Days of Palestine

Saturday, June 3

Israel: How delayed exit permits kill Palestinian patients in besieged Gaza

S.K | DOP -

Source: Middle East Eye

Farouq Abu al-Naja was supposed to attend school for the first time this year, but he died five days before the beginning of the school year, following months of Israeli delays in granting him an exit permit to access urgent medical treatment.

 

Six-year-old Abu al-Naja, a resident of the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza, died on Wednesday, 24 August, two weeks after his last delayed appointment.

Organisation, 1,898 patients from Gaza were referred to health care services in the occupied Palestinian territory in July, of whom 36 percent were delayed access to care, 11 patients were called by Israeli intelligence officers for security interrogation, and 371 were forced to travel without companions.

 

 

‘Death sentence for Gaza patients’

Kamal al-Shanti, 54, is afraid he will face the same fate as Abu al-Naja, after his third appointment has been delayed.

 

He suffers from aortic valve stenosis, a progressive disease that restricts the blood flow in the heart and causes severe pain and breathing difficulties.

 

To avoid him suffering an acute aneurysm rupture, which may lead to death, the Palestinian Ministry of Health urgently referred him to Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem to undergo open-heart surgery.

 

Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson for the Gaza Ministry of Health, told MEE that the health crisis, combined with Israel’s policy of delayed permits means a “death sentence” for Gaza’s patients.

 

“Since the beginning of 2022, four patients, including three children, have died due to Israel’s denial of permit requests,” he said.

 

“Dozens of [people with] critical conditions in need of urgent medical treatment outside of Gaza are still waiting for approvals to leave the Strip. Many of them have applied more than two or three times already.”

 

Rescheduled appointments

Five months after her death, Fatma al-Masri’s parents still refuse to remove the decoration of her baby shower party that was hung on the ceiling of their living room.

 

Fatma, who suffered an atrial septal defect (hole in the heart), was born after eight years of marriage, and died aged only 19 months due to persistent Israeli delays in granting her exit permits to get medical treatment.

 

Her father, Jalal, still appalled by her death, submitted five applications to get his daughter an exit permit. All requests went unanswered.

 

“I submitted the first permit application at the end of last year and got an appointment on 26 December, but shortly before that date, I received a text message saying that her application was pending under review,” he told MEE.

“She would sometimes wake up in pain. All I could do was hold her in front of the window to help her get some fresh air and distract her pain.”

 

Fatma’s mother had given birth to another child only 40 days before her death. But the family said their new child, Muhammed, could not replace her.

 

“My mobile is full of photos and videos of Fatma that we took from day one until her death. Whenever she said anything, we would record her, we were crazy about her. But now, if you search my phone, I bet you would find more than two or three photos of Muhammed,” Fatma‚Äôs mother, Om Muhammed, told MEE.

 

“She was the first baby we had after eight years of desperate attempts to get pregnant. You could not imagine our joy when she came into our life, we were over the moon. We tried so hard to keep her alive, but thank God for everything, she died anyway.”

 

Ten days after her death, Masri’s family received a text message that her application was still “under review.”

 

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