An Israeli hospital has fired a doctor for giving sweets to patients, including a wounded Palestinian boy who was under guard as an alleged terrorist.
The medic, who was fired for being a “terrorist sympathiser” because of the gesture, was identified as Dr Ahmad Mahajna, reportedly a Palestinian cardiothoracic surgeon with Israeli citizenship, who worked at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
The decision to give the boy, aged 16, sweets from a leftover party landed him in hot water because the child was at the hospital in police custody.
But a rights group called the Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), which is based in Tel Aviv, said the doctor was the victim of a “racist, nationalist, and populist witch hunt.”
Dr Mahajna was reportedly fired on Sunday, 27th of November, after a weeks-long investigation.
The doctor was investigated by the hospital as of mid-October after staff had a party at the hospital and gave leftover sweets and refreshments to all the patients, not just the boy.
But among them, there was the 16-year-old Palestinian boy, named as Ahmed Abu Qutaish, who was in police custody, and Dr Mahajna and two other staff members reportedly gave some of the snacks to him as well.
The teenager was being treated after he was shot by the Israeli police for allegedly stabbing an Israeli man in Jerusalem a few days earlier.
The officers guarding the teenager reportedly complained to the hospital management who then reportedly issued a statement saying that Dr Mahajna was a “terrorist sympathiser”.
They called a hearing and despite “letters of support from patients and colleagues, all describing him as a caring and dedicated physician”, according to the PHRI, this “proved useless” and the doctor was fired.
The PHRI said in a statement: “The hospital’s conduct is a vile attempt to pacify those demanding the blood of the detained patient and the physician caring for him.”
They added: “These actions have an influence on the medical staff, particularly Palestinian employees, and promote a culture of oppression and silencing.”
The doctor’s family have reportedly condemned his dismissal and have said that they will raise the issue with European diplomats in Israel.
Lawyer Ruslan Mahajna, Dr Ahmad Mahajna’s brother, who works representing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli courts alongside another family member named as Khaled Mahajna, told local media: “We will inform ambassadors of the European Union of the racist and intimidating procedure and decision taken by the administration of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.”
He added: “We call on European hospitals and medical centres to show solidarity with the doctor who has been vilified for no reason.”
Dr Ahmad Mahajna reportedly studied medicine at Ulm University in Germany after his family was forcibly displaced to Umm al-Fahm in 1948.
He returned to Israel to work in Israeli hospitals, where, according to local media, Palestinians have long complained of being discriminated against despite making up nearly 21 per cent of the physicians and accounting for 23 per cent of nursing jobs in Israel.
Lawyer Khaled Mahajna, Ahmad’s other brother, told local media that his brother’s dismissal was part of the situational institutional racism in Israel that has only got worse as a result of the far-right winning parliamentary elections recently.