The Knesset's Labor, Welfare and Health Committee is scheduled to discuss soon a recent instruction issued to Magen David Adom paramedics to treat Palestinian patients with extra caution as they might be carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The committee will convene following a request by MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al).
Published by the emergency services organization about a month ago, the instruction advises paramedics to wear masks and protection suits when handling Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, and to disinfect the ambulance after each transfer.
An MDA paramedic told Ynet that many of the workers were puzzled by the new directive. "The instruction marks all Palestinian hospitals as contaminated and this seems too far-reaching," he explained.
'Racism virus spreading'
MK Tibi, a physician by profession, told Ynet: "This is a questionable and ugly decision that is not founded on medical or scientific grounds… treating all Palestinians as a risk group is marred by Israeli racism, which is slowly turning into a virus that endangers the health of Israeli society as a whole."
Tibi stated that he planned to urge the Health Ministry to revoke the new directive, in order to make sure that "treatment of patients is based on medical considerations alone, and not on national affiliation."
MK Arieh Eldad, who is also a doctor, said that while caution was required in the case of an epidemic outbreak in Palestinian hospitals, the fact that the directive was a sweeping one "seemed odd."
Head of the Human Rights Lobby at the Knesset, MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), stated that MDA's instruction "proves that the racism disease knows no boundaries, and that if we fail to stand up to it, it will end up hurting all sectors of society."
Amnon Meranda contributed to the report