Israel delays half of patients' permit applications in Gaza


Published: 2018-01-10 17:47

Last Updated: 2018-01-11 09:40

In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 (Al Ray News Agency)
In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 (Al Ray News Agency)

Almost half of the patients in the Gaza strip, who applied for exit permits to get medical treatment, had their applications delayed, and subsequently lost their appointments at the hospitals, according to Wafa News Agency, citing a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip report covering the month of November, read that 54% of 2,047 applications were approved, 2% were denied, and 44% were delayed.

For those whose applications were denied, the process of rescheduling hospital appointments before reapplying for an exit permit is a process that could take months.

The long delays for applications could possibly cost patients their lives, especially that many are cancer patients.

Most of the referrals are for hospitals in East Jerusalem and Israel, with some to the West Bank and Jordan, according to International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC).

Meanwhile, 58 patients were interrogated by israeli General Security Services. Only seven were approved permits to travel.

But patient applications are not the only applications that get denied or delayed.

Out of 2,351 patient companions’ permit applications over the same period, 43% were approved, 2% were denied and 55% were delayed.

Many problems in Gaza including the power cuts, have seriously affected Gaza hospitals. According to Maan, the scores of patients in the besieged Palestinian enclave, including dozens of children suffering from cystic fibrosis, were in “mortal danger” due to severe medicine shortages.

In the wake of the closure of Gaza’s only power plant, after it ran out of fuel, the enclave’s 14 public hospitals and 16 health facilities now "face partial or complete closure of essential services", according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Gaza's hospitals, which have been operating on a limited reserve of emergency fuel, have partially closed a number of services to cope with the fuel shortage.

“Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza are not meeting their obligations to promote and protect the rights of the residents of Gaza,” Shamdasani said, urging them to uphold their human rights.

Restrictions imposed on the people’s freedom to move, especially patients, makes it hard for people in Gaza to reach hospitals.
This increases the chances of dying due to the patient's’ health conditions, added the center.

In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020.