The ongoing Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip has deprived about 50 per cent of the Strip’s patients of their medical rights guaranteed under international humanitarian law, the Ministry of Health said today.It said that 1,922 patients could not reach the specialized hospitals in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel in time “due to the Israeli occupation’s procrastination and the failure to issue permits.”This came as ambulance drivers staged a protest against the current situation in which patients’ freedom of movement is restricted and their lives are endangered due to the Israeli blockade at the Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing in Gaza City today.
In a monthly report in July, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said “64% of the 1,619 patient applications to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez in July 2022 were approved”, adding that the remaining 36 per cent had been delayed during that month. “Just under a third (30%) of applications were for children under 18 and close to a fifth (19%) were for patients over 60 years old,” it added.
“11 patients from the Gaza Strip were requested for security interrogation in July… One patient of the 11 (9%) were approved permit after interrogation and 10 (91%) remained pending under study.”
The Ministry of Health in Gaza pointed out that 371 patients left the Strip for treatment unaccompanied, the highest number since April.
It added that cancer patients and those who suffer heart disease face a harsh fate due to the occupation’s delay in issuing exit permits. This has led many patients to die of their ailments. While those with kidney failure are unable to obtain the medications they need to stabilise their condition and tackle their anemia.
Israel, it explained, is still preventing the transfer of 21 diagnostic X-ray devices to Gaza’s hospitals, while spare parts for existing devices are also not being clearance to enter the besieged enclave.