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Meet Dallia, the ‘Angel’ on the Palestinian street

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Published: 14 December 2017

Last updated: 4 March 2024

MOST ISRAELIS DON'T KNOW Dalia Bassa, but on the Palestinian street she is known as Malak— or "angel" in Arabic. Her cell phone number is passed down by word of mouth and she gets calls at all hours of the day. The angel picks up even at 3 am.

Bassa, 66, is the Civil Administration’s health coordinator at the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). Her official job is to sit comfortably in her office and coordinate between the Palestinian and Israeli health ministries. She wasn’t supposed to save the lives of hundreds of Palestinian children, visit them in hospitals and take them on trips, and she was definitely not supposed to turn them into the children she never had.

Bassa’s career began 47 years ago at the Military Governorate's offices in east Jerusalem. Over the years, she combined her work with Arabic studies and received an associate degree in health systems administration and human resources. She has been working as health coordinator for the past 19 years.

“After the Oslo Agreement in 1994,” she says, “we prepared all the files and information and handed over the responsibility for health issues to the Palestinian Authority (PA). I was then appointed deputy coordinator, and about three years later I was promoted to coordinator.

“At first, things went well. There was a time when we used to sit together with the PA representatives and help them develop the Palestinian health system. Over time, terror attacks and other events led to crises, and the coordination was nearly cut off. “

FULL STORY ‘If there were one more Dalia, there would be peace by now’ (Ynet)

Photo: Bassa at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center with Dr. Abu Zahira, baby Moussa and his father Dirar (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

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