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Al Mezan holds Israel responsible for death of 62-year-old leukemia patient in Gaza denied three medical appointments at Jerusalem hospital


The discriminatory movement restrictions and the arbitrary permit system imposed by Israeli authorities on Palestinian patients from Gaza, which obstruct their access to hospitals outside the Strip, have claimed another Palestinian life. The most recent case of delay led to the death of Akram Ahmed Al-Sultan, a 62-year-old cancer patient residing in North Gaza District, on 17 October 2022, after being denied access to Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem.


The patient suffered from Leukemia. Despite having obtained a medical referral from the Palestinian Ministry of Health and secured appointments at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, Israeli authorities denied him the requisite exit permit to travel for three different appointments, the last of which was scheduled for 25 September 2022. On Thursday morning, 6 October 2022, Al-Sultan received a text from Israeli intelligence asking him for an interview at the Erez crossing. On the same day, he went to Erez and waited three hours in the waiting room. He was then asked to return home without having the interview. On 17 October 2022, medical sources at the Indonesian Hospital in North Gaza District announced his death after his health condition deteriorated.


Al Mezan’s documentation shows that since the beginning of 2022, six patients—including three children—have died following Israel’s delay or denial of requests for exit permits. Since the beginning of 2022, Al Mezan has intervened as the legal representative of 674 Palestinian patients in Gaza waiting for Israeli authorities to issue them the requisite permit, but only 238 cases were successful.


Al Mezan deeply regrets the death of Al-Sultan and strongly condemns Israel’s continuous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and its obligations as an occupying power, including respecting and ensuring freedom of movement in occupied territory and guaranteeing the right to health of the occupied population. Notably, Israel’s unwarranted and illegal practices against Palestinian patients and its policy of collective punishment are part of Israel’s apartheid regime against the Palestinian people as a whole.  


Al Mezan calls on the international community—in particular, the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions—to uphold their moral and legal obligations vis-à-vis the protected Palestinian people and to ensure Israel complies with its obligations under international law, ends the closure and blockade on the Gaza Strip, and stops its ongoing restrictions of Palestinian patients’ access to medical care outside the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan emphasizes that the continued impunity granted to Israel and the absence of accountability encourage the recurrence of crimes and violations against the Palestinian people.

Tags / #crossings #treatment abroad #IHL #siege #health