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Palestinian AIDS Patient Denied Entry into Israel

Palestinian AIDS Patient Denied Entry into Israel for Urgent Medical Care

Today, six senior experts in the HIV/AIDS field are publishing an open letter regarding a young Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip, who is suffers from hemophilia and is HIV+. He has been treated for an extended period of time at Tel Hashomer Hospital near Tel Aviv, however he is now being denied entry into Israel for urgent medical treatment.

The doctors who signed include: Dr Gideon Hirsch, Executive Director, Israel Aids Task Force; Prof. Zvi Bentwich, Senior Expert on AIDS and member of the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel board; Dr Itzik Levi, Director, AIDS Service, Tel Hashomer Hospital; Prof. Shlomo Maayan, Director, AIDS Center, Hadasah Hospital; Dr Dan Turner, Director, AIDS Center, Ichilov Hospital; Dr Margalit Lourber, AIDS Clinic, Rambam Medical Center.

In addition, the Chairman of the Israel Medical Association (IMA) sent a letter to the army’s Legal Advisor to the Gaza Strip in which he requests that the man be allowed to enter Israel for the sake of receiving urgent medical care.

Recently, the patient’s condition has deteriorated and he is in hospital in Gaza.

In the past month three attempts were made to secure his entry into Israel, but all failed:

1) His entrance into Israel was denied on 19 December 2005 by the Israeli army authorities at Erez Crossing.

2) A request filed by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel to the “Humanitarian Hotline” of the Israeli army on 5 January 2006 asking permission for him to enter was rejected.

3) On 12 January Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Israel AIDS Task Force, in the name of the patient, requested from the Israeli army’s Legal Advisor to the Gaza Strip to allow his entrance. In spite of the professional medical opinions by experts on AIDS (Dr Levi and Dr Bentwich) which stressed the medical importance, the request was denied. The rejection was not accompanied by a medical opinion from the army.

He was rejected in spite of the fact that he entered Israel many times in the past.

The patient’s medical condition is very difficult and his life is in danger. Therefore, he must receive medical care urgently. Examinations have revealed that transferring him to Egypt is not an option. The professional treatment he needs is available at Tel Hashomer Hospital. In addition, the patient’s case is familiar to the medical staff, as he has been treated there in the past.

Given all this, the doctors write in the letter, they hope he will be allowed to enter Israel so that he may receive the urgent medical care to which he is entitled. The right to health is a basic right.

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