Israeli authorities are denying or ignoring a quarter of applications by Gaza cancer patients for Israeli entry-permits via Erez for the purpose of medical treatment in the West Bank, Israel or Jordan.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, cited by Israeli NGO B’Tselem, for January through October 2016, 2,042 of 7,267 applications filed by cancer patients have either been denied or are yet to be answered (28 per cent).
WHO also notes how the number of patients required to undergo questioning at the Erez crossing after applying for a permit has gone up over the past year: in 2014, 179 patients were summoned, but in 2016, this number had shot up to 601 patients.
B’Tselem notes that “the degree to which residents are able to develop medical services in the Gaza Strip, or obtain them outside Gaza, still depends on Israel.”
“Despite its 2005 withdrawal of troops from the Gaza Strip and evacuation of all settlements there, Israel retained a significant amount of control over Gaza, which means Israel retained responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of all Gaza residents. Aid to medical patients is part of Israel’s legal and moral obligation toward Gaza’s residents; it does not constitute a gesture of good-will.”
The NGO adds: “For nearly a decade Gaza has been under an Israeli-imposed a blockade, preventing free movement of people and goods both to and from Gaza. The blockade has resulted in Gaza’s economic collapse and has isolated its residents from the rest of the world. Gaza’s health care system has also been hard-hit by this policy.”