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Human rights organizations to Israeli authorities: Gaza patients must be allowed into Israel and the West Bank to receive vital medical treatment unavailable in Gaza

On May 26, 2021, Israeli human rights organizations sent an urgent letter to Israel’s Minister of Defense, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Attorney General, to demand that patients, especially in severe condition, be allowed immediately to travel from the Gaza Strip to Israel and the West Bank via Erez Crossing. The organizations – Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, HaMoked, Adalah and Gisha – protested the fact that even after the ceasefire Israel continued to prevent entry into Israel of patients needing vital medical treatment unavailable in Gaza (only allowing patients in ambulances and in exceptional circumstances). The letter provides the details of several cancer patients whose requests to leave Gaza were not approved despite the fact they were scheduled to receive lifesaving treatments in Israel.

The organizations clarified that this constituted a severe violation of the Gaza population’s right to life and bodily integrity. They also noted that as a result of Israel’s effective control over the crossings into and out of Gaza as well as with regards to other fundamental aspects of life there, Israel is still obligated to ensure the humanitarian needs of the population in Gaza are satisfied, primarily access to adequate medical treatment that cannot be obtained in Gaza.

The organizations stressed that as a result of the recent fighting, the medical system in Gaza is struggling to function under extreme conditions, compounding a large number of casualties and massive damage to vital infrastructure. Unavoidably, this means that the situation of many of those waiting to travel from Gaza to Israel to receive medical treatment “has already deteriorated and has become more urgent, [and so] any additional delay could become catastrophic”. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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