Israel Resource Review 3rd March, 1997


From Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Jerusalem

The board of directors of Makassed Islamic Charitable Society (MICS) would like to call the attention to the serious developments which have recently taken place at MAKASSED HOSPITAL in Jerusalem.

A committee led by Dr. Fathi Arafat which was set up by the Palestinian Authority in late November and without prior consultation with the MICS, made several recommendations including separating the hospital from the society, its legal owner, as restructuring the hospital administration. These recommendations were later approved by the president of the PA.

The board of directors of MICS naturally objected to the above-mentioned decisions and requested to have its views heard on the matter. Instead, on 19-1-1997 we were surprised by the newly appointed directors breaking into the administration's office and taking a control of the hospital by force, a move which was widely condemned by the majority of the specialists working in the hospital as well as by the heads of departments. The Palestinian NGO'S network has also publicly voiced its objection to this unjustified interference in the affairs of the largest Palestinian NGO.

Our efforts to restore the legal status to the hospital have failed so far. Dr. Haider Abdelshafi , the president of the MICS board, is still trying to meet with president Arafat discuss the issue.

We hereby would like to reiterate our clear objection to the imposed changes on the society and its hospital for the following reasons.

  1. MICS is an independent NGO and the Palestinian authority has illegally interfered in its activities in the absence of a law regulating the work of NGO'S in Palestine.
  2. This intervention has come at a time when the hospital has successfully maintained the highest standards of performance despite the difficult prevailing circumstances. Its services are very well appreciated by the Palestinian population. Additionally the hospital's administration has managed to reduce the deficit in its budget by more than 75% through successful programmes of self-dependence and increased efficiency. The hospital has always managed to upgrade its various departments.
  3. The latest forced changes in the hospital are frank violations of its legal status.

The board of directors of MICS insists on its right to defend the independence of this important NGO. which has played a major role in the Palestinian health system over the last 30 years. We have therefore decided to call for an urgent meeting of the MICS GENERAL ASSEMBLY whose members are legally responsible for making main decisions concerning the society and its institutions. The general assembly will be asked to elect a new board of directors as well.

Meanwhile, we declare the newly appointed management as illegal and we call upon all concerned parties to directly deal with the MICS on issues related to the hospital at the following address.

Makassed Islamic Charitable Society
P.O. Box 19481
Fax: (+972) 2-628-0853
Tel: (+972) 2-628-4746

Return to Contents

An Appeal to My Colleagues In The Media
The Media vs. Tenenbaum
Caught Between a Soundbite and a Headline
by Nachum (Neal) Duchin

My friend is facing the trial of his life. His trial is not in front of any judge, tribunal or legally mandated court. It's in the electronic soundbites and newspaper headlines where he is defending the charge that he provided classified secrets to Israel while working for the U.S. government. In the world media he has already been charged and convicted through innuendos and distortions of the worse possible nature.

The Jerusalem Post (2/20/97) wrote that he failed a polygraph test. Fascinating. Where is the source? The fact is that none exists, for this is no more than a conclusion that was only inferred. The same paper reported (2/24/97) that he was, "accused of illegally passing classified information." Yet David has not been accused by any government agency. Absolutely no indictment exists. Yet he has been indicted by a media outlet. Worse, The Voice of Israel in it's 7a.m. news (2/20/97), omitted the key characteristic 'inadvertantly' in describing the probe. Suddenly some in the media were assuming the worse case scenario of innocent words spoken, and concluded a systematic espionage plan was unravelled. In Detroit, (Detroit News 2/19/97) the press demonstrated the same level journalistic ethics with unfounded news reports that the FBI removed seven boxes of classified documents from his house. The common thread is that all of these stories are false.

Of course, David can't defend himself facing accusatory headlines like "POLLARD 2". If there indeed exist mislabeled classified military documents in David's posession, one in his position is prohibited from showing them to the public. If there are hopelessly confusing or misleading bureacratic directives from the Army, he certainly can't present this to the media. Nor can he divulge the transcript from the FBI interrogation, possibly showing questions that were misleading or confusing. In short, David Tenenbaum is caught between a soundbite and a headline.

Every single aspect of David's life has seemingly been examined by the media. Yediot Ahronot (2/23/97) described how he talks to his children, how his wife supplements their income, and even the make and year of his car. David's wife has told me about how reporters have been calling incessantly at all hours.

This is not about a story of a routine FBI examination, it's about a ruthless media prosecution. It's about time that we examine the role the press has in destroying people's lives. If society can require plumbers and barbers to be licenced, why not journalists? We demand the accuracy of the sodium content in our breakfast cereals. Why can't we take measures directed at the accuracy of reports that affect careers and reputations, let alone international relations? My friend David is a man of impecable honesty and integrity. In the end his name will be cleared. I am not sure about some of my colleagues in the press.

Nachum (Neal) Duchin has edited news for several foreign televison networks as well as for local news in Detroit, and can be reached on (+972-2) 652-7482 or e-mail,

Return to Contents

The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine Authority.
You can contact us on

Back to the home page.