On Monday morning, 6 July 2020, the Israeli authorities at Erez crossing arrested Abdullah Shaker al-Daghma, a 37-year-old resident of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, despite having granted him a travel permit. Al-Daghma’s exit permit from the Gaza Strip allowed him to travel to Tel HaShomer Hospital where his brother, Hani, 45, has been awaiting a bone marrow transplant since May.
Al-Daghma’s family, who was informed of his arrest by phone, told Al Mezan that Hani had sought medical treatment in the West Bank in February, before he was referred to Tel HaShomer Hospital in Israel three months later due to his critical condition. Medical tests show that Abdullah is the only donor in the family who is a 100 percent match for the bone marrow transplant.
The Israeli authorities continue to use Erez crossing as a means of entrapment and attempted coercion of Palestinians residing in Gaza, particularly of those in urgent need of medical exit permits, which are only granted for pressing humanitarian needs. Al Mezan’s documentation shows that in 2020, the Israeli authorities have arrested seven Palestinians at Erez crossing despite granting them travel permits. Al-Daghma’s arrest is particularly alarming as it immediately puts his brother’s life in jeopardy.
Al Mezan demands that Abdullah al-Daghma be immediately released, and strongly condemns Israel’s arbitrary detention policy and use of crossings to entrap and attempt to coerce Palestinians. The practice exploits their humanitarian needs, has harmful effects on travelers and threatens the lives of patients referred for treatment outside the Gaza Strip. The policies that facilitate this practice, which are grounded in Israel’s illegal closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, constitute a serious and systematic breach of international law.
Al Mezan reiterates its calls on the international community to ensure the respect of international law, and to exert pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to lift the blockade and closure, ensure freedom of movement of goods and people and the right to health, and put an end to the arbitrary detention of Palestinians.