparalleled humanitarian policies toward the very terrorist groups trying to destroy the Jewish state – never reported in the Western media – is that the very same terrorist organizations have tried to turn some of its patients into suicide bombers. They hope to detonate their bombs at the precise moment they were being treated by the most number of Israeli doctors and nurses. For example, in 2005 Hamas sent a Gaza woman named Wafa Samir Ibrahim Bas to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for life-saving treatments. But Hamas secretly padded her under-clothing with 20 pounds of high-powered explosives so she could blow up the doctors treating her in the Israeli hospital.

A Palestinian patient who needed life-saving treatment offered by Israeli doctors instead was prepared to blow herself up — with them – in a suicide bombing planned by Hamas. Fortunately, the 20 pounds of high-powered explosives hidden inside her underclothing was discovered in time. Could there have been a more diabolical act than murdering the very people who are trying to save your life?

Beyond the medical treatments given to the very terrorists sworn to destroy the Jewish state, Israel opened up a field hospital on its Syrian border in the Golan Heights to treat any wounded Syrian soldier or citizen seeking help. The IDF doctors and nurses asked no questions of any of the hundreds of wounded. The patients included soldiers from the hostile Syrian Army – still technically at war with Israel – and even fanatic Islamist terrorists including ISIS operatives who have vowed to slay every Jew in the world.

It was thus ironic that in the past two weeks, at the same exact Golan Heights site where Israel operated the field hospital treating wounded Syrians, Israeli soldiers found a system of IEDs set to kill an IDF patrol. An IDF investigation concluded that the IEDs could only have been placed in the very carefully calibrated position inside the Golan Heights by those very same patients who had come to the Israeli field hospital from Syria for medical care.

The story of ongoing Israeli medical treatments of senior Hamas leaders – even after that same leadership has ordered tens of thousands of missiles be fired into Israel in an attempt to kill as many civilians as possible – gets almost no attention in the western media. It prefers to promote a demonstrably false narrative that Israel is an “apartheid” country and that Palestinians are not afforded Israeli medical care.

In Israel, we know the truth. For example, in October 2014, just two months after Hamas started a war with Israel in which it launched more than 10,000 missiles into civilian targets, Sarah Haniyeh, the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, was treated at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital following complications she suffered in a Gaza hospital. Around the same time, but unreported, Hamas leader Haniyeh’s mother-in-law and granddaughter also left Gaza for treatment in Israeli hospitals.

The parade of Hamas murderers, kidnappers and genocidal Jew-hating terrorists who find no moral contradiction in seeking medical help from the very people they are sworn to wipe out boggles the mind. But then again mass murderers usually don’t have guilty consciences. They range from the sister of Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk to the children of Hamas military commanders who orchestrate maneuvers to carry out murderous terrorist raids on Israeli schools, towns and kibbutzes near the Gaza border.

Another absurdity that separates Israeli medicine from Palestinian cynicism and hypocrisy is the example of terrorist Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, who, while imprisoned in Israel in 2007, was operated on to have a brain tumor removed. Now, having been released in 2011 in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, he continues to furiously beat the Hamas drum for more and more missiles, more and more killings.

Yahya al-Sinwar was operated on for a brain tumor in 2007; his life was saved by Israeli doctors while he was imprisoned in Israel. Upon his release in 2011, he went right back to calling for more attacks on Israeli targets, more killings of Israeli civilians. Like Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, like Mahmoud Abbas and his relatives, like Ismail Haniyeh and his relatives, Yahya Sinwar was a beneficiary of Israeli medicine. And like them, after having his life saved, Sinwar went immediately back to denouncing Israeli Jews and calling for the destruction of their state. These recipients of Israeli medical care were unembarrassed; they did not think of themselves as hypocrites; they knew that you could accept aid from Infidels and still want those Infidels dead.

In sum, the Palestinian leaders demand to be treated in Israeli hospitals, or in the case of Mahmoud Abbas, who didn’t want to be photographed in such a hospital, by an Israeli cardiologist who made a house call in Ramallah. Here’s the roll call of the Palestinian gratin that has insisted on being treated by Jewish doctors in Israeli hospitals:

Saeb Erekat, the PLO’s main propagandist. (COVID).

Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority (heart condition), who made sure his wife, his brother, his brother-in-law had Israeli doctors in Israeli hospitals.

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, who spews his hatred of Jews to the faithful in Jerusalem mosques.

Yahya al-Sinwar, head of Hamas’ political bureau in Gaza (brain tumor). Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas, who insisted that his daughter, his mother-in-law, and his granddaughter all be treated in Israeli hospitals.

And now Israeli doctors have made the blind see – Hada Awad, and Jabar Fulani.


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