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Medical delegation from 1948 occupied Palestine arrives in Gaza

Doctor delegation Gaza

The government information office in Gaza on Friday refuted Israeli allegations that an Israeli eight-doctor delegation arrived in Gaza ahead of expected Friday protests.

Head of the office Salama Ma’rouf said in a press statement that the medical delegation is composed of Palestinian doctors coming from the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.

Ma’rouf explained that Israel’s efforts to beautify its image through “cheap propaganda” are a failed attempt to evade responsibility for all crimes committed against peaceful protesters in Gaza.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health announced that it had received a Palestinian medical delegation from Physicians for Human Rights organization headed by Dr. Salah Haj Yahya.

The Ministry thanked Physicians for Human Rights for responding to its call and sending a medical delegation that would help provide treatment to Gaza-based Palestinians and offer some medical training.

At least 34 Palestinians have been killed and over 3,000 injured by Israeli gunfire in the daily Return protests which started on 30th March along Gaza’s border with the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.

(Source / 13.04.2018)

Gaza’s only power plant stops work due to lack of fuel

Palestinians burn firewood to keep warm due to the shortage of electricity in Gaza [Apaimages]

Palestinians burn firewood to keep warm due to the shortage of electricity in Gaza

The Palestinian Energy Authority yesterday stopped operations at the only power station in the Gaza Strip due to a lack of fuel to operate it.

“The Energy Authority informed us this afternoon that it had stopped work at the power station because there was no fuel to operate it,” said Mohammad Thabit, director of public relations and information at the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company.

“We currently have 120 megawatts per day coming from Israel after the Egyptian lines stopped working nearly three months ago. We will try with the available energy to maintain the four hour schedule, but the hours of power outage will exceed 12 hours,” he added in an interview with Quds Press.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday that it was “very difficult to collect the necessary revenues to meet the various financial obligations towards energy suppliers as well as the operating costs.”

Read: Gaza hospital suspends services due to fuel shortages

The company explained that the economic conditions and pressures will significantly affect the continued provision of services, adding that it fears that it will not be able to continue to perform its normal services.

It warned that this situation will endanger every aspect of Palestinian lives in the besieged Gaza Strip and will affect the provision of other services including in the health and medical sectors.

The company called on the international community and international humanitarian relief institutions to act urgently to stop the deterioration of electrical services.

(Source / 13.04.2018)

UNICEF: Less than 4% of ground water in Gaza is usable

A Palestinian boy drinks water from public pipes in the Gaza Strip

Chief of UNICEF Gaza Field Office Tania McBride has said less than 4 per cent of Gaza’s ground water is usable.

During a ceremony held yesterday to mark World Water Day McBride highlighted the dangers of water pollution and pumping wastewater into the sea, particularly for Palestinian children. She reiterated that UNICEF works with several local and international partner institutions to reduce water damage and provide safe drinking water in the enclave.

Manager of the Islamic Relief Community Development Programme, Hossam Jouda, said his agency has been collaborating with the local community to provide safe drinking water, pointing to the importance of raising awareness.

Deputy Chairman of the Water Authority, Mr. Ribhi Al-Sheikh, highlighted the Water Authority’s efforts to secure access to clean water. Around 90 per cent of Palestinian water resources are under Israeli control.

He stressed on the need for necessary funding and implement development programmes for the water system.

Read: 97% of water in Gaza is polluted

(Source / 06.04.2018)

Former prisoner’s life, health at risk as he is denied right to travel outside Gaza

Tariq Ezzedine

Former Palestinian prisoner Tariq Ezzedine continues to be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment, reported colleagues and his family. Ezzedine was released to the Gaza Strip as part of the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange agreement; however, the Egyptian government continues to prevent him from traveling through the Rafah crossing to receive treatment.

Jaafar Ezzedine, Tariq’s brother, spoke to Palestinian news agency Wattan TV; he noted that his brother has leukemia, a form of blood cancer. He has been hospitalized in Gaza for two months but requires treatment that is only available abroad. While his doctors have prepared his medical reports and arranged for him to receive treatment, he has been denied entry into Egypt on two occasions.  His brother is also a former prisoner who participated in a long-term hunger strike in Israeli prisons while held without charge or trial.

During an opening of the Rafah crossing last week, Ezzedine came to the crossing two times after his name was registered on the lists of people approved to travel. Despite this, he was denied on both occasions.

He noted that Palestinian ministries confirmed that Ezzedine’s name was in fact on the list and when Tariq went to the crossing, he was held there for a full day, his passport was kept and taken before he was told that he would not be admitted and must return to Gaza.

Jaafar Ezzedine said that it is apparent that Israeli pressure on the Egyptian government is being exerted in order to prevent Tariq from traveling. He noted that the family will hold a press conference in front of the Egyptian embassy in Ramallah on 3 April in order to escalate pressure on Egypt to allow free travel to Tariq Ezzedine.

Khader Adnan, prominent Palestinian prisoner, also issued a statement from prison, urging action to save the life of Tariq Ezzedine after the deterioration of his health. He emphasized the moral responsibility of the Egyptian authorities to allow Ezzedine to pass and reject the malicious role of the Israeli occupation. He called on all of the Palestinian factions and the former prisoners in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Qatar to act before it is too late for Ezzedine.

(Source / 03.04.2018)

Dozens of Palestinian Detainees Have Died Directly Following Release

27 MAR
7:59 PM

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies stated  that dozens of released Palestinian detainees died of  serious illnesses they sustained  during the period of detention, of deliberate medical negligence, and lack of proper treatment by Israeli prison services .

The spokesperson of Center, Reyad al-Ashqar said, in a statement, that Israeli occupation authorities hold direct responsibility for dozens of detainees who died  just a few months after their release.

Ex-detainee Hasan Shawamra, 48, from Doura town, recently passed on after becoming sick with cancer during his detention.

Al-Ashqar pointed out that Shawamra died at Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, where he was undergoing treatment for cancer. He was detained on 2/22/16 and spent 17 months in Israeli prisons.

He further noted, according to Al Ray, that the Israeli occupation court issued a decision to release him on July 29, 2017, because of the deterioration of his health condition. He was hospitalized after his release in several hospitals for treatment, but without benefit.

Al-Ashqar accused the occupation of deliberately neglecting the treatment of sick detainees and leaving them for years without medical care or real examinations until the disease finally worsened. This policy is considered an indirect form of murder, as they died  after serving their sentences and, thus, Israel can not bear responsibility for their deaths. .

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) called on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate detention conditions and the medical care that is provided to detainees, and to identify the causes of serious diseases in prisons that lead to their deaths both inside and out.

03/26/18 Former Political Prisoner Dies From Cancer

(Source / 28.03.2018)

3,651 babies born in Gaza in February

Newborn babies at the intensive care unit are seen at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on 27 June, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Newborn babies at the intensive care unit are seen at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on 27 June, 2017

In February 3,651 new babies were born and 302 people died in the besieged Gaza Strip according to statistics from the Palestinian interior ministry, Quds Press reported yesterday.

According to the statistics, 51 per cent of the newborns were males and 49 per cent were females.

During the same month the ministry said that it registered 302 deaths, noting that 168 of them were males and 134 were females.

Read: UNRWA to cancel work contracts of 97 Palestinian engineers in Gaza

Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the entire world with more than 2 million residents living in an area of only 365 square kilometres. At least one third of this area is a closed military zone along the eastern borders of the Strip.

At the same time Gaza has been under a strict Israeli and internationally-backed siege since mid-2007 and the UN has repeatedly warned that it would be unliveable by 2020 or earlier.

(Source / 06.03.2018)

Gaza girl in need of transplant travels without parents after Israel denies permits

Thirteen-year-old Palestinian Inaam Al-Attar cries after arriving to Palestine Medical Centre in Ramallah without her parents as they were denied permission to travel by Israel

A Palestinian girl was forced to travel without either of her parents to the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday in order to have a kidney transplant.

Thirteen-year-old Inaam Al-Attar arrived to the Palestine Medical Centre in Ramallah with her uncle, who she is receiving the transplant from, after her parents were denied permission to travel with her from the besieged coastal enclave.

The governor of Ramallah, Laila Ghannam, welcomed Inaam, who was filmed by several Palestinian news channels crying in the hospital saying she wanted to see her mother.

Inaam’s mother, Salwa, was given permission by Israel to be with her daughter earlier today, the Palestinian Authority (PA) owned Wafa news agency reported.

Earlier this month, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) released a joint statement saying the record-low rate of permits issued by Israel for Palestinians seeking vital medical treatment outside Gaza “underlines the urgent need for Israel to end its decade-long closure of the Gaza Strip”.

Read: 54 Palestinians from Gaza died in 2017 awaiting Israeli travel permits

(Source / 28.02.2018)

UN says Food Aid for Palestinian Refugees May End Soon (VIDEO)

24 FEB
8:22 PM

The head of the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza warns that it cannot guarantee food distribution beyond the end of June.

The agency is blaming major funding cuts by the United States for this situation.

There are growing concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and its potential to prompt conflict with Israel.

~Al Jazeera/Days of Palestine

02/24/18 Gaza Municipal Services Reduced by 50%

(Source / 24.02.2018)

Gaza to pump sewage straight into sea as crisis worsens

Last month the United Nations envoy warned the enclave was on the verge of ‘full collapse’

Municipalities in Gaza has announced they would pump sewage straight into the sea from Palestinian coastal enclave due to fuel shortages and desperate humanitarian situation in the Strip.

“The beaches of the Gaza Strip will be completely closed and sewage will be pumped into the sea because the municipalities are unable to provide fuel for treatment plants,” said Nizar Hejazi, head of the Gaza City municipality.

Hejazi also noted “the policy of collective punishment (which) continues to be imposed on the population,” in a statement representing municipalities across the strip.

“We announce a state of emergency in the cities and municipalities of the Gaza Strip,” Hejazi said, noting services would be cut by as much as 50 percent.

The only power plant in Gaza stopped operating last week due to lack of fuel, leaving the strip totally reliant on imports.

Israeli occupation has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza for more than a decade, while Egypt has also largely sealed its border in recent years, with both citing security measures.

Residents currently receive only a couple of hours power per day.

Last month the United Nations envoy warned the enclave was on the verge of “full collapse.”

(Source / 24.02.2018)

54 Palestinians from Gaza died in 2017 awaiting Israeli travel permits

Palestinian children wait to receive travel permits to travel through the Rafah crossing [File photo]

Palestinian children wait to receive travel permits to travel through the Rafah crossing [File photo]

The record low rate of permits issued by Israel for Palestinians seeking vital medical treatment to travel outside the Gaza Strip underlines the urgent need for the Zionist state to end its decade-long closure of the enclave, a group of Palestinian and international rights groups have said in a joint statement. Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) confirmed that 54 Palestinians from Gaza died while they were waiting for Israeli travel permits. They added that a record level of delays by the Palestinian Authority in issuing required approvals last year, as well as Egypt’s continued closure of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza have further restricted movement and caused additional suffering to the Palestinian people.

According to the NGOs report, the Israeli authorities approved travel permits for medical reasons for only 54 per cent of those who applied in 2017, the lowest rate since the World Health Organisation (WHO) began collecting statistics in 2008. The WHO reported that 54 Palestinians, 46 of whom had cancer, died last year following the rejection or delays in their travel permit applications.

“We’re seeing Israel increasingly deny or delay access to potentially life-saving cancer and other treatment outside Gaza, with shockingly high numbers of Palestinian patients subsequently dying,” explained Aimee Shalan, the CEO of MAP. “Gaza’s healthcare system, meanwhile, having been subjected to half a century of occupation and a decade of blockade is increasingly unable to meet the needs of its population.”

Read:16 medical centres cease work due to lack of electricity, fuel in Gaza

The NGOs insisted that Israel should lift the unlawful sweeping restrictions on the freedom of movement of people from Gaza, most critically those with significant health problems.

For the past two decades, and especially since 2007 when Israel imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Gaza, Israel has kept Gaza mostly closed, unlawfully depriving its population of basic rights. The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), among others, have declared this policy “collective punishment” and called for Israel to lift its closure. Israel controls all access to and from Gaza, with the exception of the Rafah Crossing via the Egyptian border, and all transport between Gaza and the occupied West Bank, as well as the border between the West Bank and Jordan. The Israeli authorities will not allow the Palestinians in Gaza to rebuild and open their airport — destroyed by Israel in 2001/2 — or build a functional seaport, leaving Palestinians dependent on foreign ports for travel abroad.

Travel through the Erez Crossing, Gaza’s pedestrian route to Israel, the West Bank and the outside world, is limited to what the Israeli military calls “exceptional humanitarian cases,” meaning mainly those with significant health issues and their companions, as well as prominent business people. The gradual decline in Israel’s issue of medical permits, from 92 per cent approval of applications in 2012 to 88.7 per cent in 2013; 82.4 per cent in 2014, 77.5 per cent in 2015, 62.07 per cent in 2016 and 54 per cent in 2017 indicates that Israel has increasingly restricted travel even for “exceptional humanitarian cases,” said WHO. In 2017, travel via Erez accounted for less than 1 per cent of the travel recorded in September 2000.

Palestinians from Gaza missed at least 11,000 scheduled medical appointments in 2017 after the Israeli authorities denied or failed to respond in time to applications for permits. Researchby Al Mezan, supported by MAP, into the cases of 20 Palestinians who died after missing hospital appointments due to denied or delayed travel permits found that 14 had cancer, nine of whom were women. PHRI has highlighted how women in Gaza with cancer have faced heightened obstacles to accessing medical care and consequently expended energy fighting bureaucracy rather than their illness.

#GazaHealthCrisis

The significant decline runs counter to the ever-increasing health needs in Gaza. The besieged territory’s 2 million people endure what the UN labels “a protracted humanitarian crisis.” Amid widespread poverty and unemployment, at least 10 per cent of young children are stunted by chronic malnutrition; up to half of all medicines and medical disposables in Gaza are completely depleted or below one month’s supply; and chronic electricity shortages have caused officials to cut health and other essential services.

The three Israeli military offensives on Gaza since 2008 have also taken a heavy toll on essential infrastructure and further debilitated Gaza’s health system and economy. In light of the control Israel effectively exercises over the lives and welfare of the people of Gaza, the Zionist state continues to maintain ultimate responsibility for ensuring their well-being under the laws governing military occupation, as the ICRC and UN, among others, have recognised.

“It’s unconscionable that Israel prevented so many critically ill people from accessing care that might have saved their lives,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Israel’s continued control over movement into and out of Gaza creates obligations to facilitate – not thwart – humanitarian access.”

Palestinians in Gaza require referral permits to access the more advanced health care in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank, as well as in Israel. The health services most commonly requiring referral outside of Gaza are for oncology, paediatrics, cardiology and heart problems, and haematology. The Israeli authorities state that they can process priority permits in one day, although the typical waiting time averages two weeks, while “regular” cases require 23 days, and often fail to meet this timetable.

The WHO has deemed the ensuing process “neither transparent nor timely,” and the UN coordinator for humanitarian aid and development activities in the occupied Palestinian territory has stated that a “minefield of interviews, paperwork, opaque procedures  and logistical hurdles stand between a cancer patient and his or her urgent treatment.”

The Palestinian Authority’s financial approval of referrals for those in need of essential medical treatment in Gaza also fell in 2017, with at least one subsequent death reported. While the PA approved about 2,000 applications in each of the first three months, this fell to under 500 in June, before increasing to more than 2,000 later in the year amid efforts at Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, according to the WHO. Additionally, the PA’s reduction of essential services to the Gaza Strip between July and December 2017 – including electricity and medical supplies – also undermined Palestinians’ right to health.

Egypt has kept the Rafah Crossing mostly closed for the population in Gaza since 2013, which contributed to restricting access to health care. Before July 2013, more than 4,000 Palestinianstravelled monthly via Rafah for health-related purposes. As a state bordering a territory with a protracted humanitarian crisis, Egypt should facilitate humanitarian access for the population. Nevertheless, ultimate responsibility remains with Israel, the occupying power.

“The Israeli government’s restrictions on movement are directly connected to patient deaths and compounded suffering as ill patients seek permits,” Issam Younis, Director of Al Mezan, pointed out. “These practices form part of the closure and permit regime that prevents patients from a life of dignity, and violates the right to life.” The closure system must be abolished so that patients have safe access to healthcare in Palestinian hospitals in the occupied Palestinian territories and elsewhere, he added. “The victims and their families must have their right to justice and redress upheld.”

(Source / 14.02.2018)