Only 60% of Gaza patients granted Israeli permits to travel abroad for treatment
A Palestinian patient waits for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
Ramallah: The Gaza Health Ministry has accused the Israeli occupation of deliberately causing the death of dozens of patients by denying them the right to exit the Gaza Strip for treatment.
This inaction or denial of requests by the Israelis has resulted in prolonged suffering and even death for patients whose lives might have been saved had they been able to exit Gaza to seek the necessary treatment, the ministry said.
“This is an inhumane robbery of health. Only patients who cannot be provided with proper treatment in the Gaza Strip are transferred to other hospitals,” said Dr. Ashraf Al Qedrah, a spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry.
Al Qedrah noted that in 2016, more than 60 per cent of the cancer patients from Gaza have been denied the right to exit Gaza to be admitted to hospitals in the 1948 areas.
“The Health Ministry has submitted more than 26,000 completed requests for patients to exit the Gaza Strip for treatment abroad and the occupation authorities approved only 16,000 requests (61.5 per cent of the total requests) and rejected the others,” he said.
He said the latest Gazan victim was Mohammad Habib, 8, who died of a serious illness after the Israeli occupation refused to grant one of his relatives a permit to accompany him to Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel. Last month, another young man from Gaza, Ahmad Hassan Jameel, 17, also died after the occupation authorities denied him a permit to travel abroad for treatment.
The Hamas affiliated website Al Majd has warned about the Israeli strategy of taking advantage of Gazans’ basic needs and using the patients and their families as a bargaining tool in return for allowing to cross the Erez border posts.
The Hamas Interior Ministry has also reported that many Palestinians who are in desperate need to provide their loved ones with proper treatment abroad have been forced to work for the Israelis. Following the arrest of dozens of collaborators with Israel by the Gaza Interior Ministry, the occupation authorities were in need of more collaborators in the Gaza Strip and they found a way to take advantage of the Gazans humanitarian needs.
Last week the occupation authorities refused to allow nitrous oxide, commonly used for anaesthesia, to be brought into the Gaza Strip until the World Health Organisation got directly involved.
In 2007 the Islamist movement of Hamas violently took over the tiny coastal strip following a brief civil war with its rival, the Fatah movement. Since then, Israel has imposed a strict maritime and land blockade on the strip which caused devastating economic conditions. Last year, the United Nations warned that Gaza may become uninhabitable by 2020 if there is no change in the economic situation.
(Source / 19.02.2017)