Ref: 75/2011

 

On Monday, 25 July 2011, Ra’ed ‘Azzam Saleem
al-Mghari passed away as the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) refused to give
him a permit to travel to the Arab Center for the Treatment and Surgery of
Heart and Blood Diseases in Nablus in the West Bank. The Health Coordination Committee of the
Civil Affairs in Gaza informed the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
that it urgently faxed the Israeli side on 18 July 2011, and received a reply
on 20 July 2011, stating that the application is under examination. 
On 20 July 2011, the Committee’s
representative re-sent an application regarding the patient’s serious
condition, but IOF at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing submitted a written letter to
the Palestinian representative on 24 July 2011, rejecting that application. 



According to information collected by a PCHR
field worker, on Monday, 25 July 2011, Ra’ed ‘Azzam Saleem al-Mghari, 33, from
al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, died. Al-Mghari had been suffering from a heart
disease for 16 years. He died s IOF refused
to give him a permit to travel to the Arab Center for the Treatment and Surgery
of Heart and Blood Diseases in Nablus in the West Bank to undergo a surgery for
one of the heart valves. In his
testimony to PCHR’s field worker, the victim’s father, ‘Azzam Saleem al-Mghari,
56, said:


“My son has been suffering from health problems in the heart
valve for 16 years. He used to receive
medical treatment at Nasser and Shifa Hospitals in Khan Yunis and Gaza City
respectively. He underwent an open-heart
surgery in the Arab Center for the Treatment and Surgery of Heart and Blood
Diseases in Nablus five years ago, as he spent a month there for following up
and medical treatment. On 11 June 2010, doctors
at the Center followed up his condition after he traveled there, where medical
tests had been done. The doctors decided
that he would not be able to undergo a surgery in one of the heart’s valves
then. Accordingly, he returned to
Gaza. On 10 July 2011, we transferred
him to the intensive care unit at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City due to the deterioration
of his health condition, and he spent two days there for medical treatment. He kept going to the hospital to receive
necessary medical treatment and return home until 14 July 2011, when he fell
down to the ground at home and was returned to the hospital again. We started then working on the referral
measures urgently to transfer him to the Arab Center, however, the Health
Coordination Committee of the Civil Affairs informed us on 19 July 2011 that
the companion’s permit (his wife’s father, As’ad al-Mghari, 49) was
rejected. We started working on the
referral measures without a companion, but the Committee informed us on 24 July
2011 that the Israeli side rejected his application for security reasons. I moved to working on a referral permit to
Egypt, but his health deteriorated more and more. As a result, on Monday, 25 July 2011, the
doctors decided to perform an urgent surgery to him. He was entered to the operations room. 
He died after five hours, while in
operation.” 


By al-Mghari’s death, the number of patients, who died due to
denying their right to receive medical treatment in hospitals abroad, has mounted
up to 3 patients. Besides, health
conditions of hundreds of other patients have deteriorated since the beginning
of the current year. The Gaza Strip’s
patients referred to Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank, including
Jerusalem, and in Israel, have been suffering due to the degrading treatment
and being blackmailed by IOF to collaborate with them in order to facilitate
giving them permits to travel for medical treatment. PCHR has documented many cases, including
arresting a number of patients or their companions at Beit Hanoun (Erez)
crossing. PCHR’s Legal Aid Unit has
followed up those cases, as it is following the cases of four patients from the
Gaza Strip and their companions this month. Those patients are referred to al-Maqased Charity Hospital. The Unit has received 3 negative responses,
while it is waiting for a response regarding the fourth case. PCHR has been following up allowing a patient
child’s father from the Gaza Strip, who is currently at an Israeli hospital, to
accompany him during his medical treatment there. PCHR’s Legal Aid Unit received a response
rejecting giving the child’s father a permit to accompany his child.


PCHR condemns denying al-Mghari’s right to access the best
attainable level of physical and mental health care, which resulted in his
death. PCHR calls upon the High
Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 to immediately exert
pressure on IOF in order to ensure respect to the international humanitarian
law, stop the policy of collective punishment against civilians in the Gaza
Strip and offer the Palestinian patients the chance to move freely to receive
the necessary medical treatment.