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WHO: Gaza closure compromises right to health

Ma’an – 15/06/2012

BETHLEHEM – The World Health Organization on Thursday said the closure of Gaza compromises the right to health and called on Israel to lift the blockade.

The health system in Gaza cannot function effectively under Israel’s blockade, which entered its sixth year on Thursday, a WHO report said.

During Israel’s 3-week offensive on the Gaza Strip in December 2008, 15 out of 27 hospitals were damaged as well as 43 clinics.

The Erez checkpoint, the main humanitarian access route for the critically ill, closes daily at 2:30 p.m. and all weekend. Outside opening hours, access requires lengthy coordination and can delay emergency treatment by at least two hours.

Gaza has run out of 42 percent of essential medicines, affecting oncology treatment, surgeries and dialysis. Israel does not allow the Health Ministry in Gaza to send medical equipment for repair.

Drug and fuel shortages have increased the need for referrals outside Gaza, funded by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

“The 5 most frequent reasons for referrals are for cardiovascular, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, or neurosurgery treatment,” WHO says.

Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem are the main specialized centers, but Israel has denied permits to nearly 12,000 patients, or their requests were delayed past their hospital appointment date.

“In the past two years, 618 patients were called for interrogation by Israeli security after applying for a permit,” WHO says.

The main Palestinian teaching hospitals are in East Jerusalem, but medics from Gaza are often denied permits to attend training courses.

June 15, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Comments Off on WHO: Gaza closure compromises right to health

Gaza Media Demand Action On Othman Case

By Julie Webb-Pullman and “Amal” | Scoop | May 17, 2012

Members of the Palestinian media today demonstrated in Gaza City to draw attention to violence against journalists, particularly the case of Mohammad Othman, shot by Israeli soldiers while covering the Al Nakba commemoration at the Erez crossing a year ago.

The protestors gathered outside the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, where they held a press conference, then marched to the UNESCO Offices.

Mohammad Othman was targeted by Israeli soldiers at the Erez checkpoint while he was carrying out his professional duties as a journalist. He received severe wounds to his back, and required medical treatment in Turkey. He still suffers the effects of his injuries.

Despite attempts by the journalists union to have the person/s responsible for his injuries held to account, the Israeli authorities have not investigated the matter, or held anyone responsible.

The protestors called on the Palestinian Human Rights Centre and the United Nations to take up the matter, as the deliberate shooting by Israeli forces of a journalist carrying out his professional duties is a crime that must be investigated, and punished.

“Israeli impunity for such crimes against journalists must end,” they said. “Othman was only taking pictures in his professional capacity when he was brutally and deliberately shot.”

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Comments Off on Gaza Media Demand Action On Othman Case