Medicine Can Bring Warring Sides Together

Dr. Mustafa Yassin, an orthopedist from the Rabin Medical Center, and Dr. Kassis Shukri, a plastic surgeon from Ziv Medical Center in Safed, worked for two and a half intensive days with a Palestinian medical team at Shifa Hospital, Gaza's main medical facility. They were able to obtain special entry permits into the Gaza Strip for their mission. Their medical aid was sponsored by the Physicians for Human Rights organization in Israel, and Operation Smile, an American organization which operates 30 medical centers around the world.

Dr. Shukri coordinates Operation Smile's Israeli activities. He had been on a previous mission to Gaza, and he noted that presently the medical situation is even worse, due to very old equipment and lack of updated technology at the Gaza medical center. He stated that in the entire Gaza area there is only one plastic surgeon serving hundreds of cases every month.

During their time working at Shifa Hospital, Dr. Shukri treated over 30 children ranging from two months to 14 years of age. He performed four complicated surgeries, treating congenital anomalies such as a cleft palate, deformities, and cuts and burns. Most children had life-threatening conditions, having suffered from long-term deformities.

The two doctors aim to continue their work in the Gaza Strip, depending on security conditions and their ability to get entry permits to the Palestinian territories.

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