Israelis deny medical treatment to homicide bombers, steal sand from the desert, try to poison Muslims with buried septic tanks, and the best Allah can do is send giant spiders!? There's no justice.
Thursday August 25, 2005
Gaza City (AFP)
Palestinian medical experts fear a looming health crisis after Israel's pullout from Gaza Strip unless patients are guaranteed access to life-saving treatment beyond the territory.
While Israel regards its departure from Gaza as signalling the end of its 38-year occupation, the Palestinians argue that Israel will remain an occupying power as long as it retains control of its borders and is thus still obliged to meet the health needs of the local population.
"I fear a worsening of the health situation after the withdrawal from Gaza as a result of the Israeli cordon," said Dr Majdi Ashur, president of the Palestinian relief committees.
"Israel is refusing to recognise its obligations as a continuing occupation power by meeting basic health needs of the population and we do not foresee a resumption of proper freedom of movement in the short term," he told AFP.
More than 10,000 patients are transferred each year out of Gaza to Egypt, Jordan and theWest Bank to receive treatment, said Ashur.
Hundreds of those who are treated outside the territory are suffering from chronic or life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, he added.
Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians have been locked in talks for months about the future of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza that has been frequently closed by Israel for security reasons over the years.
Although Israel is set to hand over border control to Egypt, Ashur said it would do little to ease the problems as the traditional main source of health care for Palestinians was in the West Bank.
While there are also ongoing negotiations about a so-called "safe passage" between Gaza and the West Bank, no agreements have yet been reached.
"Our overall health plan links us to the West Bank where the two main hospitals are based," said Ashur.