Palestinian´s Organs Save Jewish Lives

A Gesture for Peace Amid Jerusalem´s Violence

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JERUSALEM, JUNE 6, 2001 ( The family of Mazen Julani, 33, who was shot on the outskirts of Jerusalem, donated his organs to patients in the Israeli hospital of Hadassa, where he died.

«We agreed to donate Mazen´s organs because what matters is to save human lives, the more the better, be they Jews, Christians or Muslims,» the victim´s father, Lufti Julani, said. Julani, 75, a Palestinian rural worker, spoke during an interview on Israeli military radio.

The family of the deceased, a pharmacist, gave its consent so that the Israeli Bank of Organ Donations could transplant his lungs, liver, pancreas and one of his kidneys. The other kidney was donated to a 13-year-old Palestinian boy.

Three Jews and an Arab were the beneficiaries of this gesture of good will with which the Julanis hoped to show the world that they are tired of the bloodshed and wish to live in peace and freedom.

Mazen was sitting in a bar when a gunman in a passing car shot him in the back of the neck.

The owner of the bar, located at the entrance of the Shuafaf refugee camp, believes a Jewish settler was responsible. It happened Friday, the same night as the suicide attack on the Tel Aviv discothèque. «Revenge,» the proprietor said.

The Israeli police, however, believe it was a «settling of accounts,» something the Julani family denies.

When Mazen died, Lufti Julani wanted his kidneys to go to one of his younger sons, who is ill. But the brothers´ kidneys were not compatible. The doctors then asked the elderly father if he would donate Mazen´s organs. He asked for time to give it some thought.

«I consulted the Muslim authorities, who assured me that the gesture not only could be carried out according to the Koran, but that, in addition, it is a meritorious and just act, regardless of the religion of the recipient of the organs,» said Lufti Julani. «I then gave my consent.»

Igal Cohen, one of the Jewish citizens who received an organ, thanked the Julani family publicly from the pages of the Maariv newspaper, and said he would like to meet Mazen´s father and brothers.

Israeli pacifist groups are planning meetings with the Julani family, so that the gesture will have greater repercussions in favor of peace.

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