Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Palestinians, comprising 34.3% of all cancer diagnoses among women in Gaza and 32% in the West BankSwift access to treatment is crucial to saving lives.

But Israel’s discriminatory policies are denying Palestinians access to urgent care.

Ghalia’s* breast cancer treatment journey has been plagued by misery and despair. She requires radiotherapy, which is unavailable in Gaza, and so must apply to the Israeli authorities for permission to travel to a hospital in occupied East Jerusalem.

In October 2021, she applied for her first permit. Four rejections and nine months later, her application was finally approved. She has 15 more radiotherapy sessions left and must apply for a new permit each time. Disruption and delay to Ghalia’s treatment may be life-threatening.

The physical and psychological impact of living with breast cancer is already an incredible burden. Living with the fear of not being able to get to the care she needs adds another layer of pain.

As an occupying power, Israel must ensure patients in Gaza have unimpeded access to the medical treatment they need. Instead, it is imposing illegal collective punishment on them and two million people in Gaza through its 15-year blockade and closure. Its discriminatory permit regime routinely prevents Palestinian patients from reaching hospitals and potentially life-saving medical care.

From pressuring Israel to lift its discriminatory travel restrictions, to supporting the development of services inside Gaza, the UK can and must do more to ensure women like Ghalia can access the vital care they need.

Please email your MP, and ask them to call on the UK government to take action today.

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