Israeli Forces Continue the Policy of Arresting Gazan Patients at the Beit Hanoun Crossing (Erez)


Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Releases, 07 January 2014

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns arresting a patient from the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing while he was heading to receive medical treatment at “Sergie Care” Hospital in the West Bank.  PCHR calls upon the international community to stop the policy of arresting patients and their companions while heading for medical treatment at Palestinian and Israeli hospitals due to the lack of necessary treatment at the Gaza Strip hospitals.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 09:00 on Monday, 06 January 2014, Israeli forces stationed at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing arrested Yousif Khalaf Ibrahim Abu al-Jedyan (28) from al-Bussah area in Deir al-Balah, when he was on his way to the “Sergie Care” Hospital in Ramallah in the West Bank to undergo a surgery in the cornea of ​​his left eye due to the laceration of the iris.  Abu al-Jedyan had gone for treatment in Egypt after the Israeli authorities refused giving him a passing permit to receive medical treatment at Saint John Hospital in Occupied Jerusalem in March 2013.  However, the patient’s health condition did not improve despite going to Egypt for treatment.

Salwa Mohammed ‘Abdullah Abu al-Jedyan (67), the patient’s mother, from al-Bussah area in Deir al-Balah, said to a PCHR fieldworker that:

“At approximately 07:00 on Monday, 06 January 2014, my son and I arrived at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing.  At approximately 09:00 and after the Palestinian Liaison officer at the crossing had completed the necessary procedures to allow us to enter the crossing, where we stepped into a body-scanning device and our luggage were searched.  We then went to get our ID cards and passing permits, but a female soldier asked us to wait in the waiting room.  Around 10 minutes later, two persons dressed in civilian clothes asked my son Yousif for the cell phone, so he gave them the two cell phones he had as well as mine.  One of them asked my son to read the number on his cell phone, but Yousif answered that he cannot see.  I then told him that my son is going to transplant a cornea in his eye.  He asked me to wait in my place and ordered Yousif to come with him to a nearby room, which is 4 meters away from me.  I waited for an hour till approximately 11:00 when an armed soldier dressed in blue police uniform called my name and told me that there is no passing permit for me.  He ordered me to take my luggage to go back to Gaza.  I went to the Palestinian side of the crossing, where I waited till 17:00.  I went back home and my son Hazim (35) told me that someone who introduced him as a member of the Israeli intelligence service informed us that Yousif was under arrest and was transferred to Ashkelon prison.”

It should be noted that Israeli authorities have tightened the closure on the Gaza Strip denying civilians the freedom of movement and travel from and to the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Erez crossing is considered the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip population to the West Bank, including Jerusalem, especially patients who find no treatment in the Gaza Strip hospitals. Israeli forces make use of Erez crossing to blackmail or arrest patients or their companions. PCHR documented the detention of 8 patients since the beginning of 2013.  The continuation of the Israeli forces’ policy of arresting patients is a clear violation of the international humanitarian law. It also constitutes a form of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, especially as this policy is practiced under the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, which increases the suffering of patients whose treatment is not available in the Gaza Strip.

In light of the above, PCHR:

– Strongly condemns arresting Palestinian patients by Israeli forces while heading for medical treatment and demands the immediate release of all patients and guarantee their lives will not be at risk;

– Stresses the seriousness of targeting and blackmailing patients and making advantage of their need to receive medical treatment at hospitals in Israel or the West Bank;

– Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to fulfill their obligations and responsibilities by taking immediate action to put an end to violations of the international humanitarian law perpetrated by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians; and

– Demands guaranteeing the freedom of movement and travel of the Palestinian civilians from and to the West Bank, including Jerusalem.