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The parents of Ahmed al-Khatib, a twelve year old boy killed by accident by the IDF in Jenin, have given a gift to the peoples of Israel and Palestine, and to peace. They have allowed the organs of their son to be used to help save the lives of Israeli children.
The boy's father said the decision to donate his son Ahmed's organs stemmed from ordeal of his brother, who died waiting for a liver transplant, and from his family's desire to help others regardless of nationality.
Al Khatib also said:
The shooting of Ahmad al-Khatib was a tragic error:
Ahmad's organs have so far saved the lives of six Israelis of different ages, including a Druze girl who got his heart, and two Israelis who received his lungs and liver.
Those who fill their nightmares with visions of demonic Palestinian terrorists or equally demonic "illegal Zionist settlers" may be surprised to learn that this is not the first time that Palestinians and Israelis have donated organs to each other. For example, the organs of Yoni Jesner, a Scottish Jewish student who was the victim of a Palestinian terror attack, were donated to several people, including an Arab child from East Jerusalem. Jesner was studying in a Yeshiva in the settlement of Gush Etzion. His parents were happy to help others live. Yoni Jesner said, "Always give. Taking rarely makes you feel liked or good about yourself," a sentiment that surely would be appreciated by the al-Khatib family and many others.
There were many other cases too, apparently:
"Shared humanity" is not just a cliche. Here is to the memories of Ahmed al Khatib and Yoni Jesner, of Qaher Aoude and all the others, and to the generosity of their parents, whose acts ensure that "human" does not become a curse word, and who command us to make peace.
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Replies: 8 comments
Their gesture is a magnificent and inspiring one. It ensures that their son's tragically short life will never be forgotten. Here are a few more stories of organ donation from the region that cross religious and ethnic lines:
Two liver transplantation operations were needed to save the life of Amjed Omar, a 9 year-old Israeli Arab child, who suffered from a chronic liver disease. When his liver and kidneys stopped functioning, he was hospitalized in a critical condition at Schneider Children's Intensive Care Unit. In a 12-hour operation, surgeons transplanted a healthy liver lobe, but the organ was rejected. When Tomer Driham, 18, was killed in a tragic traffic accident a few days later, surgeons transplanted his liver lobe into Amjed's body, this time with complete success. The happy father, Jalal, said emotionally: "I thank the medical team at Schneider Children's which saved my son's life, and in particular, I thank the family, which donated the organ, for the life-saving act they made for my son."
There are some acts of humanitarianism and bravery that simply surpass description and defy belief. Such was the courageous decision of the Jesner family, whose 19 year-old son, Yoni, was fatally wounded in a bus terrorist suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. In the darkest hour of their despair, the family agreed to donate Yoni's organs to help save other lives. One of the recipients was a 7 year-old Palestinian girl, Yasmin Abu-Ramillah from East Jerusalem, who underwent a life-saving kidney transplant at Schneider Children's. The act symbolized the sanctity of life even in death.
National differences stop when it comes to health. Jewish Ron Azari, 11, suffered from diseased kidneys and was in urgent need of a transplant, but the blood type of his parents did not match. Ilia Halon, an Israeli Arab, also needed a transplant but no-one in his family was suitable to donate a kidney. So, doctors decided to conduct a "kidney cross" between the two families whereby Ilia‚Äôs wife Lena donated a kidney to Ron, while his father, Yigal, donated a kidney to Ilia. Surgeons operated on Ron at Schneider Children's, while Ilia underwent his transplant at another hospital. Two cross match transplants have been previously conducted in Israel, but this was the first carried out on a child.
Posted by Wendy Leibowitz @ 11/08/2005 10:59 PM CST
we need more of this and ;ess of the violence. if palestinians learnt the lesson of Gandhian non violence and uces that path instead of intefadah then their opponents would not have an upper hand and they would not be as villified as they are.
Posted by moiz esufally @ 11/10/2005 04:55 AM CST
I know that it may be too long (I am open to edits) but I will give this sermon this Saturday in synagogue -- based on the Al-Khatib gift of life.
Parshat Lech Lecha
‚ÄúAvram took his wife Sarai and his brother‚Äôs son Lot, and all the wealth
Rashi (11th century commentator) explains the strange expression ‚Äúand the souls that they had made in Haran,‚ÄĚ by explaining that it referred to the people that Avram and Sarai coverted there -- ‚Äúbrought under the wings of the Shechina.‚ÄĚ By bringing these people closer to God, says Rashi, Avram and Sarai had in a sense ‚Äúmade them.‚ÄĚ
In the Midrash Rabbah (39:14), Rabbi Eleazar, in the name of Rabbi Jose ben Zimra, explains the phrase ‚Äúand all the souls that they had made,‚ÄĚ in a dialogue:
Q: If all the nations of the world assembled to create one insect, they could
A: It refers, to the proselytes [which they had made].
Q: But if that is true, then it should just say, 'That they had converted;‚Äô
A: That is to teach you that one who brings a non-Jew near [to God] is as
This week a story appeared in the news davka about a non-Jewish family ‚Äď Palestinian actually -- that reminded me of Avraham Avinu and his work of making souls in Haran. A story which has the potential to bring us all closer to God.
The family of Ahmed al-Khatib, who died this week, donated his organs
Who is Ahmed al-Khatib? He was a 12 year-old boy who was killed last week by Israeli troops who mistook his toy gun for a real rifle. Forget for a
So what did the family decide to do? Send pictures to the world? Begin riots in the streets? Call for revenge? Sue for damages? They did none of these things. They decided to donate his organs to save other Israeli and Palestinian children.
Jamal al-Khatib, the boy‚Äôs father explained: ‚ÄúIn our religion, God allows
Can you even imagine the strength and the deep goodness this act required! How the family could even be thinking of bringing hearts closer after such a devastating loss.
I'm also struck by how hard it to remember that there are good people who live on the other side of the fence. Of course we know that some Palestinian parents are preparing their kids to become martyrs ‚Äď I know it.
But we too easily lose sight of the fact that some of them are praying that peace will come soon. It's like when we watch the thousands of Arab youths are rioting in France ‚Äď but we ignore those ‚Äď including the families of the two young men who were accidentally killed ‚Äď who are at home calling for an end to the violence.
Are there 50 or 45 or 10 righteous people in the city of Jenin where
Our ancestors Avram and Sarai made souls in Haran. How did they convert them? They would invite people in to their home, give them to eat and to drink. They showed them acts of loving-kindness and brought them closer to God. (Sifri, Va'etchanan).
The Al-Khatib family's gift of life should inspire and should humble us. But most of all we too should be converted by this bold act of loving-kindness.
We should be converted to the idea that Abraham's challenge to God ‚Äď to not sweep away the innocent along with guilty ‚Äď can be our challenge well ‚Äď perhaps we generalize too much about "the Palestinians" and should be more careful about who we are talking about ‚Äď terrorist groups, leadership, or ordinary citizens.
For the Palestinians, I would hope that the Al-Khatib act of loving-kindness would convert others to see the humanity of the Israelis ‚Äď how much we value human life ‚Äď and how much we appreciate this blessed gift. May both nations learn to grieve the loss of innocent life on both sides of the fence. And may the Al-Khatib name be made great and a blessing ‚Äď for us all.
I had thought to end in a personal prayer that years from now when the young Israelis who were saved by the donated organs become soldiers, their memory of the Al-Khatib family's act of loving-kindness would restrain them ‚Äď give them pause -- before shooting to quickly and killing another child in Jenin.
But you know what? It was an accident, a terrible, tragic accident. I think it more appropriate to offer the only prayer that will bring us closer to the wings of the Shechina ‚Äď and that is, that years from now, the Palestinian heart beating in our Israeli soldier won't have to serve in Jenin in the first place.
Posted by Rabbi Paul Arberman @ 11/10/2005 10:27 PM CST
now the world knows who is the terriost killing a kid is not a error
Posted by muhammad junaid @ 11/11/2005 09:46 AM CST
Mashallah the kid prove alot to the world. now the so called peace makes knows the truth who is killing innocents ... for al-Khatib family, brother pakistani muslims proud on your action may allah bless on you & your country amen
Posted by Faisal @ 11/11/2005 09:51 AM CST
Hmm this would be a good theme for an inspirational, peace-building kind of movie. Thanks for relating the story!
Posted by Lisa @ 11/12/2005 03:54 AM CST
It is unfortunate that your prescious childs life was taken before their time!
It is very generous of you that you share his remaining life with others.
See my web site for new hope in Islam....
Anne Marie Elderkin Habibi
Posted by Anne Marie Elderkin Habibi @ 11/13/2005 04:25 PM CST
Other cases of cross national organ donation in the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Source, Yediot Achront 7.4.2002 page 12.
Posted by Dvar Dea @ 11/27/2005 01:36 PM CST
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