[Addition 8:40pm May 29: Gershom Gorenberg writes that he just received word from a military spokesman that the permit has been granted. It was the right decision, made more likely by good people paying attention.]
One joy made possible by the internet is the relationship you can form with a distant friend or colleagues you may never actually meet in person. I feel that way about Gershom Gorenberg, the great Israeli journalist and impresario of southjerusalem.com. His book Accidental Empire is terrific, as is so much of his other work.
Gershom and others are helping a young Palestinian girl named Dalal Rusrus, who requires sophisticated medical care available in Israel for a serious brain disorder. After an active campaign to help her gain access to Jerusalem, she was hospitalized for two weeks at Alyn Hospital. She needs to come back for follow-up care tomorrow May 30. Unfortunately, Israeli authorities have turned down her parents’ requests to enter Jerusalem to bring her to the hospital.
I just emailed the Israeli Defense Force spokesman Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovitz (Foreign Press Branch) firstname.lastname@example.org and Capt. Amir Koren email@example.com of the Civil Administration requesting that they reconsider or revisit this issue so that this family can access the care Dalal needs.
Helping one disabled child will not address the huge differences between Palestinians and Israelis. This is still critical for one family. It is also critical in a larger way. It illustrates one way that good people on each side can demonstrate good-will and empathy, and more than that, to extend important practical help, to others across the occupation line. In my view, these human connections are quite essential.
When I get discouraged by negative events such as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Washington speech or the spate of hateful statements by Hamas spokesmen*, I take heart that there are good people on the scene, sending a very different and more humane message from both sides of the line in a very difficult time.
Here are the identification card numbers of those affected.
Osama Rusrus 909512386
Sunya Rusrus 903627057
Dalal Rusrus 420037004
* Update I certainly do not regard Netanyahu’s statements as morally equivalent to Hamas’s hate-filled rhetoric. I do believe Netanyahu’s rhetoric and actions on the ground are not what I would like to see from the elected leader of a democratic Jewish state.