Ontario offers to treat wounded Palestinian and Israeli children

Marcy Oster

TORONTO (JTA) — The province of Ontario has offered to treat Palestinian and Israeli children wounded in the Israel-Gaza war.

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said in the announcement this week that the province was willing to take the most serious cases from Gaza and Israel if the children are unable to receive proper treatment at home but can make the journey to Canada, the Canadian Press reported.

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Israeli and Palestinian authorities have indicated they are willing to cooperate with the effort, Hoskins said.

Five Ontario hospitals — including Toronto’s eminent Hospital for Sick Children — have offered to treat the kids. Some medical staff has offered to work for free.

“Children who are suffering on either side of the conflict, we want to do what we can to help them,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters on Tuesday.

Hoskins, who co-founded and led the charity War Child Canada before entering politics, told the Toronto Star that Ontarians “have a moral responsibility to respond in this instance.”

“My heart goes out to the victims, particularly the youngest victims on any side of this conflict or any conflict for that matter,” he told the Canadian Press. “And I think that’s also what Canadians are thinking at this moment in time.”

Hoskins noted the request to Canadians to help the children came from Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, who now lives in Toronto. Three of Abuelaish’s daughters were killed in Israel’s shelling of Gaza in 2009.