Under the Occupation arbitrary measures applied on the besieged Gaza Strip, the health system in the Gaza Strip has been collapsed for several years due to the lack of medicines, medical equipment, doctors, and vocational enrichment courses. The war on the Gaza Strip left thousands of people injured, with no access to the necessary treatment to save their lives.
Thousands of patients from the Gaza Strip who require treatment that is not available there are obliged to submit requests to the occupation authorities to access hospitals in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or other countries.
The occupation authorities deliberately delay the approval of applications and only accept the issuance of permits for treatments considered “life-saving” and that are not available in the Strip.
Therefore, many patients for whom the necessary treatment is not considered “life-saving” lose the opportunity to obtain treatment and continue to suffer – even though the treatment they need is available just a few kilometers away. Patients who meet the very restrictive conditions are forced to grapple with a bureaucratic process that is run in an arbitrary manner.
During the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, the occupation authorities imposed more restrictions than before, preventing patients from leaving the Gaza Strip except in emergency cases, while coordination between the Palestinian Authority and the occupation authorities stopped.
Meanwhile, the occupation authorities lifted those restrictions and resumed coordination with the Palestinian Authority. According to the data of the World Health Organisation for the year 2021, 15,466 patients from the Gaza Strip applied for treatment outside it, and more than half of the requests (8661 or 56%) were for treatment in hospitals in East Jerusalem. 30% of the requests (4,639 requests) were for treatment in hospitals in other areas of the West Bank, and only 14% of them (2,165 requests) were for treatment within the “Green Line”.
In most cases, applicants receive a response one day before their treatment appointment via a phone message informing them if the authorities have approved or rejected their application, or if it is “still under examination.”
During 2021, 37% of applications were rejected, or were “under examination,” or had no response. 38% of requests from pediatric patients (4,145) and 24% of requests from patients over the age of 60 (2906) were rejected or had no response.
Patients who do not receive a permit until the scheduled date for their treatment are forced to go through the whole bureaucratic process again – assigning a new role in the hospital, then obtaining a financial commitment paper from the Palestinian Authority, then submitting a new permit application to the Civil Affairs Department in the authority in the Gaza Strip, which in turn is submitted requests to the occupation authorities through the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration.
The arbitrary measures followed by the occupation authorities lead to many deaths and exacerbate serious illness among the besieged citizens in the Gaza Strip.