9-year-old girl dies after travel for treatment obstructed

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is very saddened to learn of the death of a 9-year-old Palestinian girl with special needs whose access to urgent medical treatment was obstructed by occupying forces. 

On 29 December, Dalal Lawlah, a 9-year-old girl from Awarta, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, fell sick and required urgent medical intervention. As reported by local media and the UN Coordination Office for Humanitarian Affairs, Dalal’s parents tried to pass through Awarta checkpoint with her in order to reach Rafidiya Hospita in Nablus, but they were denied permission to cross. Following a detour to Huwwara checkpoint, the family suffered another delay, but were eventually given permission to pass through. However, Dalal was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The normal travel time between Dalal’s house and the hospital is 15 minutes. However, because of the restrictions she and her parents faced, it took 90 minutes for her parents to get her there. Her father also stated that Israeli soldiers had fired tear gas at the ambulance.

The accessibility of healthcare is a fundamental element of the right to health. If patients are unable to physically get to centres of care, other aspects, such as the quality and availability of treatment, are rendered meaningless. Yet, as MAP’s briefing paper on access to healthcare illustrates, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza face numerous physical and bureaucratic barriers to accessing effective treatment and care, including limitations placed on freedom of movement, as manifested by the Israeli checkpoint and permit system.

International law stipulates that, as the Occupying Power, Israel has a duty to ensure adequate access to medical treatment for the population under its control. It is vital that the UK and other states put pressure on the Government of Israel to remove the barriers to Palestinians’ freedom of movement which impede their access to care.

Please help us call on the UK to raise Palestinians’ right to health at Israel’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council on 23 January.

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To read more about restrictions on access to health care, read Chapter 1 of our Health Under Occupation report, here.