Israel Abandons Suspected Palestinian Coronavirus Patient at West Bank Checkpoint

Man working in Israel without a permit was reported to authorities after being treated at Ichilov hospital and taken to the checkpoint where he immediately collapsed

A Palestinian man who was working in Israel without a permit and displaying symptoms of the coronavirus was abandoned by police at a West Bank checkpoint with a fever on Monday, without any Palestinian authorities being notified.

Malek is taken away in an ambulance after collapsing on the side of the road. Video by Ahmad Alqurna

Witnesses said the man, identified as Malek, went through the Maccabim checkpoint then collapsed onto the ground.

Malek, who lives near Nablus, told Haaretz he was employed in central Israel. After feeling unwell he developed flu-like symptoms and his employer took him to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.

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Ichilov personnel tested him for coronavirus and performed first aid.

He said a hospital guard reported him to the police and a van came to pick him up. Officers handcuffed him and took him to Maccabim checkpoint where he said they “threw him out", before his coronavirus test results came back.

As a rule, the Civil Administration Health Care Coordinator Office coordinates patient transfer between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but in this case no such coordination was made.

Malek said he had fever and other flu symptoms and didn’t have the strength to stand. Palestinians at the checkpoint called him an ambulance which arrived about half an hour after he had crossed through the checkpoint and collapsed on the ground.

A video filmed by a reporter from the Palestinian news agency Ma’an shows Malek laying on the ground while the Palestinian ambulance arrives to collect him. The Palestinian Authority examined Malek and he was found not to have the coronavirus.

In response, the police said that yesterday they “received a report from Ichilov Hospital about a person suspected to be in Israel illegally who had arrived at the hospital for examination. After checking with the hospital he was released by medical staff after tests. Police arrived at the scene in proper protective gear and took him to the Maccabim checkpoint since he had been in Israel illegally.” The police added that “he was released at the checkpoint in a respectful manner after a stop was put to the violation of the law, as required.”

Officials at Ichilov responded by saying that “the Palestinian man was released from the hospital after receiving medical treatment” and that they do not get police involved while somebody is being treated.