The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns that Israeli forces stationed at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing continued to apply the policy of arresting patients and their companions when traveling for treatment in the Israeli or Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. The latest was arrest of a patient’s companion from the Gaza Strip after summoning him for a security interview with the Israeli authorities in Beit Hanoun Crossing.
According to PCHR’s follow-up, at approximately 08:00 on Thursday, 15 March 2018, the Israeli forces stationed in Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in the northern Gaza Strip arrested Na’im Mohammed Hussein Kotkot (44) from Jabalia refugee camp after the Israeli authorities summoned him for a security interview in Beit Hanoun Crossing. Kotkot was summoned for the interview after he applied for a permit to cross the Beit Hanoun Crossing as a companion for his son, who is a patient suffering blood disorders and was referred for treatment in Augusta Victoria Hospital “al-Motale’a” in occupied Jerusalem.
Hussein Na’im Mohammed Kotkot (19), son of the arrested civilian, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:
“On Thursday, 15 March 2018, my father headed for a security interview in Beit Hanoun Crossing after the Medical Coordination Department informed him on Wednesday, 14 March 2018, that the Israeli authorities asked him for the interview. The request for the interview came to examine the possibility of giving my father a permit to travel via Beit Hanoun Crossing in order to accompany my brother, Mohammed (18), in his treatment trip in Augusta Victoria Hospital in occupied Jerusalem as he managed to get an appointment from the hospital on 30 March 2018. After waiting for my father to come back from the crossing following the interview that went on for hours, we started feeling concerned and contacted the General Authority of Civil Affairs (GACA) in Gaza City. At approximately 20:00 on the same day, GACA responded to inform us that my father was arrested by the Israeli authorities.”
PCHR reiterates its strong condemnation of the Israeli policy to arrest patients and their companions at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing and calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as the international organizations, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to practice pressure immediately on the Israeli authorities to stop this inhuman and unjustifiable policy. PCHR also calls for serious action to facilitate the movement and travel of patients from the Gaza Strip to the hospitals in Israel or the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem especially that continuing to apply this policy endangers the life of hundreds of patients in the Gaza Strip and deprives them of receiving the proper medical treatment for their serious diseases that cannot be remedied in the Gaza Strip hospitals.