Hostage, Al-Shifa hospital

Bethlehem hospital cuts 20% of beds while the Palestinian Authority rushes to pay terrorists, bypassing regulations.

By Itamar Marcus, PMW

A Palestinian hospital in Bethlehem has announced that it is reducing the number of beds in the hospital by 20% and not accepting any patients to its cardiology department who are referred by the PA Ministry of Health because the PA owes the hospital 65 million shekels (apx $18.2 million).

This comes just three weeks after Palestinian Media Watch reported that the PA was so anxious to pay the terrorists who had been arrested since October 7 that it decided to bypass its own regulations to make it easier for the terrorists to receive a PA salary.

Prior to October 7, the PA was spending between 50 and 55 million shekels a month to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists, and with thousands of new imprisoned terrorists eligible for salaries the PA terror payments should reach 65 million shekels per month.

If the PA would decide to cancel its terror rewards for just one month it could give the 65 million shekels to the hospital and have the PA’s money help sick patients instead of rewarding terrorists. However, based on past PA behavior, the PA will never stop paying salaries to terrorists but instead will tug on the heartstrings of international donors and beg for money. And based on past donor behavior, they will not tell the PA: ‘Use your own money instead of giving it away to terrorists,’ but will take their taxpayer’s money to cover the PA’s debt so the PA can continue paying salaries to terrorists.

The following is the announcement of the cut in hospital services by the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation Hospital:

“The Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR) Hospital board of directors announced a stoppage in receiving patients with referrals from the PA Ministry of Health in a number of [hospital’s] departments, in particular referrals to the heart disease department, and a reduction in accepting patients referred to other departments.

A letter from the BASR board of directors to PA Minister of Health Dr. Mai Al-Kaila and the Palestinian [Authority] government… said that the BASR was forced to reduce the number of hospital beds from 100 to 80. The number of employees was also reduced due to the BASR’s financial crisis, after the Ministry of Health’s cumulative sums of debt reached 65 million Israeli shekels (apx $18.2 million -Ed.)…

The letter stated: ‘…In light of the severe monetary circumstances in the hospital, we will continue to provide medical services according to the BASR’s capability,’ and it explained that it was decided to stop receiving patients to the cardiology department due to the inability to provide them with all the medical equipment that is necessary for its operation aside from cases of heart attack… The BASR also decided to stop receiving emergency cases (urgent care) [parentheses in source] and to reduce reception of patients for surgeries…

The BASR Hospital council explained that these decisions will take effect in another two weeks from today [Feb. 19, 2024], and noted that in recent years paths have opened for resolving the problem of the cumulative debt, and the hospital has taken a lot upon itself with the employees and teams, but today it is no longer possible to continue bearing this anymore.”

[PNN, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 19, 2024; Fatah Movement – Bethlehem Branch,

Telegram channel, Feb. 19, 2024]