PA reportedly prevents medical treatment for Gaza patients

Gaza residents say the PA prevents patients in the Strip from receiving urgent medical treatment in Israel or Jordan.

Arabs in Gaza told the Israeli daily paper Haaretz that the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah has been blocking patients from leaving the Strip to receive crucial medical services in Israel and Jordan as the result of an ongoing power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.

The domestic power struggle recently escalated over extensive cutbacks of electricity to the Strip due to the refusal of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to pay Gaza’s electricity bills.

The PA in Ramallah denies any changes in its policy. However, it has been delaying the administration and payment of urgent medical treatments outside of Gaza, according to Gaza residents who spoke to Haaretz. The testimonies are supported by data from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which suggests that the PA Health Ministry has terminated the administration of this kind of treatment for patients in Gaza.

The data shows that the Abbas-led PA has effectively delayed the payment vouchers for more than 1600 Gazan patients, including those suffering with heart disease and cancer as well as children in need of medical treatment unavailable in the Strip. More than 90 percent of Gazans who requested medical vouchers during recent months are still waiting, the reports indicate. The PA’s Health Ministry approves around 10 patient cases out of the approximately 120 daily requests.

In contrast, in 2016 the PA issued 2041 payments on average every month for Gazan patients in need of medical treatment outside of the Hamas-controlled Strip.

Concerned families in Gaza are worried that the widely reported electricity crisis will overshadow the medical issue.

Aisha Majdalawi, a 14-year-old from Jabaliya in Gaza, has been receiving treatment for the past 10 years at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv for her vascular disease, which influences the blood flow to her spleen and liver. In the past, the PA has been financing the treatments. However, the girl missed her June 21st treatment because of the PA Health Ministry’s refusal to issue her a payment voucher. Aisha is currently waiting for the voucher and has been rescheduled for treatment on July 31.

“My daughter’s condition is deteriorating to a life-threatening state,” said Aisha’s father. “I go every day to the Health Ministry in Gaza in an effort to get the referral; I’ve tried pulling strings in Ramallah, and I don’t know what else to do to get my daughter to her treatment in Israel.”

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News