Palestinian Health Minister in Gaza: Lift siege or patients may die


Tuesday September 24, 2013 08:33 by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News

After the new Egyptian government decided to close the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian population of Gaza has faced a worsening health crisis due to lack of medicine and equipment.

Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza City (image by the Episcopal Digital Network)
Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza City (image by the Episcopal Digital Network)

The Palestinian Minister of Health in Gaza reported on Monday that hospitals throughout the Gaza Strip are running dangerously low on lifesaving medications and equipment. “Of the medicines on the essential drugs list,” said Dr Mofeed Mokhalalati, “145 items have completely run out.”

Dr Mokhalalati urged the international community to put pressure on both Israel and Egypt to lift the siege that has put a stranglehold on the economy of Gaza since 2007. In addition, he called on the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Organisation for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Health Organisation to intervene.

After the 2011 revolution in Egypt, there was some easing of the siege from the Egyptian side, but the new Egyptian government that took over when Mohammed Morsi stepped down several months ago reinstated the closure of the Rafah border crossing, which had become the only means of entrance or egress for the vast majority of Gaza residents.

The borders with Israel remain closed, with only a trickle of commercial goods allowed through the Karam Salam crossing in the eastern Gaza Strip. Exporting of Gazan goods is a virtual impossibility, and the economy of Gaza has suffered a disastrous decline as a result.

The statement by Dr. Dr Mofeed Mokhalalati, the Gazan Health Minister, also noted that there are around 1,300 patients who are in Gaza awaiting treatment in Egypt. They have been unable to exit since the Rafah crossing was closed.

Since Israel destroyed one of Gaza’s only two power plants in 2007, and the Israeli government has since that time prevented the import of materials to construct a new one, rationing of electricity has become a daily routine of life for the residents of the Gaza Strip – indeed, for six year old children, it is the only life they have ever known.

Close to one half of the Gaza Strip’s 1.5 million residents are children under the age of eighteen.

Related to Health Deprivation of Gaza

  • Israel KILLS by depriving Dialysis in Gaza – almost 500 Patients Lives Are continuously in Danger – Topic
  • MOH calls on Egypt to save 1000 patients – Al Ray
  • Israel’s deliberate policies of medical deprivation Meet Baby Firas – A video
  • Deliberate death by deprivation: The Slow Death of 7 month old baby Adham – Source
  • UN’s”Long and Healthy Lives” – Program for Gaza Children and Babies in Danger as Vaccines are Depleted ~ by occpal
  • The shocking facts about Israel’s deprivation policies and excess death – Dr Gideon Polya

Law Resources

“Article 55

To the fullest extent of the means available to it the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.

The Occupying Power may not requisition foodstuffs, articles or medical supplies available in the occupied territory, except for use by the occupation forces and administration personnel, and then only if the requirements of the civilian population have been taken into account. Subject to the provisions of other international Conventions, the Occupying Power shall make arrangements to ensure that fair value is paid for any requisitioned goods.

The Protecting Power shall, at any time, be at liberty to verify the state of the food and medical supplies in occupied territories, except where temporary restrictions are made necessary by imperative military requirements.

Article 56

To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics. Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties.

If new hospitals are set up in occupied territory and if the competent organs of the occupied State are not operating there, the occupying authorities shall, if necessary, grant them the recognition provided for in Article 18. In similar circumstances, the occupying authorities shall also grant recognition to hospital personnel and transport vehicles under the provisions of Articles 20 and 21.

In adopting measures of health and hygiene and in their implementation, the Occupying Power shall take into consideration the moral and ethical susceptibilities of the population of the occupied territory. “ [1].

[1]. Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War


Click to go to the report and link to full PDF for download

Click to go to the report and link to full PDF for download

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