Sick Gazans die due to Israel restrictions: WHO

Sick Palestinians from Gaza seeking treatment have died each month unnecessarily as Israel denied entry permits, a U.N. agency said on Tuesday.

Sick Gazans die due to Israel restrictions: WHO

Israel has turned away more sick Palestinians from Gaza seeking treatment since Hamas seized control of the enclave and several have died each month unnecessarily, a U.N. agency said on Tuesday.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Israel denied entry permits to 18.5 percent of patients seeking to leave the Gaza Strip in 2007 versus 10 percent in 2006.

In December 2007, 36 percent were denied permits compared with 8.5 percent in December 2006.

The WHO said the number of applicants and the percentage of those turned away surged after Hamas Islamists seized control of Gaza in June, the crossing to Egypt was closed and Israel tightened restrictions on the enclave.

Shortages of medicine, equipment and trained medics, which local officials blame on Israeli restrictions, mean advanced health care is virtually non-existent in the Gaza Strip.

The WHO said 32 Gazans died between Oct. 1 and March 2 whilst waiting for travel permits.

"All these tragedies could have been easily avoided," WHO's head of office for the West Bank and Gaza, Ambrogio Manenti, told a news conference. Palestinian medical officials in Gaza say more than 100 Gaza patients have died since June after being denied permits.

Israel pulled troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005 but effectively still controls its borders.

Israel must observe Geneva Convention obligations as an occupying power to provide services for the territory.


Last Mod: 02 Nisan 2008, 09:12
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