IN A LAND synonymous with violence and bloodshed, the fate of a 12-year-old
Palestinian boy stands out as an extraordinary example of human compassion
surmounting the most bitter of ethnic divides.
Ahmad Khatib was shot dead
last Thursday by an Israeli soldier who mistook his toy gun for a real weapon.
Less than a week later his organs have given new life to Jews and Arabs alike
after his parents gave them to Israeli hospitals.
Ahmed’s heart is now beating inside an Israeli Druze
Arab girl. His liver is keeping a Jewish child and a mother alive. His lungs
have been transplanted into a teenage Jewish girl, and his kidneys divided
between a five-year-old Bedouin and a three-year-old Jewish girl. The
humanitarian gesture by Ahmed’s father, Ismail, rare enough in itself, is all
the more extraordinary given the nature of the boy’s death, the latest of more
than 3,600 Palestinian and 1,000 Israeli fatalities during the five-year
His mother, Ablah, said: “We have no problem whether it is an Israeli or a
Palestinian (who receives his organs) because it will give them life.”
beneficiary of Mr Khatib’s magnanimity is Samah Gadban, a 12-year-old girl from
Israel’s Druze community in northern Galilee. She had her first bath yesterday
and sat up in an armchair after receiving Ahmed’s heart during an eight-hour
transplant operation at the Schneider children’s hospital in Petah Tikva on
Samah’s father, Riad, called the donation a “gesture of love” to his
daughter. Sitting beside Samah’s bed her mother, Yusra, said she had already
lost one son to the same heart condition, and had named her daughter after the
dead boy. The name means Forgiving in Arabic. “She has been waiting for a donor
for five years,” said Mrs Gadban, 49, from the village of Beqaa in the Golan
Reuven Rivlin, speaker of the Israeli parliament, praised the family’s
action as a “remarkable gesture” after decades of conflict.
The headline made me think of the cross, and it's beautiful to see a little something of the logic of the cross in this situation.