6 August 2022 |Reference 42/2022
For the fifth consecutive day, Israeli authorities continue to close Gaza crossings and prevent the movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip. On 2 August 2022, Israeli authorities announced the closure of Erez and Karem Abu Salem crossings, denying dozens of Palestinian medical patients—mainly cancer and cardiac patients—from accessing hospitals and specialized medical facilities outside Gaza or returning home, despite them having travel permits approved by Israeli authorities.
Al Mezan is warning of the serious health risks for Gaza patients due to the closure of Erez, who are banned from accessing life-saving treatments otherwise unavailable in Gaza due to Israel’s closure. Sources at the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s Coordination and Liaison Department stated that since last Tuesday, none of Gaza patients with serious diseases who have medical referrals to hospitals and medical facilities outside Gaza were able to leave the Strip and are still waiting for a decision from the Israeli authorities to allow them to travel. The same sources also pointed out that the number of Gaza patients needing to travel via Erez is increasing, as the daily average of patients obtaining approval for Israeli exit permits is around 120.
Israel's current tightened closure restrictions on the free movement of Palestinians patients to and from Gaza have increased their suffering and put their lives at serious risk. Gaza patients are denied access to necessary health services, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment and cardiac surgeries, which are unavailable in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli authorities also continue to ban the entry of medical devices, equipment, and spare parts. At the time of writing, 24 medical imaging devices are banned from entering Gaza. Under such conditions, it is almost impossible to conduct medical surgeries, and the medical staff is unable to fully provide medical care to patients. Consequently, the Palestinian Ministry of Health resorted to referring patients to hospitals outside the Gaza Strip.
These accelerated developments due to Israel’s latest attacks against Gaza and new challenges faced by patients are associated with very harsh health conditions and a 15-year closure and blockade imposed on the Strip by Israel.
Al Mezan asserts that Israel’s continuous ban on the movement of Gaza patients, the lack of medicines and medical necessities needed for surgical operations, intensive care unit, cancer, blood and kidney diseases, as well as the unprecedented deficit in power supply, exacerbate patients’ suffering and put their lives at risk. Israel’s practices and policy of collective punishment against more than two Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are flagrant violations of the international humanitarian law under which Palestinians’ access to adequate healthcare is guaranteed.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to fulfill its moral and legal obligations, to pressure Israel to stop the ongoing military offensive against the Gaza Strip and to work by all means to allow Gaza patients access to hospitals and end Israel's closure and blockade, which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including apartheid.
Figures as of 8pm (Jerusalem time) on 6 August 2022.
The Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR)
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