a good news story for israelis

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    Palestinian Boy's Organs Give Israelis New Life
    Wed July 30, 2003 11:52 AM ET
    By Jon Immanuel

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The family of a Palestinian boy killed in an accident has helped save the lives of four Israeli children by donating his organs, a rare act after 34 months of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

    Eleven-year-old Qaher Aoude died when he fell off the roof of his home near Nablus in the West Bank. His family authorized the donation of his organs Tuesday over the objections of many of their neighbors angered by Israeli crackdowns on a Palestinian uprising for independence.

    "We want Israelis and Americans to know that while the Israeli army kills Palestinians we give life to Israeli children," Murad Aoude, one of Qaher's 17 siblings, said on Wednesday.

    Schneider Children's Hospital in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva said a 13-year-old girl suffering from cystic fibrosis received Qaher's heart and lungs while her own functioning heart was transplanted into another young patient.

    This was the first time a so-called "domino transplant" was performed in Israel, a Schneider statement said. Although the 13-year-old girl only needed new lungs, it is better to have both a heart and lungs transplanted together.

    The boy's liver and kidneys were given to two other children.

    The organs of several Israelis -- some of them killed in suicide bombings and other Palestinian attacks -- have been donated to Palestinians since violence erupted in September 2000, but donations the other way dropped off dramatically, Israeli health officials said.

    "When (Palestinian) organs were donated it was in secret," said Tamar Ashkenazi of Israel's national transplant center. "This may be the first time since it began it has been done publicly."

    Middle East tensions have eased since the June launch of a U.S.-backed "road map" to Palestinian statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by 2005, aided by scaled-back Israeli military operations and a cease-fire declared by Palestinian militants.

    Schneider received recognition in a Vatican newsletter this week for being "a bridge to peace." It was noted for transplanting the kidney of a suicide-bombing victim into the body of a seven-year-old Palestinian girl.


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