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Palestinian Cancer Patient Seeks Help In Israel

Petition to the High Court: Grant Palestinian Breast Cancer Patient Temporary Stay in Israel

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel together with One in Nine-Women for Women with Breast Cancer, have petitioned the Israeli High Court today, demanding that Fatma Barghouth, a 28 year old Palestinian suffering from breast cancer, be granted a permit to continuously stay in Israel for one and a half months so that she will be able to receive potentially life-saving medical treatment.

Ms. Bargouth is a Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip. Initially, the Israeli Civil Administration refused to grant her a permit to enter Israel for treatment as she does not have an ID card, however, following a petition by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, filed some 5 months ago, the State Attorney decided that she would be allowed to enter for treatments, but she would need to obtain a new permit for each visit.

All cancer patients from Gaza requiring radiation therapy must exit the strip in order to receive treatment as there is no such treatment center in the Gaza Strip.

Ms. Bargouth has already undergone two surgeries to remove the cancer, and now must undergo intensive daily radiation therapy, which will begin on Sunday, 18 April and continue until 24 May. The army currently only grants her day passes, which are renewed weekly. This means that Ms. Barghouth will be required to exit the Gaza Strip via Erez Crossing every morning and return everyday, while asking for a new permit each day, for 25 consecutive days (excluding weekends and holidays). This is unacceptable, especially considering that multiple variables can interfere with a patient's ability to travel, including closure and delays in renewing permits, and Ms. Barghouth might find herself stuck inside of Gaza. This will harm the treatment which must be consecutive.

For example, following assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin even patients in serious condition were not able to exit Gaza, including Ms. Barghouth herself, who was supposed to reach Shiba hospital in the Tel Aviv region, for pre radiation simulations.

Therefore, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and One in Nine, together with Ms. Barghouth have petitioned the Israeli High Court to grant her an extended temporary permit which will allow her to continuously reside in Israel for the length of the treatments- about one and a half months. The permit should be granted immediately, being that the treatment begins on Sunday.

Ms. Barghouth has dealt with the bureaucracy of the occupation every time she has gone through Erez for treatment in Israel, and it is fitting that this abuse be stopped, so that she can focus on fighting the disease.

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