Israeli medical teams treat Jewish and Arab patients equally. Most recently, they struggled to try to save the lives of two Palestinian men.

Two Palestinian men in their 20s drowned on Tuesday afternoon in a pond in the Jordan Valley despite efforts by Israeli volunteers to rescue them.

“Two teams of Israeli volunteer rescuers arrived on the scene immediately from Samaria and from the Jordan Valley,” Netanel, a regional search and rescue unit volunteer from Judea and Samaria, said. “Our special aquatic team managed to locate and pull the unconscious Palestinians from the water and began resuscitation attempts.”

The tragedy occurred after a group of young Palestinian Arabs went for a swim in one of the natural ponds of the northern Jordan Valley.

When two of the swimmers disappeared, the others contacted local Israeli Security Forces, who summoned civilian and IDF search and rescue units.

The medical team administered CPR until a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance arrived to ferry them to a Palestinian Authority hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries.

Long Track Record of Treating Palestinian Patients

This is by no means a singular event. Israeli hospitals and medical teams have a long track record of treating Palestinian patients, in many cases free of charge.

IDF medical teams and Israeli civilian emergency units from communities in Judea and Samaria regularly treat local Arabs, often after car accidents, for a broad array of ailments and injuries. Walking to an IDF checkpoint or to the front gate of an Israeli community for medical treatment is common practice among Arabs living in the Palestinian Authority (PA)-administered territories.

On April 1, 2014, for example, an IDF medical team treated 20 wounded Palestinian Arabs after a serious car crash. Last December, a car accident in the region involved three seriously injured Palestinian Arab women who were treated by an IDF medical team at the scene. They required more extensive care and were transferred to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa provides medical care to hundreds of patients from Gaza and the PA-administered territories year round; 650 children and teenagers were treated there throughout 2013.

During Operation Protective Edge last summer, as terrorists in Gaza were firing on Israeli citizens, patients at Rambam included three adults and eight children from Gaza as well as three adults and two children from the PA, in addition to seven patients from the PA in outpatient clinics.

A report published by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) shows that 219,464 Palestinian patients received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals during 2012, including 21,270 children.

By: United with Israel Staff and Michael Zeff, Tazpit News Agency