Four sick Palestinians, including three children, have died in the besieged Gaza Strip during the month of August after Israel prevented them from leaving the enclave to receive treatment, a Palestinian human rights organisation said.
Palestinian human rights lawyer and deputy Director of Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Samir Zaqout said since the beginning of this year, four Palestinian patients, including three children, have died because the Israeli authorities which control the Beit Hanoun Crossing in the northern Gaza Strip did not grant them the necessary permits to receive treatment in hospitals outside the enclave.
"The latest victim of this ban was a 6-year-old child, Farouk Abu Naga, who died recently as a result of the delay in granting him a permit to cross to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in occupied Jerusalem to receive treatment;" Zaqout added in an interview with Quds Press.
He explained that the child suffered from neuronal atrophy in the brain and due to the lack of necessary treatment in Gaza hospitals, he had received a special medical referral for treatment at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. His request remained with the Israeli authorities under review and despite the hospital's approval, he was unable to travel and eventually died.
Zaqout held Israel fully responsible for the child's death because as a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 the occupying power is obliged to provide healthcare to the population of the occupied territories.
He added that Israel is also a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of which Article 12 affirms the right to enjoy the highest level of physical and mental health.
Zaqout called on the international community to assume its legal responsibilities towards the population of the occupied Palestinian territory and compel Israel to respect international law; stop its continuous violations of Palestinian patients' rights; enable them to reach hospitals to receive appropriate treatment without any restrictions; and end the siege of Gaza.
He stressed that the perpetuation of impunity encourages Israel to continue and even escalate its violations of international law in its dealings with the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
He denounced the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip which has entered its fifteenth year and the strict restrictions on freedom of movement, especially for the purpose of treatment.