Hannah Shabathai, Hadassah’s Main Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed the 12th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on September 29, showcasing the Hadassah Medical Center as an oasis of peace. See below for her statement:
The Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, which my organization represents, is a testimony to Israel’s commitment to standards of compassion, respect for human rights, and the dignity of all human beings, irrespective of their race or religion. Within a remarkable oasis of peace, this sophisticated medical and humanitarian institution is, I believe, unique in the entire Middle East.
Here, medicine acts as a bridge to peace. The Organization, comprising two hospitals, a research center, and five schools of medicine, has been performing for decades on the principle that advancement and cooperation in medicine and science transcend politics, religion, and national boundaries.
The Palestinian and Israeli doctor work closely as friends. Patients are treated regardless of who they are. The terrorist and the victim of terror are treated together. They lie side by side.
In 2005, the Organization in Jerusalem was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in the light of its upholding of these principles.
Of the 1 million patients treated at the hospitals annually, over 100,000 are Palestinian, from the West Bank and Gaza. Last year, the hospitals received an average of 1,600 referrals of Palestinian patients each month.
Sadly, soon after the Gaza war, the Palestinian Authority decided to cease payment for treatment of its citizens in any Israeli hospital, including Hadassah’s, hence depriving Palestinian patients of life-saving medicine, forcing some to stop treatment before completion.
But Hadassah continues to extend its range of services to Palestinians, their hospitals and physicians, absorbing millions of dollars each year for health care and medical training to Palestinians.
Mr. President, I only wished to provide to this prestigious forum an example of an Israeli institution which reflects the High Commissioner’s statement at the beginning of this session. I quote “…our common goal is to focus on and protect all human rights for all.”
Thank you, Mr. President.