Until the last minute, it was not clear how South Africa’s Justice Richard Goldstone would arrive in the region this weekend with a mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to begin an inquiry into the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead against Gaza (27 December – 18 January), or whetherIsrael will or will not let him enter the country, if he tries to come here.
Israel — which often prefers ambiguity — apparently did not reply to Goldstone’s request for a visa.
The mission’s mandate is to “investigate all violations of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”
Continue reading Richard Goldstone due in region this weekend to begin hearings on Gaza war
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-Israel) has just published a new report stating that “at least 438 sick Gazan medical patients have been summoned for interrogations by Israel’s General Security Services (GSS) — otherwise also known as Shin Bet, or Shabak — at Erez Crossing into and out of Israel, as a precondition for the review of their applications for an exit permit for the purpose of accessing medical treatment outside of the Strip, between January 2008 and March 2009.
That is, the patients must come for an “interview” with the feared Shin Bet even before their application for an exit permit for medical treatment is even examined.
According to PHR-Israel, this policy of interrogation of sick patients began in August 2007 – about six weeks after the Hamas rout of Fatah security forces in Gaza in mid-June 2007.
The data collected by PHR-Israel “points to [a recent] increase in the ratio of the number of interrogations to the total number of applications submitted to the authorities at Erez Crossing”,
meaning that more sick and ill Palestinian patients have been interrogated recently, and forced to provide information, as a precondition to exit Gaza for medical care.
Continue reading Since Gaza war, more sick Palestinians subjected to Israeli security questioning as condition for travel for medical treatment
At some point in January, during or just after the IDF Operation Cast Lead against Gaza, the Palestinian Authority decided to stop referring Palestinian patients to Israeli hospitals, and to stop paying for their treatment in Israeli hospitals.
As a result, Israeli hospitals stopped treating Palestinian patients.
This affected, as Israeli human rights organizations reported today, “coverage for chronically ill Palestinian patients, and those in need of complex care that is not available in other tertiary medical centers in the region. The result has been that an estimation of hundreds of Palestinian patients who were in the middle of long-term treatment regimes in Israel, including cancer patients in need of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, found their treatments interrupted with no alternatives”.
Continue reading Medical care for Palestinian patients in chaos