Israel issues approvals for only 81% of Gaza's patient travel applications and 75% in West Bank in July: WHO
The Israeli occupation authorities approved 81 per cent of the medical applications for patients living in the besieged coastal enclave to leave their war-torn territory to receive treatment in the hospitals in the West Bank, Jerusalem, or even Israel in July, according to an international health organization.
"Out of 1,851 permit applications for Gazan patients, only 1,492 people were approved by Israeli to get permission to pass the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing for treatment in West Bank, East Jerusalem, or Israeli hospitals," the World Health Organization's monthly health access report on barriers for patients in the occupied Palestinian territory (WHO) said in its monthly report issued on Wednesday.
Of the Gaza Strip applications, more than a quarter (27%) were for children under 18, and a fifth (19%) were for patients over 60. Under half (46%) were for female patients, while 84% were for referrals funded by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
According to the report, ten male and two female patient permit applications, 1% of the total for Gaza patients, were denied in July. Five of these 12 patient applications were for adults aged 18 to 40, three for adults aged 41-60, and four for patients over 60.
The denied patients were six patients who had appointments for oncology, two for internal medicine, and one each for neurology, general surgery, heart surgery, and ophthalmology. As WHO said, nine were destined for hospital appointments in the West Bank outside East Jerusalem and three to East Jerusalem.
Moreover, 230 male and 117 female patients with Gaza permit applications, or 19% of the total, were denied access to care, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment.
Five applications were delayed based on the Israeli army's Coordinator of Government Activities assertion that suitable care is available within Gaza. However, no evidence was provided to support this claim, stressed WHO.
In turn, the WHO says, only 75 per cent of the West Bank-based Palestinian patient applications were approved by Israel to receive treatment in hospitals in Jerusalem and Israel in July.
"Out of the 8,678 West Bank patient applications in July for medical treatment in East Jerusalem or Israeli hospitals, 6,477 were approved by the occupation authorities. Seven per cent lower than the average approval rate in 2022," WHO added.
Most Palestinian patients from the occupied West Bank outside of East Jerusalem must obtain permits to reach hospitals in East Jerusalem or Israel. Most women older than 50 and men older than 55 are exempted from the requirement, though a proportion of these are also restricted on purported security grounds.
There were 8,678 permit applications by patients from the West Bank outside east Jerusalem in July. Of patient permit applications, 4,477 (52%) were for female patients, 1,921 (22%) were for children under the age of 18 years, and 731 (8%) were for patients over 60 years, according to the WHO monthly report.
The report added that two-thirds (67%) were for appointments at hospitals in east Jerusalem, while a third (33%) were for Israeli hospitals or clinics.
The approval rate for the West Bank has been declining gradually since the beginning of the year and currently remains lower than the approval rate for the Gaza Strip, said the report.
Since 1948, Israel occupied the Palestinian Territories, controlling all Palestinian borders, including those under the Palestinian Authority's access based on the international community-sponsored peaceful agreements with Israel.
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza accused Israel of committing humanitarian crimes against them by violating all international laws that require the occupation states to protect civilians, women, children, and patients from any punishment measures.