Press Releases

Al Mezan Condemns Banning PHR-Israel Delegation Visit to Gaza

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8 October 2008 |Reference 86/2008

The IOF banned a delegation of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) from visiting the Gaza Strip today, Wednesday 8 October 2008.
According to data collected by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the IOF banned a nine-member delegation from entering Gaza today morning despite that they had obtained entry permits from the Israeli authorities.
The delegation encompassed physicians who specialize in various medical fields, including orthopedic surgery, general surgery, cancer tumors and intestine surgery and psychiatry.
This was the tenth visit of this kind in 2008.
PHR-Israel's office in Tel Aviv submitted the required permit applications to the Israeli authorities.
They were notified of the Israeli authorities’ approval and that their visit permits were issued on Monday, 6 October 2008.
Therefore, the organization coordinated with the Palestinian Ministry of Health and other hospitals in Gaza to schedule the visit.
The delegation was supposed to carry bout forty surgeries and examine 350 patients.
In addition, it planned a number of seminars and trainings on recent medical advancement during their three-day visit.
The delegation arrived at Erez Checkpoint today morning as scheduled.
However, to their surprise, they were denied access.
Officials of the PHR-Israel contacted the IOF’s southern area command and intelligence and security agencies, including Israel’s Chief of Internal Security and the Office of the President.
However, until this press release was released their efforts to cross the Checkpoint were in vain.
Al Mezan Center highly appreciates the efforts exerted by the PHR-Israel to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
The Center vehemently denounces denying physicians’ access to the Gaza Strip by the IOF.
It stresses that such a step comes in the context of the Israeli collective punishment measures against Gaza, whose most notorious aspect is the tightened siege that has impacted all aspects of the civilian life and particularly the right to access medical care.
Al Mezan condemns Israel's willful interference in Palestinian's access to health care, which represents a violation of the right to health under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Art.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights once again calls the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to intervene immediately to put an end to the grave breaches perpetrated by the IOF, especially the continuous crime of collective punishment imposed on the Gaza Strip, which violates all the standards of human rights.
In light of the evident IOF’s deliberate disregard of the rules of international law, the resulted continuous loss of life and deterioration of wellbeing among Gazans, and failure of Israel’s judiciary institutions to prosecute those standing behind practices amounting to crimes, Al Mezan Center calls the international community to act to bring to justice those who order or perpetrate such actions.
The international community must stop sacrificing human rights in the OPT for political and economic interests.