The Palestinian health care system – one story

Today, at Qalandia “border crossing terminal” manned by the Israeli Defense Forces, Border Police, and private contractors, in the baking afternoon sun, a Palestinian Red Crescent Ambulance coming from Nablus was pulled over to the area next to the “passenger” area.

Waiting was an ambulance from the Israeli Magen David Adom (Red Star of David) from the Lachish region in southern Israel.

While they might have been air-conditioned, neither of them had a refrigerated compartment.

Inside was the corpse of a woman who had arrived three days ago from Gaza for heart surgery. Unfortunately, despite a tremendous effort and an arduous trip out of Gaza, across Israel, and into the West Bank, crossing at least three major and several minor Israeli military checkpoints, the operation was not successful, and she died.

Her body was being returned to Gaza via the same long route.

The major Israeli border crossing into Gaza at Erez normally closes these days at 2 pm. It seems it would be open until 8 pm to allow the return of the Palestinian woman’s body.

Israel to close recently-opened medical clinic for people of Gaza at Erez Terminal

An medical treatment clinic set up by the Israeli Ministry of Health “for the people of Gaza” on 18 January, the day after Israel announced a unilateral cease-fire it its military offensive in Gaza, is to be closed down tomorrow (Wednesday), Israel’s YNet website has reported.

The clinic was located in the main Erez Terminal, the only place that people can travel in and out of Gaza from or to Israel. We previously reported on this clinic here when it opened.

The Jerusalem Post previously reported that it was “a humanitarian gesture by Israel following the 22-day operation in Gaza”.

Human Rights groups in Israel criticized the opening of this clinic, and said that it was mainly for propaganda purposes.

Only a few Palestinians from Gaza — maybe not more than 15 — were ever treated at the clinic, which was run by Israel’s Red Magen David Adom (MDA – or red star of David) during its only ten days of operations.

Israeli sources are blaming Hamas for the lack of patients, saying that Hamas instructed civilians not to seek treatment there, and that there was a direct order by Hamas not to transfer the wounded to Israel.

Hamas has not commented on this clinic, but Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah (who has still not reappeared in public) said in a statement today that “We expected France, whose motto is ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ to send hospital ships to treat the children burned by banned weapons or to set up a humanitarian bridge… rather than deploy a navy ship to reinforce the blockade,” in remarks criticizing the deployment of a French frigate to the waters off Gaza, where Israel proclaimed a formal naval blockade since 3 January. The French boat, apparently called the Germinal, is to take part in a mission against arms smuggling into Gaza. The full story can be read here.
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