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Gaza After Disengagement- Patients Pay The Price

New Report: Gaza after Disengagement- Patients pay the Price

In a short report published today, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel presents the implications of the implementation of the disengagement plan on the lives of the ill in the Gaza Strip. The poorly functioning border with Egypt on the one hand, and the closed border with Israel on the other, make Gaza a prison, and patients are unable to leave for vital life saving treatments.

Hundreds of patients who cannot receive treatment in the Gaza Strip are trapped in the area, waiting for the gates to open. The closure imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel since the beginning of the disengagement plan prevents entry into Israel or passage through Israel in order to reach the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The border with Egypt is also closed until further notice. It was open for a about a day and then closed again and it is unclear when the crossing will reopen. Complaints received by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel indicate that, given these circumstances, hundreds of patients have been left without treatment.

Despite earlier contacts from PHR-Israel emphasizing that Israel must ensure arrangements enabling the passage of patients to Egypt and Israel even after the disengagement, no steps have been taken to ensure contiguity of treatment for these patients. It should be noted that many treatments are not available in the Gaza Strip (such as catheterization and heart operations, burns, pediatric cardiology, neurosurgery and so on). Other treatments exist, but not at an adequate standard.

Israel is relieving itself of its obligation to allow patients to enter and pass through its territory, and says that patients can use the crossing to Egypt, even though in patients in emergency situations or in dire medical conditions, would not survive the ride to Egypt.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel demanded that Israel publish the text of the agreement with Egypt regarding passage from the Gaza Strip to Egypt and from Egypt to the Gaza Strip, and should disclose the extent to which it will influence free passage via this border.

Israel should discontinue its involvement in entry to and exit from the Gaza Strip – continued intervention means continued occupation, albeit by different means. As long as Israel influences policy regarding entry to and from Gaza, it bears overall responsibility for developments in the area and for patients suffering in the Gaza Strip. If Gaza becomes a prison with Israel as its warden, that warden bears full responsible for those under its custody.

The report includes detailed descriptions of the problems, case examples, the bureaucratic processes which prevent the patients from receiving treatment as well as recommendations and conclusions.

To download the report:http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=268&catid=42&pcat=42&lang=ENG

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