According to the monitoring and documentation of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights,from the beginning of 2013 until now, Israeli occupying forces have arrested 15 Palestinians at Erez crossing; 8 of the 15 arrested were patients or patient escorts.
In the evening hours of Thursday, 14 November 2013, Israeli forces arrested Abdullah Ahmed Abu ‘Azra, 24, at Erez crossing, having arrived for his interview with the Israeli Intelligence Agency (ISA).
Abu ‘Azra applied for permission to travel via Erez crossing to receive medical treatment at Augusta Victoria Hospitalin Jerusalem as he suffers health complications in his ears.
In his affidavit to Al Mezan, Abu ‘Azra’s father stated that at approximately 7:00 pm on the day of his son’s arrest, he phoned the Palestinian liaison office asking about his son who had not yet returned.
The employee there informed the father that his son was being detained by Israeli authorities.
Abu ‘Azra’s case was referred to one of Al Mezan’s lawyers.
The Israeli authorities informed the lawyer that Abu ‘Azra’s detention would extend to 20 November 2013.
Abu ‘Azra is being detained at Ashkelon prison and has not been allowed to see his lawyer.
It’s worth noting that after the continuous closure of the crossing in Rafah, Erez crossing has become the only outlet for Palestinian patients of Gaza who are unable to receive necessary treatment.
Israel’s policy that requires patients to apply for movement permits -- normally a lengthy, bureaucratic process subject to severe and at times fatal delays – often includes a security interview before clearance is obtained and a permit is issued.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns Israel’s policy of targeting Palestinian patients of Gaza in need of medical treatment at hospitals in Israel and the West Bank.
This policy effectively manipulates the need for treatment and turns the crossing into a trap whereby Palestinian patients and patient escorts are arrested and urged to become collaborators for the Israeli intelligence services.
Al Mezan points out that these policies are in contravention of international humanitarian law, citing in particular paragraph (2) article (38) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which emphasizes the right to “receive medical attention and hospital treatment to the same extent as the nationals of the State concerned”.
Israel’s policies also violate articles (22), (25), and (12) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Economic Rights.
Al Mezan calls on state parties to intervene and exert pressure on Israel to end its practices at Erez crossing, to respect its obligations toward the Palestinian patients and patient escorts, and to hold Israel accountable for its violations.