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Freedom of Movement of Palestinian Patiants - Trends and Data 2012 (Eng)

Freedom of Movement of Palestinian Patiants - Trends and Data 2012 (Eng)

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Published by PHR Israel
Physicians for Human Rights - Israel.
Physicians for Human Rights - Israel.

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Published by: PHR Israel on Nov 13, 2012
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11/13/2012

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Freedom ofMovement ofPalestinian Patients
Trends and Data for 2012
When in need of medical care outside their residence area, Palestinianpatients residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip must apply for a movementpermit from Israeli army authorities in order to access medical care in Israelor other countries. Patients' escorts are also required to obtain a permit.Since, November 2011, the approval rate for medical exit requests from theGaza has increased in comparison to previous periods; however, over thefirst half of 2012, 288 patients were denied timely medical care; 247 were“delayed” (i.e. they did not receive timely replies to their permit applications)and another 41 were "denied" permits.
 
Applications of Gaza Patients to Cross Erez Checkpoint
Comparison between the first half of 2011 and 2012
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Men aged 18-40 were especially likely to face permit denial or delay by Israeli army authorities; as so,also the majority of patients and their escorts who approached PHR for assistance for obtaining a permitfollowing delay or denial were adult men from this age bracket (64% from the West Bank and 55% from theGaza Strip).Among those delayed, there were also children whose access to medical care was limited. According todata compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO), between January and June 2012, 48 children fromGaza were not granted permits in time to get necessary medical treatments outside the Strip. In manycases, parents, mainly fathers, were prevented from accompanying their children for treatment and insteadrequired to apply for a different escort, delaying access to children’s care.During the first half of 2012, PHR documented and represented cases of 39 children from the West Bankand the Gaza Strip whose medical exit permits were delayed. The coordination authorities often respondedto PHR's appeals by asking that the families replace the child’s escort; PHR therefore assumes that mostof these children were denied permits merely because the coordination authorities were unwilling to granttheir escort-parent a permit.
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January to June 2011January to June 2012
ApprovedDelayed + DeniedDelayedDenied
 
On 22 January 2012, Hanin Abu Jalalah, 16 years old, passed away. She suffered from cysticfibrosis, a serious, chronic medical condition, for which she was treated in Egypt and laterreferred to Almakassad Hospital in East Jerusalem. Since her father’s application for a permitto escort her was rejected, it was Hanin’s mother – herself ill with diabetes and high bloodpressure – that had to escort her. Hanin’s father requested once again to escort Hanin so hiswife could remain at home, but this request was also rejected. Given the inability of Hanin’smother to keep accompanying her daughter, and the inability of her father to obtain a permitand replace his wife, both Hanin and her mother returned to the Gaza Strip. Hanin was takento Shifa Hospital.Hanin’s condition deteriorated and she needed urgent transfer to Israel. With the confirmationof the medical referral to Hadassah Hospital, Hanin's father submitted an urgent appeal on29 December 2011 for Hanin to get a permit and for him to escort her; he was again deniedand the family was instructed to apply with a different escort, despite the urgency. The familyhad no one to ask to escort the girl for the long period she would require care.PHR applied again to the Gaza District Command Office (DCO), which promised to re-examinethe case. PHR also appealed to Member of Knesset Dr. Ahmad Tibi and to an Israeli reporter;both requested a response from the IDF. Surprisingly, within two hours, the Gaza DCOinformed PHR that Hanin’s father would be allowed to escort her. Due to the delay, however,the hospital had already changed the date for Hanin's intake. Following further advocacy byPHR, the hospital agreed to advance Hanin’s intake to Friday, the day she finally reached thehospital with her father.As she continued to be hospitalized, Hanin’s medical condition turned out to be morecomplicated than assumed, and according to her father, after entering a coma for two weeks,she sadly passed away on 22 January 2012. PHR notes that the increase in the percentage of patients approved for medical exit permits from theGaza Strip was accompanied by an increase in the number of patients called for interrogation by the IsraelSecurity Agency (ISA) during the same period. While 84 patients from Gaza were called for interrogationduring the first half of 2011, during the first half of 2012, 106 patients were called for such interrogations;almost 40% among them were women, a high and especially worrisome figure.
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Troubled Journey to Medical Care
Kamil Altaramsi is a 24-year-old resident of Gaza suffering from a rare disease (Acromegaly)in which the hands, feet and skull continue growing disproportionately due to the productionof excess growth hormones by the anterior pituitary gland.PHR' volunteer doctor wrote in her review of Kamil's medical records: "If the disease is nottreated, there is increased likelihood of morbidity in the cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and/or the pulmonary system, with a 30% reduction in life expectancy. Given that therapeuticmeasures do not exist in Gaza, the patient should be allowed to reach a center where it canbe treated urgently".Kamil was told by the Civil Affairs Committee that his application to exit Gaza for an urgentmedical treatment at Almakassed Hospital in East Jerusalem was approved. Upon arrivingat Erez Crossing, Kamil was arrested and transferred to Shikma Prison. He reported thathe was held there for the entire day without food, water or medical treatment, and wasreleased in the evening to return to Gaza because he was found to be “medically unqualifiedfor imprisonment.”
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