WASHINGTON (Dec. 18)
A preliminary agreement reached between the United States and Israel in Jerusalem for the use of Israeli medical facilities was hailed here as a positive step forward by Rep, James Scheuer (D. NY).
The agreement which was reached last Thursday between Dr. William Mayer, assistant Secretary of Defense for Health, and Brig. Gen. Moshe Revach, the Israel Defence Force Surgeon-General, includes the use of the Ramban Hospital in Haifa.
Scheuer and other Congressmen had strongly criticized Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger because the United States Defense Department had not used the Rambam facility to treat American servicemen wounded in the October 23 bomb attack against the marine headquarters in Beirut, Scheuer had publicly rejected Weinberger’s explanation that the Israeli offer of facilities was not accepted because it had not been needed.
“While I regret that Secretary Weinberger is still insisting that the bizarre procedures followed after the October 23 attack were proper and logical, actions speak louder than postering, ” Scheuer said Friday.
“This agreement is a positive step forward in avoiding a repetition of the incredibly stupid manner in which our casualties were handled. Should such a tragedy befall our marines again, there will be no 10 or 12 hour wait for airplanes and no 20-hour delays before reaching definitive hospital care, ” he said.
The agreement in principle leaves many details to be worked out by the joint Israeli-United States political committee that will have its first meeting in January. Scheuer said he expects the agreement to include use not only of the Ram bam Hospital but also other Israeli hospitals such as Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv.
“The only sad note here is that we would have had access to these facilities last October,” the Congressman said. “We will never know how many lives might have been saved or injuries lessened had our marines been able to get Rambam’s first-class treatment instead of being subjected to lengthy waiting and long flights to Europe. “