Ismail Khatib said his decision to donate his son Ahmad’s organs was rooted in his memories of his own brother, who died at 24 waiting for a liver transplant, and in his family’s desire to help others, regardless of their nationality.
“I don’t mind seeing the organs in the body of an Israeli or a Palestinian. In our religion, God allows us to give organs to another person and it doesn’t matter who the person is,” said Khatib, who added that he hoped the donation would send a message of peace to Israelis and Palestinians.
On Sunday, three Israeli girls – two of them Jewish and the other Druze – underwent surgery to receive his lungs, heart and liver.
The boy was carrying a toy gun
Ahmad, 12, was shot by Israeli soldiers on Thursday while they were conducting a raid in the West Bank town of Jenin.
The soldiers said they mistook the boy for a fighter during a shootout and later discovered he was carrying a toy rifle.
Ahmad was brought to an Israeli hospital and put on life support, but he died of his wounds late on Saturday and his parents quickly agreed to donate his organs.
Twelve-year-old Samah Gadban had been waiting for a heart for five years when doctors called her family late on Saturday and told them of the donation. By Sunday afternoon, the Druze girl had a new heart and was recovering at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in the Israeli town of Petah Tikvah.
“I hope we can live a peaceful life without the killing of children. My children and the Palestinian children in the camp are dreaming of a peaceful life of freedom”
Samah’s mother sat by her bed holding her hand, while her father, Riad Gadban, juggled phone calls from friends and relatives in the cardiac intensive care unit’s waiting room.
Gadban called Khatib’s decision to donate his son’s organs
a “remarkable gift”.
“This morning, I did not know anything about the boy. I only knew that the doctors said they had a heart,” Gadban said. He heard Ahmad’s story while his daughter was in surgery. “I don’t know what to say. It is such a gesture of love.”
Khatib said he hoped to meet the recipients of his son’s organs to ensure that they were healthy.
“The most important thing is that I see the person who received the organs, to see him alive,” he said.
Samah’s family will invite Khatib and his family to a party they plan to throw when she leaves the hospital, Gadban said.
“I want to thank him and his family. With their gift, I would like for them to think that my daughter is their daughter,” Gadban said.
The national transplant centre reported that a 14-year-old Jewish girl received Ahmad’s lungs and a seven-month-old girl was in surgery on Sunday evening receiving his liver.
The family of the 14-year-old declined to be interviewed and the baby’s parents were awaiting the outcome of their daughter’s surgery and unavailable for comment.
“I hope we can live a peaceful life without the killing of children. My children and the Palestinian children in the camp are dreaming of a peaceful life of freedom,” Khatib said.
“I am speaking my mind, not my heart. My heart is weeping for my son but my mind is telling me to do something important.”