Ontario will treat children injured in Gaza, Health Minister says

The Ontario government is willing to help a Palestinian-Canadian doctor get medical treatment for hundreds of injured children from Gaza.
Palestinian Seraj Ismail Abdel Al, 5, lightly wounded in an overnight Israeli strike, inspects the damage to several buildings in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

TORONTO – The Ontario government is willing to provide medical care to 100 injured children from Gaza, it said Tuesday – several days after a Palestinian-Canadian doctor made a public plea to bring kids to Canada for treatment.

Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins issued a statement Tuesday morning arguing the province has a “moral responsibility” to help the injured children, whether Israeli or Palestinian.

“We received a formal request from Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish to make the necessary resources available to allow our hospitals to support kids who need medical attention due the conflict,” Hoskins said in the statement.

“We have engaged with our partners in the health system and are pleased to do what we can to help meet the needs of any child, whether Palestinian or Israeli.”

Abuelaish is a Palestinian-born doctor who worked at an Israeli hospital. He’s the author of “I Shall Not Hate,” a book written after three of his children were killed in 2009 from the shelling of an Israeli tank in Gaza.

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He’s now an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and wants to bring 100 injured children from Gaza to Ontario for medical treatment.

Watch: (Aug. 1) Sean Mallen talks to Dr. Abuelaish about trying to bring wounded children to Ontario. 

The McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, the Kingston General Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, The Hospital of Sick Children and the London Health Sciences Centre have all offered to treat the children.

Israel and Hamas paused cross-border attacks Tuesday as a three-day ceasefire took effect at approximately 8 a.m.

Sixty-seven Israelis and 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in almost a month of fighting in the region, according to Israeli and Gazan health officials, respectively.

It’s not yet clear how the children would be transported from Gaza to Ontario.

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Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement it is “consulting with our partners to determine how best we can provide assistance to victims of Hamas.”

Watch: 16×9 story on Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.