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15 Gazans die after Israel denies them treatment

A Palestinian boy receives dialysis treatment at a hospital in Gaza on November 11 2013 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
A Palestinian boy receives dialysis treatment at a hospital in Gaza on 11 November 2015 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Some 15 Gaza residents have died since the start of 2017 after Israel denied terminally ill patients the necessary permits to travel outside the besieged Strip for medical treatment.

Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights revealed the figures in a statement yesterday, condemning the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave that has resulted in its healthcare service being brought “to its knees”, in the words of the World Health Organisation.

Al-Mezan cited the cases of two women who were refused travel documentation on numerous occasions: Kaenat Jarour, a 42-year-old uterine cancer patient, and Faten Ahmed, a 26-year-old woman who died as a result of a brain tumour due to Israel’s refusal to allow her to re-enter Jerusalem where she had initially received treatment.

Four patients whose travel applications were approved attempted to make the journey to Israel, only to be arrested alongside their family members at the Beit Hanoun crossing. Others who make the journey are often beaten and interrogated at checkpoints by Israeli occupying authorities.

The Israeli government shirks its international legal obligations by denying residents of Gaza the flow of necessary medical relief and supplies into Gaza, while simultaneously denying and delaying the movement that residents require to seek the care outside of Gaza

the statement added.

As Gaza’s two million residents struggle to survive with a maximum of only four hours of electricity a day, an estimated 40 per cent of necessary drugs are also unavailable or will be depleted within a month. Medical funding to the Strip has also been cut by Israel at the request of the Palestinian Authority (PA), as they attempt to pressure Gaza’s de-facto government Hamas into relinquishing control.

Read: PA reduces medical referrals for Gaza patients by 80%

The figures come as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres makes a visit to Gaza as part of his trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. In a statement last night, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on Guterres to pressure Israeli occupation authorities to lift the siege on the Strip and end the humanitarian crisis.

Last month, Palestinians protested at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) condemning the international organisation’s failure to stem the crisis. Many described the UN’s inaction as tacit approval of the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

A report released by the UN last month raised concerns that the Strip is “de-developing” faster than anticipated, such that the 2020 deadline by which it was said that Gaza would be “unliveable” may have already arrived.

Read: UN gives $2.5m in aid to Gaza

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  • P. G. Ukridge

    BDS forever!

    • peepsqueek

      While this problem is a true humanitarian crisis, most due to Gaza’s leadership, just for balance, how many Islamic Countries are you boycotting today for their abysmal human rights records?

      • P. G. Ukridge

        No Arab state postures and poses as the only “democracy” in the Middle East, as Israel falsely does. No Arab states occupies the territory of another and treats the legitimate indigenous people as second-class citizens who are not allowed to vote in elections of the people who occupy and oppress them. No other country except Israel has bribed our Congress to support their crimes.

        • peepsqueek

          I am glad you made the distinction between territory and Country. Israel is the closest thing to a democracy in a Middle East, surrounded by those who want them to fail. The banner of Islam flies over 99.9% of the Middle East land mass. The Jews of Israel are the only ethnic and religious minority in the Middle East with the full right of self determination.

        • Well, to be honest, I think Iraq and Syria occupy parts of Kurdistan.

  • Eli

    Why don’t they just travel to Egypt? Aren’t they fighting with Israel?

  • peepsqueek

    Israel has legal authority under international law of blockade: A blockade must be declared and notified to all belligerents and neutral states, access to neutral ports “cannot” be blocked, and an area “can” only be blockaded which is under enemy control. Hamas is a self declared enemy of Israel, and calls for the total destruction of Israel.

    Prior to the 1967 war, Palestinian Arabs had 20 years to begin to build a nation in the disputed territories –West Bank and Gaza, but instead they chose war, along with a half dozen Arab neighbors. They lost, but they refused to lay down their arms and agree to any terms of surrender. Had they won, we know what they wold have done with the one tiny Jewish State in the Middle East.