Al-Mezan Center For Human Rights: The discriminatory movement restrictions and the arbitrary permit regime imposed by Israeli authorities on Palestinian patients from Gaza, which obstruct their access to hospitals outside the Strip, have claimed another Palestinian life.
The most recent case of permit delay led to the death of Mahmoud Mohammed Al-Kurd, a 45-year-old cancer patient from Deir al-Balah City, on 16 December 2022, after being repeatedly denied access to the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem.
Al-Kurd suffered from lung cancer. Despite obtaining a medical referral from the Palestinian Ministry of Health and securing appointments at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, Israeli authorities denied him the requisite exit permit to travel for four different appointments. The last appointment to which access was denied for Al-Kurd was scheduled for 29 November 2022.
As Al-Kurd’s legal representative, Al Mezan communicated with the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) at Erez Crossing to grant him a permit, but to no avail. We then filed a preliminary petition to the Israeli Prosecutor’s Office in Beersheba to facilitate the patient’s access to the hospital, but the Prosecutor’s Office responded that they would allow him to pass through Jordan, although his appointment was in Jerusalem. At that point, Al Mezan, together with Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI), took the case to the Israeli Supreme Court, which approved the patient’s access to the hospital through the Erez crossing.
On 15 December 2022, the patient received a new hospital appointment at Augusta Victoria Hospital and accessed the hospital successfully. However, he arrived in Jerusalem in extremely poor health conditions and was pronounced dead the next day, at 10:30 pm on Friday, 16 December 2022.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that since the beginning of 2022, nine patients—including three children—have died following Israel’s delay or denial of requests for exit permits.
We reiterate that Israel’s draconian, stifling closure of Gaza serves to deny inhabitants their fundamental right to health, and other inalienable rights, as part of an entrenched system of oppression, domination, and discrimination against the Palestinian people.
Al Mezan’s decades of experience in representing patients indicates that Israel’s denials or permit delays are not based on valid reasons but rather are part of the collective punishment and apartheid regime to which it subjects more than two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Al Mezan calls on the international community—in particular, the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions—to uphold their moral and legal obligations vis-à-vis the protected Palestinian people and to ensure Israel complies with its obligations under international law, ends the closure and blockade on the Gaza Strip, and stops its ongoing restrictions of Palestinian patients’ access to medical care outside the Gaza Strip.
Lastly, Al Mezan reiterates that the continued impunity provided to the Israeli forces encourages the repetition of crimes and violations against the Palestinian people.