03 November 2015

Palestinian doctors from Venezuela: not coming soon to your neighborhood clinic

The story reads like a theater of the absurd. Or as proof that two different kinds of firebrand ideology might not mix too well.

The Palestinian scene is still reeling from the latest Palestinian Authority (PA) corruption case. In November 2014, Venezuela — under President Nicolas Maduro — decided to provide 1,000 scholarships for Palestinian medical students following the Israeli war on Gaza.
And then, of course:

Palestinian students arrive at Simon  Bolivar International Airport outside Caracas, Nov. 6, 2014. Some 100 Palestinian students arrived in Caracas to begin their studies at a medical school there.
The festivities of higher learning lasted (much) less than an year.
The news broke on July 13, when the Venezuelan authorities decided to deport dozens of Palestinian students.

Palestinians found out about all of this when 25 Palestinian students who reside in Jordan arrived back to the kingdom after being deported. They protested Venezuela’s decision in front of the Venezuelan Embassy in Amman in July.
And, to be frank, it is hard to blame the worthy heir of Comical Hugo:
Some students behaved disgracefully at the Latin American School of Medicine in Caracas. Some brought their hookahs to school, while other attended class wearing pajamas and complained about the university housing. Some students also wrote offensive slogans against late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on the university walls, causing outrage in Venezuela.

The scandal prompted some Palestinian media outlets to accuse Palestinian officials of choosing students unfairly, as some of those awarded the scholarships had connections to PA employees.
There is more titillating details in the article. Suffice to quote this:
The Palestine Press news agency, which is affiliated with Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, revealed July 17 that Venezuela’s conditions for the scholarships required that students have a high school average GPA of over 80%; be specialized in sciences, not literature; and hail from poor families. But, according to sources speaking to Palestine Press, the poor students fell victim to the PA’s manipulations, as the scholarships were sold to failing students for $7,000 each.
I wouldn't put too much weight to this accusation (after all, the main beef of Mr Dahlan surely stems from his inability to share some of these $7,000), but it sounds too true to be discarded.

As for the doctors: I hear there is a glut in Cuba. Not very well taught, but still...