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July 14, 2009

Greeks Raise $1.67 Million for Non-Existent Gaza Hospital Destroyed By Israelis

Jean Cohen of the JTA has uncovered a $1.67 million scam involving the Greek Foreign Ministry, a leading Greek television network and a major trade union. The three took part in a successful campaign in Greece to raise money to rebuild a Christian Palestinian hospital in Gaza allegedly destroyed by Israel, yet the hospital in question does not exist. JTA reports:

The hospital that was the focus of a campaign, which included the participation of Greece’s president and foreign minister, never actually existed.

For nearly a week in February, Greece’s official state television network inundated viewers with news about a telethon that would take place Feb. 9 to raise money to “rebuild the Christian hospital in Gaza that Israelis destroyed with their bombs” during the Israeli army's operation there in January.

In its announcements, the network made clear that it was referring to a specific Christian hospital destroyed by Israel.

The telethon included recorded video messages by Greek President Carolos Papoulias and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni, along with a parade of Greek politicians, singers, public personalities and trade unionists. Many used the telethon to cast broadsides at Israel.

The campaign raised $1.67 million, according to telethon organizers, who said little Greek children had gone so far as to break their piggy banks to offer $14 to Palestinians in need.

A JTA investigation revealed, however, that no Christian hospital was on the list assembled by the United Nations and the Red Crescent Society of structures in Gaza damaged and destroyed as a consequence of the Israel-Hamas war in January.

JTA spoke to two Palestinians living in Gaza who are active in or former members of nongovernmental organizations there, both of whom looked into the issue independently. Both reported that the only Christian hospital in Gaza, Al Ahli, was used during the war and did not receive a scratch. Al Ahli is financed by the Church of England.

Now, we have heard of news agencies reporting on "destroyed" Gaza hospitals that were functioning perfectly fine, but this one reaches a new low.

Posted by TS at July 14, 2009 08:26 AM

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