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Friday, February 14

IOF Prevent 60 Palestinian Patients from Travelling Via Erez Crossing to Reach Hospitals
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In the morning hours of Wednesday, 21 February 2014, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) prevented 60 Palestinian patients from the Gaza Strip from travelling via Erez crossing to reach their hospitals in the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan. Patients who obtain medical referral from the Palestinian Authority and seek medical treatment that is not available in Gaza Strip have to leave the Gaza Strip through Erez Crossing which is under the total control of the IOF.

According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, the Israeli authorities attempted to justify this prevention in stating that the medical referrals are prohibitively headed with the title, “State of Palestine”. Three days ago, Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs on the objection to the phrase, “State of Palestine”, on medical referral forms. Following a government decision, the IOF began refusing to grant Palestinian patient permissions for travel via Erez crossing on Wednesday, 21 February 2014.  

Al Mezan helps to organize patient documents and then follows up to help them travel and receive medical treatment; the headed documents have been used since March 2013 and the IOF dealt with these documents and granted permissions for patients since that date.

It’s worth noting that the head of the documents were changed in Palestinian governmental facilities in March 2013, following the 29 November 2012 UN General Assembly resolution according Palestine a Non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations.

Al Mezan asserts that the Gaza Strip is part of occupied Palestinian territory. Israel, as an occupying power, has the obligation to respect international law in its dealing with Palestinians including ensuring their welfare and security. 

Al Mezan points out that the denial of medical access of protected persons is in contravention of international humanitarian law, citing in particular paragraph (2) article (38) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which emphasizes the right to “receive medical attention and hospital treatment to the same extent as the nationals of the State concerned”. Israel’s policies also violate articles (22), (25), and (12) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Economic Rights.

Al Mezan asserts that the Israeli decision to prevent Palestinian patients from reaching hospitals is a critical escalation in the Israeli policies that already hinder and prevent access of Palestinian patients to necessary medical treatment.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns Israel’s policy of preventing Palestinian patients from receiving medical treatment at hospitals in Israel and the West Bank. Al Mezan warns that this procedure may threaten the lives of hundreds of patients. Delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment causes health deterioration for patients. 

Therefore, Al Mezan calls on the international community to intervene to ensure the respect of the international law, to end the Israeli violations, and to enable Gaza patients to reach hospitals and receive medical treatment.

Ends

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