Palestinian physicians have long been recognized in Palestine and abroad for their extraordinary medical skills and humanitarian efforts.
Dr. Motia Khaled Al-Asir, a naturalized British citizen from the West Bank city of Jenin, was awarded the British Empire Medal by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004. An ophthalmologist, Dr. Asir was the director of the private Al-Shifa Hospital and treated up to 150 injured Palestinians in a massive 2002 Israeli raid on Jenin. Al-Asir refused to leave Jenin despite a request from the British consulate in Jerusalem, preferring instead to remain with his people. He told IslamOnline.net, “It should be a source of pride for the Palestinian people as it is a testimony from the Queen on the noble and humanitarian role played by our people.”
Dr. Asir received his primary education at Al-Mitran school in Jerusalem and then studied ophthalmology in Britain where he stayed for 16 years.
Another Jerusalem connection is Dr. Daoud Hanania who was awarded an Honorary Knighthood of the British Empire in 1984, as well as the Légion d’honneur by France’s Francois Mitterand for his medical accomplishments. Born in Jerusalem, the Hanania family lived in West Jerusalem until 1948 and then permanently moved to Amman, Jordan in 1950. He studied medicine in Britain and later trained under the world-renowned cardiac surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey. Dr. Hanania went on perform the first open-heart surgery procedure in Jordan in 1970, as well as the first kidney transplant in the Arab world in 1972. His greatest achievement came in 1985 after performing the first ever successful cardiac transplant in the Middle East at the King Hussein Medical Center in Amman, Jordan.
A former Lieutenant General in the Jordanian Armed Forces, he is also currently a Senator in the Jordanian Parliament.