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Save The Children: ‘Israel’ Denied Life-Saving Healthcare to Almost 400 Palestinian Children in 2023

15 Sep 2023 06:23

Islam Times - A new report by Save the Children revealed that apartheid “Israel” has deprived life-saving healthcare to almost 400 Palestinian children in Gaza during the first half of 2023.

A staggering average of 60 young patients were not allowed to leave for the occupied West Bank to receive urgent medical attention each month, equivalent to over two children per day. 

These denials have left children without access to critical surgeries and urgent medication, which are unavailable in the blockaded enclave.

“Some are desperately sick children who have no options other than leaving Gaza to survive,” said Jason Lee, Save the Children’s director in the occupied Palestinian territory, in a statement.

He further stated that “Denying children healthcare is inhumane and an infringement of their rights.”

The London-based organization said that in May alone, Israeli authorities denied or left unanswered 100 children’s applications to request permits to exit through the Beit Hanoun [Erez] crossing, which the “Israeli” entity controls, in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Because of the severe lack of medical equipment and personnel, a significant portion of patients in Gaza, notably those suffering from conditions such as cancer and chronic diseases, must obtain medical referrals covered by the Palestinian Authority [PA] to enable them to seek treatment in the occupied West Bank or 1948 Occupied Palestinian territories.

After they receive approvals and financial coverage for their medical treatment, patients are then required to apply for “Israeli” exit permits to be allowed to leave the strip through the Beit Hanoun, the only land crossing for Palestinians who want to move between Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.

One in 10 patients who seek exit permits from Gaza die within six months after their first application.

Yet, they endure a waiting period of almost five weeks for each application to undergo processing by “Israeli” authorities.

In 2022, three Palestinian children died after months of waiting for “Israeli” exit permits that would have enabled them to cross the border and access life-saving medical treatment in the occupied West Bank. Among them were 16-year-old leukaemia patient Salim al-Nawati and 19-month-old Fatima al-Masri.

Devastated by 16 years of an “Israeli”-led blockade and recurrent military attacks, Gaza’s healthcare system faces immense challenges, with the entry of vital medical supplies, equipment and medications severely restricted by “Israel”.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, around 224 drug items [43 percent of the essential medicine list] and 213 medical disposables [25 percent of the essential list] were at zero stock in May.

While tens of thousands of patients are granted medical referrals outside of Gaza by the PA each year, almost a third of them are denied exit permits by “Israel”.

In 2022, around 33 percent of the 20,295 patient permit applications submitted to “Israeli” authorities were denied or delayed. This includes a minimum of 29 percent of applications filed on behalf of child patients, according to the World Health Organization [WHO].

However, permit denials are not the only challenge Gaza patients face throughout the prolonged process of getting proper medical treatment outside of the strip.

In the majority of cases, approximately 62 percent of the time, “Israeli” authorities denied or delayed permit applications for caregivers and companions who are meant to accompany patients during their medical journeys.

Moreover, 225 patients underwent security interrogations by “Israel”, of whom only 24 were granted exit permits.

The coastal enclave, home to more than two million residents, has 36 hospitals providing an average of 1.26 hospital beds for every 1,000 people, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Story Code: 1081719

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