Only pressure will lift Gaza medical siege

A delegation of four Israeli members of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel), including three doctors and PHR-Israel’s Clinic Manager, entered Gaza this morning.

At the same time, an emergency dispatch of medical supplies at a value of approximately US $40,000 was delivered by PHR-Israel into Gaza, for the purpose of distribution to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City and the European Hospital in Khan Younis, both of which are suffering from severe shortages.

The objectives of the convoy are provision of limited medical aid, collection of information regarding the health impacts of the isolation of Gaza by Israel and international policy-makers, and expression of solidarity with Palestinian civilians and medical professionals under siege.

The timing of the convoy was planned to coincide with the visit of US President George W. Bush to the region, in order to convey the message to decision-makers, that no peace process can be successful if Gaza is not included, and if the rights of its residents are not safeguarded.

The broader context of the convoy is Israeli policy at Erez Crossing, which has increasingly denied access to care of hundreds of patients in need of treatment unavailable in the Gaza Strip, thus jeopardizing their lives and health.

The most recent stage of this policy was a ruling yesterday by three Israeli high court judges following which eight out of fifteen urgent life-threatening cases represented by a PHR-Israel petition have been denied access to life-saving care outside Gaza without any hope of redress. Despite a previous high court ruling that stipulated that patients with security prohibitions should be ensured alternative routes of access to care, the court refused to compel the state to ensure passage to the patients.

The only possibility for the patients now is international pressure and media coverage.

What you can do:

  • Write to other Israeli policy makers. This is the fax number of the head of the Israeli secret service, General Security Service (Shabak), Mr. Yuval Diskin: 00 972 3 6428175. This is the email of the Public Affairs Department of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office:
  • Write to the Israeli embassy in your country.
  • Forward this message to individuals and organizations worldwide, protesting the isolation of Gaza and the denial of access to medical care and other basic rights.
  • Write to your local medical association and ask them to bring the subject to discussion at the World Medical Association.
  • For a full list of the patients and their conditions please contact Miri Weingarten at or 00973546995199, or Libby Lenkinski Friedlander at

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