Region | Palestinian Territories

Israel detains Gaza patients

Human rights groups say many face obstacles and harassment when they need treatment

  • By Ahmad Najjar, Correspondent
  • Published: 23:22 August 3, 2012
  • Gulf News

Gaza: The Israeli occupation authorities persist in continuing their policy of extorting Gaza patients who have no other option but going through the Israeli state in order to leave the besieged strip and receive medical treatment in the hospitals of the West Bank.

According to many human rights organisations in Gaza strip, many of the patients who leave Gaza through the Israeli gates face obstacles, harassments and are sometimes detained by the Israeli security.

One of the latest patients detained by the Israeli security forces was, Wael Al Tawel, 40 years old.

His wife, Om Kamil Al Tawel, said: “I don’t know why my husband was arrested. He is a sick man whose only desire is to receive his medical treatment and return back to Gaza.”

The reason why these patients leave the West Bank is because the medical situation in the hospitals of Gaza strip have been facing a lot of obstacles such as the lack of the needed medication, facilities and equipment, forcing many of the Palestinians to receive their treatments in the West Bank hospitals.

Despite the humanitarian needs that these patients are supposed to urgently receive, the Israeli occupation authorities delay it and this might in many cases lead to worsening the patient’s case.

Mrs Al Taweel, added: “Ever since we received a call from the Israeli side informing us that he was arrested, I’ve been so worried about my husband’s health. I don’t know whether he is in a good condition or not.”

Many of Gazans cannot afford medication abroad since it may cost a fortune for them and the medical insurance doesn’t cover the treatments outside the Palestinian territories.

Ahmed Al Ashi, the public relation officer in Gaza health ministry said: “We try to provide all the services in Gaza strip to the patients to prevent them from going to the West Bank and face the harassment from the Israeli soldiers and authorities, but there are some cases we cannot deal with because of the lack of equipment’s or medication.”

Mr Al Ashi added: “Not only is the Israeli occupation preventing medicines and medical consumables from entering into Gaza but have increased its abusive and unethical practices by extorting the patients transferred abroad who use the Beit Hanoun crossing.”

Despite all that, all the patients who leave Gaza strip to the West Bank hospitals must have a security permit the Israeli side detain the Palestinian patients on Biet Hanoun crossing and this is considered illegal according to the international law.

Mr Khalil Abu Shamala, the head of Al Dameer for Human rights said: Mr AL Tawel received a permit permission from the Israeli side to receive medical treatment in AL Maqasid charity hospital in Jerusalem. Why would they give this man the permission in the first place if they felt like he was a threat?

According to the Al Damer around 15 patients have been abused or detained in the year 2012 by the Israeli occupation while leaving through the Beiht Hanon crossing.

Mr Abu Shamala added: “What the Israeli authorities do to the weak patients isn’t only against the international law but is also inhumane.”

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