PHOTO: Healthcare in Gaza

Fri, 07.04.2017 17:20

For many patients suffering from life-threatening diseases in the Gaza Strip, treatment in neighboring Israel or the occupied West Bank is a much sought-after option.

But Israel tightly restricts Palestinian passage from the Gaza Strip, one of its bitterest enemies. Although it exempts from the ban Gazans seeking "life-saving or life-changing medical treatment" if it is unavailable in the territory, crossing the border isn't easy.

Gaza, an enclave of two million Palestinians ruled by the anti-Israel Hamas movement, suffers from a chronic shortage of hospital beds, medical equipment and specialist physicians, says Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for Gaza's Health Ministry.

Egypt, Gaza's neighbor to the south, is an option for those seeking medical checks, not urgent surgery, and patients who are barred from entering Israel. But the Egyptian government is at odds with Hamas and keeps its own frontier with the Palestinian territory largely closed. It opens the crossing once every 40 days, for a few days each time.

Qidra said at least half those who apply for treatment in Israel or the occupied West Bank are turned down by Israeli authorities.

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Source: Reuters

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