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Israel: Immediately Allow Four Palestinians in Need of Critical Medical Care to Exit Gaza
Letter by William Gomes Salem-News.com
The excuses need to end; it looks as though Israeli officials are forcing human beings to suffer without grounds.
(SALEM) - Palestinians are suffering medically and being denied access to healthcare by Israel for "security reasons".
U.S. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney revealed to the world a few days ago, his profound misunderstanding of real time economics in Palestine and Israel and we can not underestimate the impact of this type of misinformation regularly communicated to the west. Romney stated publicly that Palestinians make about half as much as Israelis, and in truth the U.S. government's last assessment of the contrast in wages was a far cry from what Romney said. In fact Palestinians earn roughly one tenth of what Israelis do.
In one case, Israel told the victim of a serious work accident that he can only leave Gaza if he is accompanied by a private security company, at his own expense. An injured worker who only made one tenth of what an Israeli makes before his injury?
People like Mitt Romney, with their extreme lack of understanding, and simultaneously loud and influential voices, set the conditions for this type of outcome.
As our Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes reveals in his letter below to the director of the Israeli Minister of Health, what has taken place to keep these men sick and barred from reasonable medical care involves an extraordinary list of denials and turn downs by the Israeli government and a great deal of it is ambiguous and in no way sounds like anything remotely close to democratic.
Prof. Arnon Afek
Director of Health Administration
State of Israel
Ministry of Health
Dear Prof.Arnon Afek,
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.
I have been informed by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel that Kamil, Abed Al-karim and Muhammed who are residents of the Gaza Strip are in need for critical medical care. Their requests to exit Gaza to receive medical care in Palestinian medical centers in the West Bank or East Jerusalem were rejected by the Israeli authorities, disregarding the harsh consequences on their lives and health.
Mohammed is from the West Bank. He too is trying to access vital medical care, and is faced with the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of occupation. He too is left without medical care.
All four patients had to go through interrogation with the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) as a prior condition to handling their applications for permits. Their stories and PHR Israel’s attempts to obtain the permits needed for them to reach medical treatments are detailed below.
I am sharing with you the details of the patients' situations, which have been disclosed by PHR Israel.
Kamil Altaramsi (ID no. 801839432)
24 year old. Suffers from Acromegaly, a rare disease in which the hands, feet and skull keep increasing disproportionately due to anterior pituitary microadenoma.
Application to Exit Gaza for Medical Care
Kamil was told by the Civil Affairs Committee that his application to exit Gaza for an urgent medical treatment at El Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem was approved.
February 19th 2012: Arriving at Erez Crossing Kamil was arrested and transferred to Shikma Prison. He was held there for the day without food, water or treatment, and was released in the evening to return to Gaza because he was found to be “medically unqualified for imprisonment!” Despite his declining health situation, Kamil didn’t dare make a new appointment. Only following PHR Israel’s intervention, did he obtain a new date for treatment and handed a permit application. Now he faced a new obstacle as the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee refused to submit a new request to the Israeli DCO for him;
March 13th, 2012: PHR- Israel submitted an urgent request in his name directly to the Israeli DCO, demanding to urgently allow his exit for medical treatment and ensure he will not be arrested or undergo any other sort of harassment.
April 7th 2012: Kamil was examined in Gaza by Dr. Mustafa Yassin, one of PHR-Israel’s volunteer doctors who participated in the PHR-Israel’s last delegation to Gaza.
April 16th 2012: Equipped with a new medical report, another request was sent to the Israeli DCO. April 30th 2012: A complaint was submitted to the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) referring to the use of the “honey trap” – the arrests of patients upon arriving at Erez Crossing to receive a permit.
June 6th 2012: A response was received from the ISA: “the Agency’s comptroller at this stage is prevented from examining the complaint, as the decision in the matter of the complainant is in the hands of the court.” Kamil’s appeal against the rejection of his request to exit Gaza for medical care, handed in by PHR's Attorney Yoni Lerman, was set for July 9, 2012 in the Administrative Affairs Court in Beersheba.
July 7th 2012: The attorney general’s office gives a preliminary response to the appeal saying it should be rejected because – among other things –the treatment was not urgent or life-saving. In addition the reply insisted that the treatment can be obtained in hospitals outside of Israel (Israel views entry to East Jerusalem as entry to Israel itself), and that kamil is an "active militant terrorist". This last claim is particularly hard to understand in light of the fact that Kamil was released from detention because of his medical condition; he has been confined to his house for a long time and is incapable of managing normal life or hold a steady job.
July 15th 2012: A court hearing was held on his case, and the judge decided
to reject the appeal based on the information which was presented to her by the state!
The Implications on Kamil’s Life
Dr. Ruth Stalnikowicz-Darvasi wrote in her review: "If the disease is not treated there is increased morbidity in cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and the pulmonary system, with 30% reduction in life expectancy. Given that therapeutic measures do not exist in Gaza, the patient should be allowed to reach the center where it can be treated urgently"
Abed Alkarim Alastal (ID no. 926656539)
28-year old, married with 3 children. Abed Alkarim complains of bilateral purulent ear discharge for many years, which has caused partial hearing loss in one ear. A mastoidectomy he underwent in Egypt on May 25, 2010 has failed, and the infectious condition returned and worsened. Thus, Abed Alkarim requested to undergo another operation in the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. On February 14th 2011 he entered for an initial examination at Augusta Victoria Hospital, where the doctor recommended drug treatment for three months at least, to be followed by surgery to save his auditory system. The surgery was scheduled for June 19th 2011.
Application to Exit Gaza for Medical Care
June 12th 2012: To have the operation in Augusta Victoria Hospital, Abed Alkarim submitted an application for an exit permit to the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee (CAC) who handed it in to the Israeli DCO.
June 20th 2012: Abed Alkarim checked the status of his application with the CAC on and was told that his application had been denied. He makes a new appointment for surgery, for September 11th 2011 and asks for the assistance of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
June 30th 2011: PCHR submitted a second application to the CAC;
July 7th 2011: Abed Alkarim received another refusal.
August 2nd 2011: Attorney Walid Dahnoun from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, approached PHR Israel requesting to assist in submitting a new application to the DCO. Abed Alkarim sets his surgery for November 10th 2011.
September 11th 2011: Abed Alkarim was invited for an interrogation at Erez. He was asked several questions and promised by the investigator that he could exit Gaza for his treatment.
October 25th 2011: PHR-Israel sent a request to the Israeli DCO.
November 23rd 2011: The request was refused.
June 4th 2012: An appeal submitted by PHR Israel on behalf of Abed Alkarim was in the Administrative Affairs Court in Beersheba. In the hearing it was decided to reject the appeal based on confidential material the court received from the State.
The Implications on Abed’s Life
Dr. Michael Prsico, a specialist ENT physician, wrote (October 2011): “Generally, a condition such as this gradually destroys the middle ear, and greatly damages hearing, with the danger of damaging deep blood vessels in the cranial cavity, and the vestibular system […] I recommend allowing the patient to be examined and undergo repeated surgical treatment as soon as possible, in order to save the ear.” ]
Muhammed Nasir (ID no. 954626669)
49 years old, from Gaza. Diagnosed as prostatic adenocarcinoma gleason score 3, and is receiving follow-up hormonal treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Muhammed has been complaining of strong lower back pain and hemotoma. He had a CT scan for his chest area, stomach and pelvis, and needs to undergo an isotope bone scan immediately in the Palestinian Medical Center in Ramallah in order to examine whether the cancer has metastasized in the bone. An appointment was scheduled for November 23rd 2011.
Application to Exit Gaza for Medical Care
Muhammed submitted an application for an exit permit but was told by the CAC that his request was refused.
March 27th 2012: PHR Israel submitted an urgent request to the Israeli DCO.
April 10th 2012: The request is rejected on “security grounds”. PHR-Israel has handed Muhammed’s case to Attorney Lerman to consider an appeal to the court on his behalf.
The Implications on Muhammed’s Life
Professor Dina Ben Yehuda, director of Hematology at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, wrote in her medical opinion: “Concerning a 49 year old man, married with seven children, diagnosed with prostate cancer at an advanced stage, with suspected bone metastases. The request of the treating doctor is to implement a bone scan, and to consider radiation of the prostate. Because there is no possibility of a bone scan in Gaza (which is the examination of choice in this situation), and there is no possibility for radiation there, I recommend his transfer to a tertiary care center in Israel where he can receive both these things. Since we are talking about a fatal disease, the urgency is extremely high.”
Mohammed Awawdeh (ID no. 920633435)
52 years old from Hebron. On January 6, 1992, he was injured while working in Ashkelon on construction, an injury from which he still has not recovered. He was diagnosed with PTSD and his physical condition does not allow his return to work. Mohammed was recognized as the victim of a work accident by the Israeli National Insurance Institute (NII), with 77% disability. Since then, for twenty years, he has regularly been coming to Israel for medical and psychological treatments which are needed for his injury.
Application to Enter Israel for Medical Care
Beginning of June 2011: Mohammed turned to the CAC requesting an exit permit in order to receive the treatments in Israel; however his request was denied. Only after he re-appealed was he was told that the denial is based on “security grounds". He was told that if he arranges to be accompanied by a private security company, at his expense, each time he enters Israel, a permit will be given. The sum needed is high for anyone living on Palestinian wages, let alone for someone who is unemployed.
December 11th 2012: PHR-Israel approached the DCO and were given the same response.
December 19th 2011: An appeal was made to the Jerusalem District Court, to instruct the State to explain why the petitioner would not be given an entry permit to Israeli territory for medical and psychological treatment which he needs and which he had received for many years in Israel.
April 15th 2012: The demand for an escort by a private security company was dropped. The Attorney General’s office relayed that: “The position of the security forces is that at this moment the petitioner’s entry into Israel for medical treatment is not conditional upon being escorted by a security company.” In spite of this reply, the patient’s entry to Israel was only made possible three times. Once following PHR Israel’s submitting a request, and twice following Hadassa Hospital submitting a request. All other appointments were “missed” due to various bureaucratic excuses.
June 18th 2012: After Mohammed received another refusal, PHR Israel requested for an explanation. The Health Coordinator (at the Israeli civil administration), Ms. Dalia Bassa, explained that he had been forbidden entry by the Israel Security Agency. It seems that after backing off from the demand of a private escort, and trying all other bureaucratic excuses, nothing was left for the DCO to do, but to claim that he was “forbidden by the Israel Security Agency.” The true reason for why a person who was regularly receiving treatments in Israel is suddenly deemed as a security threat is left unknown.
I urge you please help this patient to avail the emergency medical treatment, otherwise if anything happen to these patients due to the negligence of the Israeli authorities you and your government will be liable for the situations.
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.
He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.
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