Al Mezan strongly condemns the discriminatory movement restrictions and the arbitrary permit system imposed by Israeli authorities on Palestinian patients from Gaza, which obstruct their access to hospitals outside the Strip. The most recent case of delay led to the death of Mohammed al-Ledawi, a 32-year-old cancer patient residing in Rafah City, on 6 September 2022, after being denied eight medical appointments at West Bank hospitals.
The patient suffered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Despite having obtained a medical referral from the Palestinian Ministry of Health and secured appointments at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem and Patients Friends Society Al-Rahma Hospital in Nablus, Israeli authorities denied him the requisite exit permit to travel for eight different appointments, the last of which was scheduled for 28 August 2022. This delay led to a serious deterioration of al-Ledawi’s health condition and eventually to his death on Tuesday 6 September 2022.
As al-Ledawi’s legal representative, Al Mezan contacted the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) at the Erez crossing to grant him a permit, but to no avail. We then contacted the Israeli Prosecutor’s Office to facilitate the patient’s access to the hospital but were again unsuccessful. Our records show that since 2022, five patients—including three children—have died because of Israel’s denial or delay of exit permits.
We reiterate that Israel’s draconian, stifling closure of Gaza serves to deny inhabitants their fundamental right to health, and other inalienable rights, as part of an entrenched system of oppression, domination, and discrimination against the Palestinian people. Al Mezan’s decades of experience in representing patients indicates that Israel's denials or delays of permits are not based on any valid reasons, but rather are part of the collective punishment and apartheid regime to which it subjects more than two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Al Mezan deeply regrets the death of Mohammed al-Ledawi and holds Israel fully responsible for his death. As the occupying power, Israel must adhere to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 as well as international human rights law, which protect the rights to life, freedom of movement, and to physical and mental health.
Al Mezan calls on the international community—in particular, the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions—to uphold their moral and legal obligations vis-à-vis the protected Palestinian people and to ensure Israel complies with its obligations under international law, ends the closure and blockade on the Gaza Strip, and stops its ongoing restrictions of Palestinian patients’ access to medical care outside the Gaza Strip. Lastly, Al Mezan reiterates that the continued impunity provided to the Israeli forces encourages the repetition of crimes and violations against the Palestinian people.