Ill and trapped in Gaza

The sequence of events could not have been more difficult for Walaa Al Zureidi, a young mother from Gaza. The 31-Year-old has breast cancer and needs treatment,

Ill and trapped in Gaza

The sequence of events could not have been more difficult for Walaa Al Zureidi, a young mother from Gaza. The 31-Year-old has breast cancer and needs treatment, it is not so in the sealed-off Gaza strip.

"We don't know if I can get my treatment or not. Without this, my life is in danger," she says on the phone in Gaza. After the removal of your breast tissue, you ought to have in June an appointment in a neighborhoods of East Jerusalem the hospital for a radiation therapy perceive.

But then the travel restrictions came suddenly through the Corona of a pandemic, and to stop the political decision of the Palestinian authority in Ramallah, the security and civilian coordination with Israel as a Protest against Israel's plans to Annex parts of the West Bank.

The already complicated Situation has become for the patient and the Al Zureidi even more complicated. You didn't know, first of all, how and where you can apply for the necessary exit permit from the Israeli authorities for the Erez Checkpoint to leave the country.

"We did not know whether it still is allowed to leave Gaza. Some said, nobody goes out anymore. In the news it was said that some leave through Erez. But we don't know where we will request to make." Israel has sealed off the Gaza strip for over 13 years, since the Hamas has taken over Power and are strictly controlled persons and goods.

On their own

it was always bureaucratic, time-consuming, to make a leave application to the Israeli authorities. Only certain categories can make this request: seriously ill people, business people, students and others, "humanitarian" emergencies.

patients require a Referral to a hospital outside of Gaza, and then to the application via the so-called "Committee for Civil Affairs" in Gaza city, managed by the Palestinian authority. All applications are collected and on the Israeli side, the military, the Israeli coordination office for civil in the territories (COGAT) (Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) to be forwarded. Since the end of may, this process is stopped. to get

To help, had to find a patient on your own Alternatives. "Man suffers only as a Patient under the disease, it also suffers, to get treatment," says Alia Agha from Rafah in the southern Gaza strip. Like many other cancer patients she sought human - rights and aid organisations in Gaza and Israel help.

This is a progress, although, otherwise, in case of problems with the permits, but there will be no direct applications to the Israeli coordination office. "In June, we organized 104 urgent cases, otherwise we have about 30 cases which we follow. This is a big number for us that goes beyond our capacity," says Ghada Majadle of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), an Israeli non-governmental organization.

the number of Departures dramatically

fallen "human rights organizations should not replace official coordinating body," she adds, and points out that a solution to the fundamental political Problem should be found. The Al Mezan center in Gaza city, a Palestinian human rights organization, had helped at first with applications, but this stopped again, in order not to be as a "substitute for the Palestinian authority to be seen", says Zaqquot the Deputy Director of Samir.

This time is crucial for cancer patients. "If you do not receive your radiation therapy in a timely manner, there is the risk that the cancer comes back," says the specialist of the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem hospital, the patients from the Gaza strip taken care of. The doctor who wants to stay at his own request, anonymous, is concerned that his patients may not return in time for their therapies.

According to the Israeli non-governmental organization Gisha, which campaigns for the freedom of movement of residents in the Gaza strip, the number of Exits via Erez Transition of patients and their accompaniment in June to below 200 decreased. In February 2900 Departures were counted.

Some patients with chronic diseases may also have a current application for a visa due to the Corona pandemic, distance taken, according to observers. Hamas has also imposed a strict 21-day quarantine for all returning in the Gaza strip.

Ramallah relies on the UN

In Ramallah, take the difficulties very probably true, but a solution you can offer. "Cancer patients and other patients suffering from it," says Ibrahim Milhim, government spokesman in Ramallah via Whatsapp. "We have asked the international Red cross and UN organizations to intervene so that the can leave patients in hospitals to the West Bank, Jerusalem or Israel."

"The United Nations are currently working, in order to act as an intermediary between the Israeli side and the Palestinian authority," confirms Jamie McGoldrick, humanitarian coordinator of the United Nations in Jerusalem.

"We are working with both sides to develop a System in which the UN as a mediator, acts and allowing patients to leave the Gaza strip, based on the existing System."

however, This would only relate to life-saving cases, so patients in need of urgent treatment in the West Bank, or in other places. In the long term, opportunities for comprehensive cancer care in the Gaza strip should be created.

NGOs are sounding the Alarm

COGAT has established on its Website a Online application for certain humanitarian cases. But it remains unclear what this means for students, workers, or Palestinian travelers to return to Gaza. Also for a trip home, it needs a coordinated approval. COGAT has not yet responded to a request for more Details.

In a Sunday letter published five Israeli non-government organizations, including PHR and Gisha, the competent Israeli authorities called for (COGAT, the Israeli defense Ministry and the General state of Walt), "the travel restrictions, cancel" and Palestinians, "beyond medical emergencies to allow you to exit via the Erez crossing, regardless of the Palestinian coordinating bodies".

Alia Agha hopes that you will receive your exit permit at the end of July. "I don't want to leave Gaza and stay with my family. But I have no other choice than for treatment outside."

author: Tania Krämer, Hazem Balousha

*The post "Ill and trapped in Gaza" published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 21 July 2020, 19:27

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