A Guest Post by AKUS
Adam Levick recently wrote about 180,000 Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals in 2010. A friend pointed out that recently a question was asked in the British House of Lords about this very topic by a peer named Lord Hylton. According to his entry on Wikipedia, Hylton is one of the ninety elected hereditary peers who remain in the House of Lords after the House of Lords Act of 1999. Lord Hylton sits as a cross-bencher.
The record of the question is as follows ( * Hansard source. Citation: HL Deb, 25 November 2010, c377W):
Written answers and statements, 25 November 2010
Lord Hylton (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will discuss with the Government of Israel the need to increase the number of patients from Gaza who are permitted to go to the West Bank and Israel for urgent major medical treatments.
Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
We, along with our international allies, believe that it is not only imperative for goods and exports to leave Gaza, but that it should also be possible for people, particularly those needing medical treatment, and others to move freely in and out of Gaza.
The UK raises a number of human rights issues, on a regular basis, with the Israeli authorities at ministerial and official level. We will continue to follow-up on these issues.
As it happens, Lord Hylton’s name was not unknown to me. In research I conducted for my column which looked into the source for the article by Seamus Milne , I discovered that his trip had been organized by a group calling itself “MEMO”, an acronym for the Islamic Middle East Monitor. Milne’s visit with a couple of British MPs was treated as somewhat of a side issue by MEMO, but a little further digging came up with the far greater coverage of a visit to Ramallah on July 10th, 2010 – British peers meet with Hamas parliamentarians in Ramallah.
The Peers in question were Lord Ahmad, Baroness Tonge, and Lord Hylton. Though I had never heard of Hylton before, Tonge (of the Haitian body-parts libel) and Ahmad are quite well-known – infamous, in fact. They were brought to Ramallah and Jerusalem in a rather unsuccessful attempt to publicize the “plight” of four Palestinian Legislative Council members “who are currently seeking sanctuary in the Red Cross offices in Jerusalem”, in the words of MEMO. (You can download a multi-page report at Peers Fact Finding Mission to Jerusalem. There is some confusion over whether there are three or four PLC members “seeking sanctuary”).
It is noteworthy that the three PA members have sought and been granted “sanctuary” by the Red Cross, which is supposed to be a non-partisan body working for the benefit of POWs. This is the same Red Cross that has not managed to do a thing for Gilad Shalit, and is providing “sanctuary” for three people who are not, in fact, POWs – whatever the issues are regarding their case and Israel’s wish to expel them from the West Bank. In comparison to Shalit, who has not been allowed to meet with anyone other than his captors, these three organize press conference whenever they wish, including with three British peers!
It was presumably during this trip that Lord Hylton’s interest in the number of Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals arose. Not only is the MEMO report one long paean to Palestinian victimhood, it is also quite clear from his question in the House of Lords that he was fed the usual string of lies about Israel. He, Tonge and Ahmad met with a body that labels itself the “High Follow up Committee” near Nazareth. This Committee claims to represent all the “Arab” political parties in Israel, including Hadash which actually has a large number of deluded Jewish members. Here are a few extracts from the MEMO report of that meeting:
One of the Committee’s central demands is their call for the international community not to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, explaining that if the state was recognised for its Jewish character it would automatically lead to discrimination of Israeli citizens of other faiths.
the 130,000 Arabs that remained in Israel [the reference is, presumably, to the time immediately after the 1948 war] faced extreme racism that exclude the Arabs from Israeli public life.
(Note the cognitive dissonance – this group claims to represent three Arab Israeli parties while at the same time claiming Arabs are excluded from Israeli public life!)
Baroness Tonge, Lord Ahmed and Lord Hylton were pleased to be able to meet the Committee and Lord Hylton noted that it was his first opportunity to meet with Arabs who have Israeli citizenship.
The Committee provided numerous other examples of discrimination such as health services and recounted that infant mortality amongst Arabs was twice that of Jewish Israelis. They also stated that many hospitals are not located near Arab communities and many Arab areas do not have access to ambulances meaning that access to emergency health care is much more restricted.
Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of the area in which this meeting took place would recall that the very large hospital in Afula is about 10 minutes drive from Nazareth and treats Arabs and Jews completely equally, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
This sort of nonsense runs over 15 pages, and apparently forms the backdrop for Lord Hylton’s question in the House of Lords. Both question and response completely avoid mentioning that Arab Israeli citizens have exactly the same rights and treatment in Israeli hospital as other citizens, and that 180,000 Palestinians have been treated in Israel in 2010:
…Dr. Tawfik Nasr, Director of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem and coordinator of all hospitals in east Jerusalem, described the example of patients coming from Gaza to be treated in Jerusalem, sometimes over a period of three to four months. They are housed in a special hotel on the Mount of Olives.
…And, unbelievable though it may sound, because of desire and will, it is working. Last year, 180,000 Palestinian citizens entered Israel to receive treatment.
Lord Hylton, by the way, has an interesting voting record:
With a friend like this, and twice-disgraced Baroness Tonge, the Palestinians may want to think more deeply about who they have representing them in the House of Lords, spread their lies.
“An Iranian with detailed knowledge of the country’s Red Crescent – the Islamic version of the Red Cross – says the government is using it as a cover for its agents in Iran, Lebanon and elsewhere around the Middle East, and to smuggle weapons. This is a serious allegation, in breach of Red Crescent’s strict neutrality.”