Many democratic states don’t provide so much medical assistance to the civilian populations who are citizens of nations that they are in conflict with. For example, since 2011, USAID has only provided medical assistance for 180 Afghan patients, a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of Afghans who were wounded during the fighting between the Taliban and NATO forces or by roadside bombs. Yet Israel has adopted a different approach, to value all human lives, including the lives of Palestinian civilians, despite the adversarial comments and actions taken by their leadership.
Israel, as a nation committed to Jewish values, supports the Talmudic passage which states, “Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved the entire world.” This is one of the main reasons why Israel is always among the first nations to send humanitarian aid missions to assist natural disaster victims and this is why Israel is committed to help saving Palestinian lives, even if at times it puts IDF soldiers at risk. In the past, Israel has been forced to transfer medical supplies into Palestinian areas under qassam rocket fire and at checkpoints into Gaza that have been targeted by suicide bombers.
In many instances, bringing these Palestinians to Israel is the only way to save their lives. For example, a seven-month-old baby, who faced almost certain death in a Gazan hospital, was brought to an Israeli hospital that was able to perform open heart surgery, closing a hole in the infants heart. This Palestinian baby was brought to Israel by an Israeli humanitarian organization called Save A Child’s Heart, which has saved the lives of over 3,000 children from 42 countries, with fifty percent of them hailing from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Iraq, and Morocco.
Yet aside from giving Palestinians the opportunity to receive medical care inside Israel proper, IDF soldiers operating within Palestinian areas also provide medical assistance to the local population. As one IDF soldier, Sergeant Gilad Nesher, stated upon delivering a Palestinian baby into this world, “There is a great deal of satisfaction in giving life.” This particular Palestinian baby who was born in the Jordan Valley was struggling to breathe after he was born. The IDF soldiers performed CPR on the baby until he was able to breathe again. As one IDF military source stated, “These soldiers really fought to save the baby. It was very exciting to see them. They didn’t give up and proved that there is no higher value than saving a life.”
In other instances, IDF soldiers saved the life of a 10-month old Palestinian baby who was suffering from respiratory distress, a young Palestinian girl who had meningitis, and another young girl with jaundice. Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Michael Findlar claimed that many local Palestinians understand that they are better off turning to the IDF when they have health problems, for they possess a regimental infirmary and a military ambulance that have the means to assist them in ways that the Palestinian Authority does not.