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WHO: Israel hinders 40% of Gaza patients’ access to health care abroad

September 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm

A Palestinian child receives medical care in Gaza [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israeli authorities delayed or denied two out of every five patients in the Gaza Strip’s access to medical care outside of the besieged coastal enclave in July, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday.

During that period, two Palestinians – a five-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man – died while waiting to receive permission to leave the blockaded territory for treatment.

Yousef Zourub, a 22-year-old man with Gaucher’s disease, had a severe case of pneumonia and missed several appointments at Makassed Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem after his application for an Israeli exit permit was delayed.

Following his application for the hospital appointment on 16 July, Israeli General Security Services requested that Zourub appear for security interrogation at Israel’s Erez border crossing on that day. However, he died at the European Gaza Hospital on the day of the appointment.

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In its monthly report on the referral of Gaza patients, the WHO said that 42.6 per cent of patients saw their permits either delayed or denied – 45 out of the total 1,847 applications were denied, while 742 were delayed with no response from Israel by the time of the patient’s hospital appointment.


Among those delayed were 153 minors and 89 people over 60 years old.

Meanwhile, the majority of permits for patients’ companions were either delayed or denied in June, with just 47.7 per cent of the 2,013 applicants getting approval to accompany their loved ones to the hospital.

The report said 94 patients (57 males and 37 females) were requested for interrogation by the Israeli General Security Services at Erez during July. Only five were approved permits to travel for health care.