According to research released by the World Health Organization, 54 palestinians died last year due to delays or rejections of medical permits from Israel. 25,000 permit requests were submitted in 2017, and of those 54% were approved. This is down from 62% in 2016, and 92% in 2012. Israel has slowly been increasing security measures and decreasing permits since 2007 when Hamas took control of the territory.
Access to healthcare was further reduced in 2013 when the border between Egypt and Gaza was closed. Before then, around 4000 Palestinians traveled to Egypt for medical care. Israel has also simply made access to permits and thus healthcare more difficult. For example, a child must have an adult over the age of 50 to accompany them through the border. If you or your child don’t happen to have access to a 50+ year old, your child will simply be unable to access life-saving appointments, such as chemo or radiation. The 50 year old limit is completely arbitrary, designed only to limit access to healthcare and cause hardship and possible death for Palestinians.
Al Jazeera interviewed a man by the name of Hani whose 7 year old daughter suffers from cancer. After 300 of their permit requests were approved, he was recently denied for the first time. They gave no reasons as to why. He said,
“She’s such a good girl, she’s so pretty and smart. We’re good people and do everything right - we face no problems with the authorities and our paperwork is always in order. I don’t even understand why, there were no reasons given to me this time, and I utilised every contact I had … nothing is more important to me than my children’s wellbeing. Who else do we turn to?”
This entire process is outrageous and a gross violation of human rights. It is unacceptable that we as an international community not only allow this, but fund Israel despite these atrocities. There are many things we can do to put pressure on Israel to stop this, yet we do not. We continue to give them aid and continue to support their oppresive regime.
Additionally, this story was not mentioned in the majority of the western media at all. The two places I read about it were The Independent and Al Jazeera (linked below). I checked back a few days after I saw this story there, and there were still no mainstream outlets mentioning it. I am dismayed that we continue to allow Israel to brutally oppress Palestinians and they continue to get away with it. There is limited visibility into what they are doing and no public pressure in the western world to stop them from continuing.
I know it is hard to keep up with all the shit that is going on in the world, especially with the instanity that is the US Government at the moment. I know there is just an outrageous amount of information being thrust at us all the time, but we must keep our eyes on this (and other global tragedies) in order to create change. Without public pressure, there is no incentive for those in power to take action.
I recorded a brief clip on this that I did for practice in creating my podcast. Please feel free to listen and give feedback. The recording can be found here.