The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli forces decision to prevent Nadia Abu Nahla (al-Bakri) (52), a cancer patient, from travelling via Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing to receive medical treatment in Tel Hashomer Hospital.
According to information available at PCHR’s Legal Aid Unit, al-Bakri suffers from breast cancer since 2009. She underwent a surgery in Tel Hashomer Hospital, where doctors recommended continuous medical follow-up for her condition, taking in consideration the radiological examination devices are not available in the Gaza Strip hospitals.
It should be noted that al-Bakri suffers from critical health problems and doctors in the abovementioned hospital decided to appoint a date for her to assess her health condition and offer the necessary treatment. Therefore, al-Bakri submitted an application to the Palestinian Coordination and Liaison Office, but on 30 March 2016, she was surprised that her application was unjustifiably rejected. As a result, PCHR’s lawyers immediately intervened to help her travel due to the seriousness of her health condition. The Palestinian Coordination and Liaison Office replied that they would set a security interview for her and she would be informed about it.
The doctors in Tel Hashomer Hospital set several appointments for al-Bakri for the seriousness of her health condition, but Israeli forces showed disregard and rejected the appointment, which was scheduled on 20 September 2016. It should be noted that the last time she travelled for medical treatment was on 27 December 2015.
It should be mentioned that al-Bakri is the Director of the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) in Gaza, member of PCHR’s Board of Directors and an activist of the Palestinian civil society.
PCHR stresses that the continued Israeli policy to prevent patients from travelling to receive medical treatment is a flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law, especially as this policy falls within the continued illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip that increases the suffering of Palestinian patients, who need advanced medical treatment that is not available in Gaza hospitals.
Al-Bakri’s case is similar to the cases of all Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip, who receive advanced medical treatment in hospitals of the West Bank and Israel. Israeli forces make use of Beit Hanoun crossing by blackmailing the Palestinian patients and individuals to allow them to pass via the crossing, as Beit Hanoun crossing is the sole crossing that connects the Gaza Strip with the West Bank and Israel.
In light of the above, PCHR:
- Strongly condemns the continued Israeli ban imposed on the Palestinian patients from travelling through Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment;
- Confirms the gravity of targeting patients, exploiting their need to receive medical treatment and blackmailing them; and
- Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to fulfill their obligations and hold their responsibilities through taking immediate measures to put an end to the Israeli violations of the international law against Palestinian civilians and particularly patients. Moreover, they should take immediate actions to put an end to the Israeli closure which is one the worst forms of collective punishment.