Press release: Two more Palestinians die after being denied exit from Gaza for medical treatment

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is very saddened to learn of the deaths of two more Palestinians living in Gaza who were denied permission to travel to East Jerusalem for medical treatment.

According to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Walid Mohamed Mohamed Qa’oud, aged 59, died on 2 May after cancer metastasised around his body. Al Mezan say requests to the Israeli authorities for a travel permit to receive treatment at Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem were repeatedly denied or delayed.  

Al Mezan also reported that Aya Khalil Abu Metalq, aged five, died on 17 April due to lack of treatment for a metabolic disorder. Israeli authorities twice failed to respond to requests submitted by Aya’s family to travel to appointments at Al Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

Israel, as the occupying power of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), is obliged to ensure that adequate medical care is provided to the people under its effective control. Restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians needing healthcare, and also their carers, are one of a number of barriers to healthcare imposed by the Israeli authorities.

According to the World Health Organisation, 40 percent of requests to exit Gaza for medical appointments were denied or delayed by the Israeli authorities in February 2017. The approval rate for such travel requests has declined year on year since 2012, when 8 percent of such requests were denied or delayed.

In June this year, Gaza’s population of almost 2 million will have been subjected to a full decade of closure and blockade and 50 years of military occupation. As the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process reported this month, “over the past decade, the Gaza Strip has seen a significant decline in key socio-economic indicators” and is “facing a downward spiral of de-development”. Its “infant mortality rate has, for the first time in five decades, started to increase … [and] the quality of services and particularly tertiary health care are deteriorating.” Provision of healthcare in Gaza has been jeopardised further still by the energy crisis which has led to only the most critical services being available as hospitals are forced to work at minimal capacity.

Neil Sammonds, Director of Advocacy for MAP, said:

“It is exactly when we need to see Israel taking significant steps to improve its record in facilitating travel permits for essential medical treatment outside Gaza that we are witnessing the opposite. We urge all those with influence to ensure that positive changes are made quickly, before yet more lives are put at risk.”


Press contacts: Rohan Talbot, Campaigns and Media Officer, Medical Aid for Palestinians.

E: [email protected] // T: +44 (0) 20 7288 7343

 More information:

Find out more on the effects of movement restrictions on Palestinian healthcare: Health Under Occupation: Access to Healthcare

For more information on recent cases of Palestinian patients in Gaza dying without receiving permits to travel for treatment: Ahmed Hasan Shubeir (17), Aya Khalil Abu Metlq (5)

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