Israeli doctors screen 40 Iraqi children

Three Israeli doctors working in Jordan on Tuesday screened 40 Iraqi children suffering from heart disease in a rare instance of cooperation between people from Israel and the Arab country, Haaretz reports.

“The doctors said they hoped their actions will improve relations between the two Mideast nations and ease tensions between Israel and the rest of the Arab world.

“Dr. Sion Houri, director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, said he thought ties and friendship were being built through his work in Jordan with the Iraqi children.”Our only previous exchanges with the Iraqis are the Scud missiles”, he said, referring to the missiles Iraq, under former dictator Saddam Hussein, fired on Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.

“But the Iraqis we met here have been very receptive and cooperative, which makes me believe that the animosity and war aren’t between the people”, he said as he and two colleagues screened the Iraqi children, whose ages ranged from a few months to 14 years old.

“Following the U.S.-led war that ousted Saddam in 2003, diplomats discussed the possibility of improved relations between Israel and Iraq.

“But in 2004, then Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi vowed that Iraq would not break Arab ranks and sign a separate peace deal with Israel. Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel.”

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