Peter Beaumont of The Observer accuses Israel of deliberately obstructing Palestinians from getting medical care outside of Gaza:
Officially, Israel permits hundreds of Palestinians through each month for medical treatment. But beneath that fact, The Observer has established, lies a secretive and increasingly harsh system of judging who is allowed to pass through the main Erez checkpoint by the security officials of Israel’s Shin Bet.
The system, Palestinian medical professionals claim, has already caused the premature deaths of a number of Palestinians. And, amid increasing criticism of Israel for its ‘collective punishment’ of Gazans, this issue has become emblematic of Israel’s harsh attitude . . . .
The allegations are backed by nine affidavits from patients in Gaza, collected by the joint Palestinian-Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR), who say they were pressured into becoming collaborators in exchange for treatment.
But then Beaumont quotes Dr. Bassam al-Badri:
Badri represents the only hope for treatment in Israel, Jordan or Egypt. His job is to process medical referrals for the Palestinian health ministry. ‘We do 700 to 800 referrals every month. But not all of them can go across. In December, we had 669 patients accepted by the authorities inside Gaza for transfer. Of those, 156 were refused by Israel. Another 132 are under evaluation.
So according to Dr. al-Badri, 56 percent of the Palestinian patients were approved off the bat and another 19 percent are under evaluation. Only people associated with Physicians for Human Rights – Israel would view such figures as conspiratorial.