El 13 de agosto del 2014 Mark Clarfield, un médico israelita, con un hijo en el ejército de Israel, publica una carta en el BMJ titulada “Los dos somos médicos”. La carta está destinada a un imaginario colega palestino y refleja su posición en el conflicto Israel-Palestina y aboga para que, desde los valores comunes del servicio, la salud, la compasión que definen a la profesión, traten juntos de buscar una salida al conflicto.
Ese mismo día Izzeldin Abuelaish , médico palestino, profesor de Global Health en la Universidad de Toronto responde a la carta de su colega israelita. Izzeldin vive con su familia, cinco hijos, en Canadá. Eran ocho hijos, ocho hijos como Darwish. Tres de sus hijas fallecieron en una incursión del ejército de Israel en el año 2009.
La carta íntegra, haciendo importantes referencias a los principios de la Medicina Social y a Michael Marmot es esta (el texto marcado es mío):
We are both doctors. As a father, I understand how much you must love your sons and fear for them. My late wife and I had eight children. Five live with me in Toronto. They study and dream of a future denied to my other three daughters, who lie in a stone grave in Gaza, killed as teenagers by shellfire in the Israeli incursion of early 2009.
I was the first Palestinian doctor to be hired at Soroka University Medical Center in Israel. I helped couples experience the joy of parenthood. There is no happier moment than hearing a baby’s first cry: it is a cry of hope, irrespective of the child’s nationality or creed.
How many children must die or be maimed before a resolution can be found? While Israel continues to occupy Palestinian territory, depriving 1.8 million people the right to water, travel, education, jobs, and the most fundamental human need—freedom—then the violence will continue. We must find a way to stop the bloodshed, and as doctors we have a voice: we can treat these two patients and make them better.
I abhor any kind of violence in Palestine or Israel. It is a disease. The security of Israel and that of the nation of Palestine are interdependent. But to move forward there must be an end to the blockades and the occupation.
Hatred is a disease that results from exposure to harm, especially dehumanisation; it is contagious and therefore a public health problem. Let us come together as doctors to tackle the root causes of the current hatred and violence.
It is true that Palestinians are treated in Israel, but this is paid for by the Palestinian Authority, and patients are sent back to an uninhabitable ghetto. What is the value of treating patients and sending them back to the same miserable life? To use a medical analogy, the sickness on both sides of the Erez checkpoint is unequal. One side has a common cold; the other is trying to cope with cancer. Young children in Gaza and Palestine are so traumatised. They have seen so many family members killed. They will develop a sense of hatred and become radicalised. They live in an open prison with little chance to fulfil their dreams.
In the past weeks there have been 7200 airstrikes by the Israeli armed forces, and most of the nearly 2000 people killed have been civilian, many of them women and children. Now the negotiations begin again, this time in Egypt, but the ultimate goal cannot be yet more negotiations but an independent Palestinian state.
Conflict turns casualties into faceless statistics. My daughters were regarded as collateral damage. I asked the Israeli government for an apology. But I’m still waiting and have to prove my daughters were victims.
It is important for Palestinians and those living in Gaza not to become faceless. In the same way that the murder of three young Israeli hitchhikers will always be remembered, let’s add the names of Ismail Bakr, aged 9, and his three cousins, Ahmed, 10, Zakariya, 10, and Mohammad, 11, cut down as they ran in terror across a Gaza beach. Hundreds of other children, who enjoyed playing on swings, kicking a football, and feeding pigeons with their grandfathers, have now been buried by their distraught parents. I know well the panic and chaos of Gaza’s hospitals, with insufficient equipment and power, with patients on makeshift stretchers and exhausted doctors unable to cope.
We are both doctors. We do not blame patients for their sickness; we look for symptoms to treat the disease. Both patient and doctor need to take responsibility, in hospital but also outside. Doctors can be a great force for peace as communicators and messengers of humanity.
Recurring violence will never solve what is occurring between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The violence is a result of a violation of human dignity. Palestinians need to be allowed freedom and independence. The chronic disease here is the occupation.
Gaza is burying its dead but there are nearly 10 000 people who are severely wounded. More than 10 000 houses, schools, and hospitals have been destroyed. As fathers and doctors we need to teach our children to value human life.
We are both doctors, bound by the Hippocratic oath to preserve life, whether we are Muslims or Jews or Christians. Did you tell your sons that? I need you to tell your sons not to harm others, not to kill people. Your sons are fighting for a country that is occupying another nation. Did you tell them this? I ask you to tell your sons to lay down their guns and to speak up against these atrocities.
Your Palestinian neighbour,