JERUSALEM, May 29, 2018 (WAFA) – Out of 40 Palestinians who were injured by Israeli army gunfire since March 30 and who applied for an Israeli permit to leave the besieged Gaza Strip for treatment in West Bank or East Jerusalem hospitals only 13, or 32.5 percent, were approved, according to the new monthly report by the World Health Organization (WHO) on health access and barriers in the occupied Palestinian territories covering the month of April.
“Since the beginning of the Great March of Return in 30th March until 20th April 2018, 40 patients injured during demonstrations submitted applications to exit Gaza to Israeli authorities. Of the 40 patients, 13 (32.5%) were approved, 21 (52.5%) were denied and 6 (15%) were pending,” it said.
“The approval rate for patients injured in demonstrations (32.5%) is significantly lower than the overall approval rate for the first quarter of 2018 (60%). Similarly, the rate of denial for those injured in demonstrations (52.5%) is significantly higher than the overall rate of denial for the first quarter (8%).”
Out of the 40, 30 (75%) had initial appointments at hospitals in the West Bank and 10 (25%) had initial appointments in East Jerusalem. Two of the referred patients died: one after referral out of Gaza and one in Gaza after being denied a permit to exit. Eleven of the referred patients had amputations, 8 of whom denied access and 3 of whom were approved, said the report.
Prior to April 15, none of those injured in the Great March of Return had been granted permits to leave Gaza through Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing for health care. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and Adalah launched a successful appeal for these patients to the Israeli Supreme Court.
The first injured patient to exit Gaza was journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein, a 24-year-old journalist shot in the abdomen on 13th April while taking footage of the demonstrations in North Gaza. He sustained multiple internal injuries and was in a critical condition when he was transferred by ambulance to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, crossing Erez at 11:40 p.m. He was subsequently transferred to TelHashomer Hospital in Israel, where he died on 24th April.
On the general approval rate for Gaza patient referrals during April for treatment outside of Gaza, the WHO report said of the 2,037 applications to cross Erez, 1,087 (576 male; 511 female), or 53% were approved, 215 applications (117 male; 98 female), or 11% of the total, were denied permission and 735 patient applications (400 male; 335 female), or 36% of the total, were delayed access to care, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment.