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Palestinian boy's organs save Israeli patients

Three Israeli children were able to receive transplants after the parents of a Palestinian boy shot by Israeli soldiers donated his organs.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The parents of a Palestinian boy shot by Israeli soldiers donated his organs to three Israeli children waiting for transplants.

Ismail Khatib said the decision to donate his son Ahmed’s organs Sunday was rooted in his memories of his brother, who died at age 24 while waiting for a liver transplant, and in his family’s desire to help others regardless of their nationality.

“I don’t mind seeing the organs in the body of an Israeli or a Palestinian. In our religion, God allows us to give organs to another person and it doesn’t matter who the person is,” Khatib said. He added that he hoped the donation would send a message of peace to Israelis and Palestinians.

Ahmed, 12, was shot by Israeli soldiers Thursday while they were conducting a raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. The soldiers said the boy was carrying a toy rifle and they mistook him for a militant.

Ahmed died of his wounds late Saturday, and on Sunday, three Israeli girls — two Jewish and the other Druse — underwent surgery to receive his lungs, heart and liver.

The father of 12-year-old Samah Gadban, who had been waiting five years for a heart, called the donation a “gesture of love.” Riad Gadban spoke as he juggled phone calls in a waiting room at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in the Israeli town of Petah Tikvah. Samah’s mother sat by her bed, holding her hand.

A chance to give thanks
Khatib said he hoped to meet the recipients of his son’s organs.

“The most important thing is that I see the person who received the organs, to see him alive.”

Gadban said he will invite Khatib and his family to a party for Samah when she leaves the hospital.

“I want to thank him and his family. With their gift, I would like for them to think that my daughter is their daughter,” Gadban said.

The national transplant center reported that a 14-year-old Jewish girl received Ahmed’s lungs and a 7-month-old girl underwent surgery Sunday evening to receive his liver.

Israel has a chronic shortage of donor organs that many medical officials attribute to Jewish religious taboos against such donations.