Patient’s Companion Arrested at Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing
Date: 26 January 2021
Time: 12:00 GMT
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the ongoing Israeli arrest policy of Palestinian patients or their companions at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing, while travelling for treatment at hospitals in Israel and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. The latest of which was the arrest of a brain cancer patient’s husband.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 08:00 on Monday, 25 January 2021, Walaa Mohammed Mostafa al-Refa’i (35), married with 3 children from al-Maghazi camp, headed to Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing with his wife Walaa Nabil Mahmoud al-Refa’i (33), who has a brain tumor. Mrs. Al-Refa’i has a scheduled surgery at al-Maqassed Hospital. At approximately 11:00, an Israeli soldier took Mr. Al-Refa’i for investigation, while the patient remained waiting in the hall. At 16:30, the Israeli soldier ordered Mrs. Al-Refa’i to travel alone or to return to the Gaza Strip. She told the Israeli soldiers that she was going to have a brain surgery and could not go alone; she was instructed to have her companion replaced by someone else. Mrs. Al-Refa’i’s mother joined her and they went to al-Maqassed Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem. At approximately 19:00, Mr. al-Refa’i phoned his wife and told her that he is detained by Israeli authorities and was taken to Ashkelon Prison. It should be noted that PCHR is following the detainee’s legal file.
PCHR stresses that the ongoing IOF policy of arresting patients and their companions is considered a violation of international human rights law and the international humanitarian law. It also constitutes a form of inhuman and degrading punishment, amplified by the tightened restrictions of the Israeli illegal closure policy on the Gaza Strip. Of course, these practices aggravate the suffering of patients whose treatment is not available at the Gaza Strip hospitals. PCHR also calls upon the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop the policy of arresting patients and their companions while travelling for treatment at hospitals in Israel and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, as their treatment is not available at Gaza’s hospitals.