In a decision on a petition submitted by 4 human rights organizations: The Israeli High Court gives the State of Israel 48 hours to provide a solution to allow patients stuck on the Rafah border to return home
The Israeli High Court decided in a session held 10 July 2006 to give the State of Israel a deadline of 48 hours to come up with a mechanism to allow patients, in the least, who are stuck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah International Crossing Point, to return to their homes in the Gaza Strip.
The Court decision came in reply to a petition filed by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Mezan Centre for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on 7 July 2006. The petition was filed after Israel refused to allow nearly 400 Palestinians, including 70 patients, in the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing to return to their homes in the Strip since the closure imposed on 25 June 2006.
Palestinian travelers stuck on the Rafah border are suffering from harsh conditions that threaten their lives due to deteriorating living and health conditions. This is especially true for patients, whose life is threatened due to the lack of medication and sufficient medical care. Up till now, the closure of the border has prevented 3 families from returning bodies of dead kin to the Gaza Strip. Fahmi Abdel Rahman Dawoud (70) died in the Naser Institute in Egypt on 1 July 2006. And on 9 July 2006, the child Mohammad Tayab Abdel Rahman Shurrab (16) and the young woman Mona Ismail died. Their families could not receive their bodies for burial due to the closure.
The Israeli High Court reviewed the petition submitted by the four organizations on the day it was submitted. A court date was set for yesterday to come to a decision regarding the petition. The Court claimed that the issue was not urgent; thus the hiatus between the date of submission and decision date.
It is noted that the Israeli government submitted an initial reply claiming that it will allow patients to return home through the Kerem Shalom crossing. However, investigations refuted this claim.