When Arab leaders want good medical treatment, they know where to get: anywhere else but their own countries.

Why? Not because they are afraid of being hospitalized in the same ward with an ordinary citizen, but because they know that American and European hospitals and medical centers are better equipped and hire many of the world's best surgeons and physicians.

The wealthy Gulf countries should have the best hospitals and medical centers in the world. But Arab monarchs and presidents prefer to spend most of the money they steal on themselves and their families.

And who pays the price? Ordinary people who can't afford to travel abroad for medical treatment.

An Arab prince or princess prefers to spend millions of dollars on shopping in Paris and London than investing in an Arab hospital.

In the past year alone, some 180,000 Palestinians received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals, according to Israeli sources. These patients are forced to go to Israel because for many years their leaders were busy thinking about how to steal international donations to the Palestinians.

Recently, it was revealed that the daughter of one of the royal families in the Gulf had come to Israel for a complicated heart operation. The royal patient insisted on undergoing the procedure in Israel on the recommendation of her doctors.

This was not the first case of its kind. In the past few decades, members of other Arab royal families, as well as relatives of senior government officials in the Arab world, have sought medical treatment in Israel.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz is now recovering from back surgery in a New York hospital. Experts say that the operation is not a complicated one and could have been done in Saudi Arabia or any other Middle Eastern country. An Israeli surgeon who heard about the surgery said that the king could have received even better treatment in one of Israel's hospitals.

The Saudi monarch clearly does not rely on his country's hospitals and doctors. He knows that the conditions in these hospitals are not so good. After all, he and his royal family are responsible for the poor medical services in Saudi Arabia.

Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak is not different. Over the past few years, he has received some of the best medical treatment in Germany and France – a privilege that most Egyptians and Arab could only dream about.

Some of the Arab world's top surgeons and physicians are forced to go and work in US, Canadian and European hospitals because of better salaries and working conditions.

When Yasser Arafat fell ill, the first thing he and his aides thought about was which hospital outside the Palestinian territories he should go to. Arafat did not think about going to the Ramallah Hospital, only a few minutes away from his office. He had good reason not to go to the local hospital, which was lacking in staff and vital medical equipment.

In the end, Arafat and his aides chose Paris because he knew he would be in the good hands of French, and not Palestinian, doctors.

Last May it was announced that the Emir of Kuwait, probably one of the richest men in the Arab world, went to the US for medical tests. This man could not even rely on his own doctors to carry out a medical test and had to travel all the way to the US.

In recent years, however, medical treatment in some of the Arab countries, especially oil-rich states, has improved remarkably.

Yet that has not stopped Arab heads of state and other wealthy Arabs from seeking medical treatment elsewhere.

These royal families have nothing to worry about: when the day comes, they will pack their bags and travel to an American, European or even Israeli hospital to get the best medical treatment.

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