Australian ambassador visits Syrian patients in Israeli hospital
Australian Ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma and his wife Rachel, have made an official visit to the Ziv Medical Center in Zefat, visiting Syrian casualties hospitalised in different departments of the hospital.
This is the first official visit of an international representative to casualties of the Syrian civil war, hospitalized in Israel.
Relating to questions posed by journalists on the topic of the use of chemical weapons in Syria against the rebels, the Ambassador stated that all the facts have to be fully verified, but circumstances indicate that there has been use of chemical weapons, and not for the first time. The Ambassador added that the UN inspectors have been given access to the site and it is important to enable them to complete their task without disturbances and restrictions, in order to arrive at substantiated conclusions, to which the world must relate in all seriousness.
The Ambassador further stated that the Prime Minster of Australia has said that there are severe reactions worldwide to the Syrian government’s use of chemical warfare. “Use of chemical weapons is against ethical law as well as against international conventions”, said Ambassador Sharma.
During the visit, Dr. Calin Shapira, Deputy Director of the Ziv Medical Center, reviewed the state of the Syrian casualties and the circumstances of their arrival in Israel over the past six months, since the first arrival at Ziv Medical Center. The Ambassador and his wife were deeply touched by the personal stories of the casualties and were especially moved while visiting the fifteen and eight year old Syrian girls, hospitalized in the Orthopedic Ward. With the help of a translator, they were able to speak to the girls and present them with gifts prepared by their own daughter. Dr. Alexander Lerner, Head of the Orthopedic Department described the severe wounds the girls sustained and the complicated treatments they received, stating the journey to rehabilitation is still very long.
Concluding his visit, the Australian Ambassador thanked the medical team for their devoted treatment of the Syrians, “It was deeply moving to see how Ziv Hospital has opened its doors and its heart to a growing number of Syrian victims from the civil war raging just across the border. The professionalism, dedication and compassion of the entire staff at Ziv Hospital was something to behold. It is humanity at its best.” He commented on the Israeli Government’s gesture of good will, enabling the severely wounded to cross the border in order to receive treatment in Israel.
To date, 73 Syrian casualties have received treatment at the Ziv Medical Center, eight of them are children. Currently 13 Syrians are hospitalized, including three children and two women. Three casualties are defined as critical and are hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit.
Ambassador Sharma added: “President Assad must stop the slaughtering of his people.”
Donations to assist the Ziv Medical Center care for the Syrian patients may be transferred via the hospital’s Society of Friends of Ziv Medical Center, Zefat.