Gaza siege devastates health care – video interview with @lydiadeleeuw

Related: Deprivation of Basic Needs Cost Lives!
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PressTV – Sun Jan 1, 2012 7:18PM GMT
Interview with Lydia de Leeuw, from the PCHR
Many Palestinians have died while waiting for medical treatment, amongst them 17 children and 30 women.

According to Gaza Health Ministry, 2011 was the bloodiest year since the end of Israel’s war on Gaza and Palestinians continue to suffer from a huge shortage of some types of medicines.

Israel has been imposing a land and sea blockade on the tiny coastal strip since 2007. It controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters and restricts the movement of people or goods in or out of Gaza.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Lydia de Leeuw, from the PCHR, to share her opinion on this issue.

Following is a transcript of the interview:

Press TV: Lydia, thank you so much for joining us this day. Right now you are in Gaza city, what are the burning concerns?

De Leeuw: Well, unfortunately as usual there are too many, but as always it is again the illegal closure both in the Gaza strip that maintains to have a severe impact on the health care system and the health of people.

Again we would like to stress as PCHR[the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights] that this closure has resulted not only in the health care system to be crippled, but also the transfer of patients outside as a result of the crippled system is still a great violation of human rights to health.

For example 20 percent according to WHO [the World Health Organization] statistics of 2010, WHO which Israel is actually a member, in 2010 twenty percent of the travel permits submitted to Israel for patients needing to travel outside for medical treatment there were delayed.

And 50 percent of the delays were for men aged between 18 and 40 so there is a clear sign that the men are actually held back in their medical treatment more than anyone else.

And unfortunately PCHR, since June 2007, has recorded ten deaths of patients who were waiting to get their transfer- their permit approved by the Israeli authorities and they have died while waiting for the medical treatment and amongst them were 17 children and 30 woman.

So that is the access to health care that is violated. The other problem is that the health care system in the Gaza Strip is highly affected as well.

You can see that the medical shortages, medicines and medical supplies like has been raised by many NGO’s including MAP [Medical Aid for Palestinians] and PCHR in recent months is one third of the medical- the essential medicines and approximately one fifth of the essential medical supplies are zero stock level in the Gaza Strip.

Most recently, dialysis filters for kidney patients that were completely depleted so that meant that all dialysis sessions of patients across the Gaza Strip were stopped.

And after severe pressure from international organizations and local administrations like PCHR, there has been a limited supply but still the problem is not resolved.

And that is not only due to the closure and the lack of Israeli authorities to live up to the standards, but also the political difficulties and disagreement between the ruling parties in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have resulted in the lack of coordination and supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Press TV: So it is all about a lottery. It depends on the time the individual gets sick, this could determine whether you live or die?

De Leeuw: Yeah, if you apply at the wrong time, it is like when entering or exiting the Gaza Strip you do not know what you will find at the border.

The patients who- even if you do get the travel permit, let’s say you are sick, you have a chronic disease or you suffer from cancer, your treatments like the treatment for cancer is not available in the Gaza Strip so there is no option but you traveling out of the Gaza Strip.

And if you do, there is a chance that you arrive at the border and you will be subjected to interrogation or even in the process of applying for your travel permit, there is a chance that you have to agree to undergo interrogation with the Israeli intelligence services before even being considered to travel outside.

So patients are even forced to choose between cooperating or collaborating if you would like to call it that, with occupation authorities before even being considered to see a doctor outside the besieged, the closed Gaza Strip.

Press TV: And very quickly Lydia, what are you calling on the international community for? What can we do?

De Leeuw: Well, actually it is a call that has been repeated many times by PCHR, by all the human rights organizations and international activists is that all those resolutions that have been passed through the recent years and all the treaties that have been signed with very clear cuts and very nice words to finally be upheld and implemented.

Like the 10th of December we celebrated again, we tried to celebrate the anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights.

And all we can ask for is to actually do honor to the world, to universal and to take action to make sure that Israel first of all ends the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, ends occupation of the territories and make sure that all parties involved do whatever they can to ensure basic human rights including the right to healthcare for Palestinian people.

Press TV: Well said, thank you so much Lydia de Leeuw.
Follow Lydia at twitter


Source and more at PressTV

Articles 55 and 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly establish that Israel, as the occupying power, not only has a duty to ensure medical supplies reach hospitals in the OPT, but to ensure and maintain the services of the hospitals too. As High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, other states not only have a moral duty but also a legal obligation to ensure Israel abides by its commitments to the protected population of the OPT.

As a States Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Israel is obliged under Article 24 of the treaty to recognise the right of every child under its effective jurisdiction “to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services”.

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