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Feb-21-2011 22:39printcomments

Human Rights Centers: Israel Must Stop Manipulating Gaza Patients, Escorts

Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip has made the situation very difficult for Gaza medical patients.

Gaza ambulance
Photo of Gaza ambulance courtesy:

(RAMALLAH WAFA) - Three human rights Centers, Adalah, Al-Mezan and Physicians for Human Rights- Israel, Sunday called on Israel to stop manipulating Gaza patients and their escorts, in a joint press release. (see:

The centers called on the Israeli security authorities to stop the manipulation of the most basic humanitarian needs of medical patients from Gaza as means of coercing them and their families and to allow for unimpeded access for Gaza patients to medical care in Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

While medical treatment may be available in Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank or in Israeli hospitals, patients from Gaza have to go through a very complex security mechanism that interrupts patients’ access to life saving medical care.

The centers labeled the Israeli security’s policy of arresting patients or escorts after being given permits or clearance to pass Erez as “a policy that constitutes cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.”

They also condemned the arrest of a Patient’s Brother at Erez Crossing, calling for his immediate release and for him to be permitted to stay with his sick sister in hospital.

Tuesday, February 15, at 10:30, the Israeli occupation Forces (IOF) arrested Mohamed Zo’rob, 28, from Rafah, a town southern Gaza, as he was accompanying his sick sister, Hanan, 42 who suffers from cancer and the Guillain-Barré syndrome, according to the centers.

Due to Hanan’s critical condition, they were transported to the crossing in a Palestinian ambulance equipped with an ICU. As they reached the crossing, the IOF allowed the ambulance to pass through and arrested Mohamed for interrogation despite the fact that they were given Israeli permits to pass Erez crossing.

According to Al Mezan’s Center for Human Rights investigation, Mohamed had accompanied his sick sister to hospitals in Israel via the Erez crossing five times and he had never been arrested before.

Al Mezan contacted the Israeli authorities which informed it that the prisoner was being held in Shikma prison in Ashkelon. Until this moment, Hanan remains without any escort.

Moreover ,the centers accused the Israeli security authorities , of exploiting the medical needs of patients and their relatives by giving them permission to pass through the Erez crossing in order to coerce patients or their relatives, often interrogating, arresting or pressuring them to provide information or collaborate with them.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since June 2007, which has made the situation very difficult for Gaza patients who suffer from medical conditions; as there is not any available treatment for them in Gaza.

Erez is the only crossing between Gaza and Israel, which Israel maintains absolute control over. Through this crossing Israel allows Palestinians whom has granted special permits to cross, and each year, thousands of Palestinian patients endure long delays and/or have their requests rejected for permits to cross Erez.

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