Israel’s bullets leave wounds that won’t heal

Due to the still-spreading bacterial infection in what remains of Muhammad Hussein’s leg, he has been unable to be fitted with a prosthesis.

Abdallah al-Naami The Electronic Intifada

Over five years have passed since an Israeli sniper shot Muhammad Hussein in the knee.

On 11 May 2018, Hussein was participating in the Great March of Return in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Thousands of Palestinians had been gathering every Friday at the boundary with Israel since March 2018. The protesters sought to claim their right to return to their land, which was taken by force by the Israeli occupation in the 1948 Nakba.

Hussein was filming the march as part of a university project.

Then, an Israeli sniper shot a young man in front of Hussein.

Hussein was in shock. A few seconds later, he was also shot.

He fell to the ground, in pain. The wound started bleeding profusely, and Hussein passed out as the paramedics were treating him. He was taken directly to the emergency room at the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis, where he underwent an eight-hour operation.

After the surgery, Hussein was optimistic but still in pain.

“I thought I had recovered from the injury and that I would be able to walk again soon,” Hussein said.

After two weeks in the hospital, the doctors decided to amputate Hussein’s leg from above the knee, as they discovered inflammation and gangrene in the area of the injury.

Initially, Hussein and his family were so shocked that they refused the operation.

But it was the only option.

The day after the amputation was Hussein’s 20th birthday.

“I can’t forget how I felt that day. I was supposed to be spending a happy day with my friends and family,” he said. “Instead, the Israeli occupation turned it into a day of pain and grief.”

Never-ending infections

The UN monitoring group OCHA estimates that over 35,000 were injured during the protests, from March 2018 to November 2019. Among those injured, nearly 8,000 were shot with live ammunition.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) described those gunshot injuries as “devastating” and “of an unusual severity,” noting that doctors were observing “an extreme level of destruction to bones and soft tissue, and large exit wounds that can be the size of a fist.”

About two weeks after the amputation, Hussein started to experience severe pain in the area of his injury. At the hospital, the doctors discovered a bacterial infection and performed an emergency operation to control it.

Dr. Fadel Naim, a consultant orthopedist in Gaza City, said that Gaza lacks the equipment needed to diagnose bacterial infections, due to the Israeli blockade.

Such laboratory equipment can detect and determine types of bacteria so doctors can prescribe the necessary antibiotic. Without the equipment, infections only worsen.

Over a thousand Palestinians in Gaza experienced bacterial infections in their gunshot wounds, according to MSF, and many of these infections are resistant to common antibiotics.

According to Naim, many infections did not respond to any of the antibiotics available in the Gaza Strip, and they had to resort to amputation as a last resort to stop the spread of infections.

But, in many cases, even amputation was not enough.

Wounds that won’t heal

Over five years, Hussein has undergone three amputations, but they have all failed to stop the infection. Today, only a few centimeters of his leg remain, and the infection continues to spread.

“The doctors told me that if the infection spreads to the pelvic joint, it could be life-threatening,” Hussein said.

In 2019, he applied for a permit to travel for treatment in hospitals in both Jerusalem and the West Bank, but the Israeli authorities refused his request.

“After every surgery I had, I had hope that my wound would heal and my suffering with the injury would finally end,” he said. “I was disappointed and devastated every time.”

Khamis Fojo has undergone 18 surgeries and eight amputations after an Israeli sniper shot him above the knee in July 2018.

Abdallah al-Naami The Electronic Intifada

Khamis Fojo, 33, has experienced a similar sense of devastation and disappointment since an Israeli sniper shot him on 27 July 2018 during the Great March of Return.

He was over a kilometer from the boundary fence when he was shot above the knee. The bullet caused severe internal bleeding, and Fojo was in a coma for two weeks at the European Gaza Hospital.

“The last thing I remember before I passed out is the sound of a bullet,” he said. “It sounded like an explosion.”

“I thought I was going to die.”

Due to the severity of his injury, doctors amputated Fojo’s leg.

Six months after the amputation, he developed a fever and felt intense pain in his leg. A bacterial infection had developed.

Antibiotics were not enough to stop the infection, and surgery was the only option. Over the past five years, Fojo has undergone 18 surgeries, including eight amputations.

“Despite all the surgeries, my injury kept getting worse and more painful,” said Fojo, who lives in Rafah with his wife and four children.

“I still live in pain every day, especially at night,” he continued.

Fojo recently stopped taking painkillers, as they are no longer effective.

The Israeli authorities refused to grant Fojo a permit to travel for treatment in the West Bank or Jerusalem. He was rejected more than 10 times for a permit to enter Egypt until finally, in 2022 and 2023, he was allowed to travel there.

“The Egyptian doctors were shocked to see how bad my injury was,” he said. “They told me that they had never seen a case like mine before, and that the weapons that caused my injury should be internationally banned.”

Mental toll

Before the injury, Fojo was an active person, but now, he experiences anxiety and is quick to anger. He rarely leaves the house.

Muhammad Hussein has endured similar bouts of depression. “It was difficult for me to accept and cope with my disability and my constantly deteriorating injury,” he said.

Yet he obtained a degree in multimedia studies from Palestine Technical College in Deir al-Balah in 2021. And, eventually, he returned to weightlifting and physical training, but these are not activities that he can do with regularity.

As his infection spreads throughout the remainder of his leg, he has to take breaks for surgeries and to rest.

In 2021, Hussein undertook the necessary steps to get fitted for a prosthetic leg from Hamad Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics in Gaza. But the nerves in the injured leg still cause it to involuntarily twitch, especially during the night, which is frightening to Hussein.

Due to the bacteria spreading to the bone and the constant pain, a prosthesis was not possible.

Abdallah al-Naami is a journalist and photographer living in Gaza.

Palestinian Health Ministry Condemns Israeli Prevention of Palestinian Patients from Receiving Medical Treatment

M.S | DOP –

The Palestinian Health Ministry condemned on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, the Israeli occupation closure of the Beit Hanon (Erez) crossing for the second day in a row, preventing Palestinian patients from leaving the city to receive medical.

“The Israeli occupation continues to close the Beit Hanon crossing for the second day in a row, preventing 292 Palestinian patients, most of whom are oncology patients, and their companions from leaving for treatment in hospitals in Occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the 1948-occupied Palestinian territories,” said the ministry.

It indicated that the Israeli occupation banning Palestinian patients from reaching specialized hospitals is a clear violation of International humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Israeli occupation is not satisfied with preventing the entry of medical diagnostic devices and some needed medicine to Gaza for more than 18 months but is still completing its crimes against Gaza’s Palestinian patients for the third day, it added.

The Palestinian Health Ministry called on the international community to interfere and pressure the Israeli occupation to allow Palestinian patients to leave Gaza for medical treatment to save their lives.


the undersigned, international health professionals concerned in the protection of Palestinian health rights and in the respect of human rights and the application of international laws, ask your Excellency to act immediately for relieving the plight of Gaza again sealed and without medical supplies, or permit for patients to exit for care, by requesting free and immediate passage of medical supplies, instruments and international health and healthrelated professionals into Gaza and to secure exit/return permits for patients.
We know that EU representatives in Palestine and yourself are aware of the scarcity in medical supplies and personnel, which mark the worst stage of 17 years of blockade of Gaza.
We therefore assume you can see the implications for the whole population of another military attack, where the capability to care for eventual trauma patients is simply not available, as it is no more that of maintaining routine care.
We ask you to request strongly to Israel and Egypt to keep open in all conditions the passages and grant unrestricted access, as above, for humanitarian purposes.
In doing so, you and the EU would be honoring your own statements of concern for the Palestinian population and would exercise the institutional duties of EU as signatory of the Geneva conventions.
We expect you will be so kind to give course to this request rapidly.
Best regards

All’Alto Rappresentante dell’Unione Europea per gli Affari Esteri e la Politica di Sicurezza,Josep Borrell

i sottoscritti, operatori sanitari internazionali interessati alla protezione del diritto alla salutedei palestinesi e al rispetto dei diritti umani e all’applicazione delle leggi internazionali,chiedono alla Vostra Eccellenzadi agire immediatamente per alleviare la difficile situazione di Gaza nuovamente sigillata esenza forniture mediche, per consentire ai pazienti di uscire per cure, per permettere ilpassaggio immediato di forniture mediche, strumenti e forniture sanitarie, ed il passaggio di
operatori sanitari internazionali a Gaza e per garantire i permessi di uscita/ritorno per ipazienti.Sappiamo che i rappresentanti dell’UE in Palestina, e Lei stesso, siete consapevoli dellascarsità di forniture mediche e personale, che segna la fase peggiore di 17 anni di blocco diGaza.Assumiamo quindi che Lei possa comprendere le implicazioni per l’intera popolazione di unaltro attacco militare, quando la capacità di prendersi cura di eventuali feriti semplicementenon è disponibile, così come non lo è più quella di mantenere le cure di routine.

Le chiediamo di esercitare forte pressione su Israele ed l’Egitto perchè mantengano aperti, intutte le condizioni, i passaggi e l’accesso senza restrizioni, come descritto sopra, di materialie persone, per scopi umanitari.In tal modo, Lei e l’UE onorereste le vostre stesse dichiarazioni di preoccupazione per lapopolazione palestinese ed esercitereste i doveri istituzionali dell’UE in quanto firmatariodelle convenzioni di Ginevra.

Ci aspettiamo che sarai così gentile da dare corso a questa richiesta rapidamente.
Distinti saluti

1. Alan Meyers, MD,MPH, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School
of Medicine, Boston MA USA
2. Alice Rothchild MD, USA
3. Amy Alpert CCC-SLP, USA
4. Andrea Balduzzi, Dr. Biologist, retired University of Genoa, Italy
5. Angelo Stefanini, Dr., PCRF and University of Bologna (
6. Baroness Jenny Tonge, Dr. UK
7. Carla Ciccone, Gynecologist, retired, Ospedale Moscato, Avellino, Italy
8. Cathy Wield, Specialist in Emergency Medicine
9. Christophe Oberlin, Professor of Medicine, France
10. Colin Green, PhD (Med); DSc(Med); FRCVS; FRC Path; FRCS (England) Professor
of Surgery, University College London (UCL),, Founder, Director of Overseas
Development, IMET2000
11. David Ward, MB, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Consultant Psychiatrist, Senior
Lecturer- University of Queensland, Metro South Health
12. Derek Summerfield, King’s College, Univ of London
13. Dianne Lefevre, Consultant psychiatrist, London, UK
14. Jean-Jacques AMY,, Emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Vrije
Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
15. Eric David, Professeur émérite de droit international public, l’Université libre de
Bruxelles, Past President of the Centre for International Law (ULB),, Bruxelles,
16. Eric Windgassen, MRC.Psych, Consultant Psychiatrist (retired), UK
17. Fanny Polet, Viva la Salud, Director, Belgium
18. Franco Camandona, MD, Gynecologist, Ospedale Galliera, Genoa, Italy
19. Gianni Tiognoni, MD, Fondazione Lelio e Lisle Basso, Italy
20. Herman Deley, Ghent University, Belgium
21. Jan Gerris, MD, PhD, Ghent University, Belgium
22. Jane Gilbert M.A (Psychol), M.Sc (Clin Psych), C Psychol, AFBPsS, Consultant
Clinical Psychologist, UK
23. Jon Jureidini PhD, Prof. MBBS FRANZCP, Research Leader, Critical and Ethical
Mental Health (CEMH), The University of Adelaide, Australia
24. Leon Verbruggen, MD, PhD, retired professor of rheumatology, Vrije Universiteit
Brussel, Belgium.
25. Marina Rui, PHD, University of Genoa, Italy
26. Maxine Fookson, RN, MN, Portland, Oregon
27. Nozomi Takahashi. PhD, Inflammation Research Center, VIB-Ghent University,
28. Paola Manduca, Prof. Genetics, retired University of Genoa, Italy
29. Peadar O’Grady, ,MB, MPhil, MRCPsych, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, Dublin,
30. Prem Jeyapaul, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
31. Rachel Rubin, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Officer, Cook County Department of Public
Health, Forest Park, IL 60130, United States
32. Raija-Leena Punamäki Psychologist, Professor emerita, PhD., MEcon.Tampere
University, Finland
33. Ruchama Marton, MD, PHR, Israel
34. Sebastião Viola, MRCPsych,Consultant Psychiatrist, Cardiff, UK
35. Swee Ang, MD, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, UK
36. Tom Gibelthorpe Consultant Psychiatrist, Sheffield, UK
37. Tomasz Pierscionek, Psychiatrist, NHS, UK
38. Vincenzo Stefano Luisi, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Pisa, Italy
39. Vittorio Agnoletto, MD, Università degli Studi, Milano

Ongoing Closure of Gaza Crossings Impairs Health System and Threatens Hundreds of Patients’ Lives

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the ongoing closure of Gaza Crossings for the 2nd day consecutively, following the Israeli military offensive on Tuesday at dawn that has targeted civilian facilities, killed 16 Palestinians, including 4 children and 4 women, and injured 21 others who sustained various wounds. PCHR emphasizes that the continued closure of the crossings threatens the lives of hundreds of patients and weakens the already frail health system due to the Israeli-imposed closure on Gaza Strip for 16 years.


According to PCHR’s follows-up, the closure of Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing has denied hundreds of cancer patients and others with serious diseases, whose treatment is unavailable at Gaza Strip’s hospital, travel to complete their treatment at hospitals in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, or in Israel, seriously endangering their lives. Yesterday, the 1st day of the closure, 142 cancer patients were unable to travel to receive and complete their treatment, including 5 serious and life-saving cases. Today, 136 patients have not been able to travel for treatment, including (3) serious cases. Additionally, the Israeli occupation authorities have refused to return the dead body of (H. N.), from northern Gaza Strip, who was receiving treatment at al-Mutala’ Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem and died today at dawn.



With the ongoing closure of Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing to patients with serious diseases, hundreds of patients face willful killing in light of Gaza health system’s inability to provide health services to these patients due to the lack of specialized medical staff and chronic shortage of medicines and medical supplies, particularly radiotherapy and laboratory materials necessary for conducting diagnostic tests.


Gaza hospitals suffer from acute shortage of drugs and medical supplies as the number of essential drugs at zero-stock reached 255 out of 522 types with a deficit rate of (43%), while the number of medical supplies at zero-stock reached 165 out of 853 essential types with a deficit rate of (19%). Moreover, for 18 months, the Israeli occupation authorities have banned the entry of a number of medical devices that are used in diagnosing and treating cancer patients, such as interventional radiology and ultrasound devices, in addition to some spare parts needed for the maintenance of inoperative devices.


Moreover, continuously closing “Kerem Shalom” Crossing, Gaza’s only commercial crossing, and banning the entry of medical supplies have inflicted serious repercussions on the lives of thousands of Gaza Strip patients and impeded the work of the medical personnel at the emergency departments, operating rooms, and intensive care units to provide health care for the wounded.


The ongoing closure of the crossings and ban on the entry of the necessary fuel supplies would force the Gaza’s only power plant to shut down, so civilians would face long hours of blackouts at houses and vital facilities, such as hospitals and infrastructure service facilities. It is also feared that catastrophic scenarios similar to those in the previous offensives would recur, such as cutting water supplies to citizens for long periods, and shutdown of desalination plants and wastewater treatment plant, that may lead to a serious health hazard due to sewage floods. And if exacerbated, this will lead to the outbreak of epidemics and diseases among citizens as well as the recontamination of the groundwater reservoir.


PCHR emphasizes that the closure of crossings is a form of collective punishment and is internationally prohibited and a clear violation of Article (33) of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Therefore PCHR:

  • Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under the Convention; to provide protection for Palestinian civilians who are subjected to war crimes by IOF, and to practice pressure on Israel to end use of collective punishment policy against the Gaza Strip population, including the closure of crossings that seriously jeopardizes civilians’ enjoyment of their economic and social rights.
  • Urges the international community to take immediate and urgent action to pressure Israel to open all crossings, allow the travel of patients for treatment abroad, and ensure the entry of drugs and medical equipment to Gaza Strip hospitals and fuel supplies to Gaza’s only power plant.
  • Believes that the international community’s silence policy towards the crime of the Israeli closure on Gaza has contributed to the deterioration of humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, as more than half of the population (53%) live in poverty, 64.4% are food insecure, and 80% are dependent on international aid.

progetti sostenuti con i fondi Otto per Mille della Chiesa Valdese

NWRG ha realizzato, o sta realizzando, i seguenti progetti sostenuti con i fondi Otto per Mille della Chiesa Valdese:

OPM/2021/22715 Sostegno allo screening per malattie infettive neonatali nella striscia di Gaza, Palestina, concluso. Contributo totale utilizzato per il progetto: € 43.065,22
Il progetto ha permesso di fornire al laboratorio del Ministero della Salute a Gaza i materiali per la diagnosi e cura delle sepsi neonatali nei reparti di cura intensiva neonatale, che, data la situazione di carenza attuale, ha reso necessario un intervento esterno per garantire la continuità di questo
servizio essenziale

OPM/2022/32180 Provvedere medicine essenziali e strumenti per salvare neonati immunocompromessi ed altri neonati a rischio a Gaza, Palestina, in fase di verifica finale. Contributo totale assegnato al progetto: € 47.000,00
Il progetto prevede di procurare medicamenti (gamma immunoglobuline), necessari per la sopravvivenza di neonati ad alto rischio di morte perché immunocompromessi, e un ventilatore portatile, necessario per la ventilazione di neonati gravi che richiedono trasferimento in ospedali specializzati. Il ventilatore è stato consegnato nel febbraio 2023 all’unità di cura intensiva neonatale dell’Ospedale pediatrico Nasser di Gaza City. Un totale di 67 fiale di immunoglobuline, dopo un lungo periodo di ricerca dei necessari quantitativi di tale farmaco, attualmente di molto difficile reperimento, è stato consegnato in due lotti, nel giugno e nel luglio 2023, alla farmacia centrale del Ministero della Salute di Gaza per la sua distribuzione alle tre unità di cura intensiva neonatale degli ospedali Al Shifa (GazaCity), Al Taheer (Kan Younes), Al Nasser (Gaza City).







New Weapons Research Group è un gruppo di accademici, ricercatori medici e attivisti che si occupa di studiare e denunciare gli effetti delle armi più recenti sulle persone, in particolare donne e bambini.

Gli ospedali della striscia di Gaza, in particolare i reparti di maternità e pediatria, sono carenti di attrezzature e farmaci, indispensabili per la cura dei bambini. Questa situazione è dettata dal blocco a cui Gaza è sottoposta da anni.

Per questo, in occasione della proiezione del film a ingresso libero “Erasmus in GAZA”, lanciamo questa raccolta fondi che ha come obiettivo l’acquisto di farmaci e attrezzaturedestinate all’Ospedale Rantissi – Unità di dialisi pediatrica – Gaza.

Qualsiasi contributo è importante e può fare la differenza, sostieni anche tu gli ospedali di Gaza.

Cogliamo l’occasione per invitarvi alla proiezione del film “Erasmus in GAZA” di Chiara Avesani e Matteo Delbò, a cui seguirà dibattito, presso la Sala Polivalente San Salvatore in Piazza Sarzano 8 a Genova il giorno 21 marzo 2023 dalle ore 17:00 alle 20:00. L’evento è gratuito ed è accreditato come Attività Didattica Elettiva del Corso di Laurea in Medicina e Chirurgia.

Il film racconta di Riccardo, studente di Medicina, che ha trascorso un semestre a Gaza, tra reparti e pronto soccorso degli Ospedali. Una testimonianza diretta della drammaticità della guerra, un’esperienza di formazione, di amicizie, un viaggio in una città sotto assedio, uno sguardo inedito sulla Palestina.

Aiutaci a portare farmaci e attrezzature negli ospedali di Gaza, insieme possiamo donare speranza e cura

“Israeli forces made sure that many of the injured lost their lives”: The barriers to emergency healthcare in the West Bank

16 February 2023

International law requires that health workers operating in occupied territory be permitted to conduct their life-saving work without fear of attack or obstruction. Violations against Palestinian healthcare workers and facilities, however, have long been a feature of Israeli military violence in the occupied Palestinian territory.

In 2022 alone, 105 health workers were injured, including by live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, 77 ambulances were obstructed from accessing the wounded and 44 were damaged. This trend sadly persists in 2023. From assaults against medical teams to the obstruction of ambulances, the health and wellbeing of staff and patients is being put at risk.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) documented 11 violations against their medical teams in the West Bank in January alone. Israeli soldiers delayed or denied PRCS medical teams from reaching injured Palestinians 10 times and – on 13 January in Beit Ummar [Hebron] – fired rubber-coated steel bullets which damaged one of their ambulances.

During the recent Israeli military raid on Jenin refugee camp, which killed 10 Palestinians including a 61-year-old woman, all six of the PRCS ambulances that responded to the emergency were prevented from accessing the camp. “Two hours later, and in light of the increasing numbers of casualties and injuries, our crews were allowed to enter after coordinating through the International Committee of the Red Cross. As we moved into the camp, we still experienced warning shots near the ambulances,” said Azzam Nimer, Head of the Emergency and Ambulance Department at PRCS.

“Israeli forces allowed our medical teams in after they made sure that many of the injured lost their lives. This is not the first or last time that Israeli forces will impede the access of medical teams and wait until the injured bleed to death.”
“We expect cities to be closed and an influx of injuries at any moment”

As well as escalating violence, Israeli forces have further restricted Palestinians’ freedom of movement, including health workers and patients, and even closed off cities completely. In occupied East Jerusalem recently, PRCS medical teams faced prolonged inspections by Israeli forces at checkpoints, delaying their access. This threatens the lives of patients for whom every minute counts.

On 6 February, Israeli forces shot dead at least five Palestinians during a raid on the Aqabet Jabr refugee camp in Jericho, which was closed off for more than a week. PRCS medical teams were prevented from reaching the injured and their ambulance came under attack.

This follows a previous Israeli military raid two days before, where PRCS reported that their ambulances were blocked from treating the injured Palestinians, including three Palestinians who were shot with live ammunition.

Then, on 13 February, an Israeli military vehicle was filmed blocking PRCS paramedics from helping Palestinians injured during an Israeli military raid in Nablus, which killed one Palestinian and injured seven others.

“Given the situation in the West Bank now, we expect cities to be closed and an influx of injuries at any moment,” said Azzam. “We are now treating each city as an isolated territory. I have to make sure that each city has a separate warehouse with enough emergency disposables and medications that can last for three months. The Israeli army can just close a city for weeks, like [last year] in Nablus, and this makes our medical response very complex.”

In the neighbourhood of Shu’fat, in East Jerusalem, PRCS also reported how their emergency teams recently faced delays and hostility from Israeli forces. Soldiers demanded to see their ID cards and interrogated them over the cases of patients they were trying to respond to.

Palestinians are segregated by an ID system, meaning those with a green West Bank ID must obtain a permit from Israeli authorities to cross the separation wall and access East Jerusalem. According to PRCS, paramedics who have West Bank ID cards have recently been barred from immediate entry into Shu’fat refugee camp, despite having permits that allow them to cross any other checkpoints.

The ID system has also impacted patients. Injured Palestinians or their family members have opted to take private cars instead of ambulances, as they fear that being in an ambulance and facing interrogations and ID checks could delay their journey to emergency care.

In 2021 and 2022, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) provided two fully-equipped ambulances and a field hospital tent to the PRCS in East Jerusalem, as well as other essential supplies and equipment. We have also provided primary trauma care training for PRCS paramedics. But, as Israeli military and settler violence continues to occur on an almost daily basis, the PRCS needs more medical supplies, equipment and ambulances to respond to increasing violence.

But as well as urgently responding to the critical health needs, Azzam says urgent action is needed from the international community: “Even if we have all the requested needs, we will still face the obstacles and violations against our teams that come from working under occupation. We need your support to protect our health workers and ensure Israel is held accountable for violating their basic rights so that they can continue to save lives without coming under attack.”

International Childhood Cancer Day: for “Better Survival,” PCHR Demands Better Access to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health for Gaza Children with Cancer

International Childhood Cancer Day: for “Better Survival,”
PCHR Demands Better Access to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health for Gaza Children with Cancer

February 15th marks International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD), a global collaborative day created as an annual event by the Childhood Cancer International (CCI) in 2002. This year’s campaign is launched under the theme “Better Survival” to raise awareness about the risks of cancer, the challenges facing children with cancer through prevention, early detection and appropriate treatment of cancer as well as supporting their families.

On this occasion, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) draws attention to the suffering of the Palestinian children with cancer, including 350 children living in the Gaza Strip and facing a difficult and lengthy journey of treatment due to the Israeli occupation authorities’ practices and the repercussions of the Palestinian political division. These children suffer from the Israeli-imposed restrictions on their travel with their companions for treatment outside the Gaza Strip. They also suffer from lack of specialized medical personnel, poor diagnostic equipment, and lack of many treatment protocols and medical supplies.

Children with cancer receive medical care at Al-Rantisi Hospital, the only hospital that provides pediatric cancer treatment in the Gaza Strip yet suffers from a perpetual shortage in the list of essential drugs and many important medical equipment used for diagnosing cancer, as the hospital services are only limited to chemotherapy, supportive treatments and other healthcare services. This forces patients to complete their treatment in hospitals outside the Strip, and so their suffering from the Israeli restrictions on their travel begins. Leukemia is the most common cancer affecting children in the Gaza Strip, where 86 children with leukemia received treatment last year while 182 children continue treatment in the post-recovery phase on a regular basis at Al-Naser and Al-Ranitisi Pediatric Hospitals. [1]

The restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on the travel of children and their companions for treatment abroad are among the most prominent obstacles that prevent children from receiving treatment. In 2022, IOF obstructed 272 out of 1000 requests (i.e. 28% of the total number of applications[2]) for children referred for treatment abroad, leading to the death of 3 children due to obstructing their travel by the Israeli occupation. Meanwhile, in the same year 16 children died with cancer in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli authorities prevent a number of parents from accompanying their children for treatment outside the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of 2018 to 2021, 43%[3] of the children referred for treatment abroad had to travel without one of their parents because their requests to travel via Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing were denied or delayed. This hereby affects the mental health of these children who already suffer from serious health conditions and in dire need of one of their parents as a companion during their treatment.

Moreover, the ongoing Palestinian political division causes the level of health services provided by hospitals and healthcare centers for cancer patients in the Gaza Strip to deteriorate, impeding the localization of health services, the adoption of a medicines policy that ensures the availability of treatment for all citizens, and the provision of all medical equipment for the governmental health facilities. All of this is due to not allocating sufficient and necessary budgets to cover the shortage of essential medicines and medical equipment needed for the treatment of cancer patients. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) in Gaza, the list of essential drugs used for the treatment of patients with cancer and blood disorders that are at zero-stock reached (37%), as 23 out of the 63 types of essential drugs ran out in December 2022.

Around 9,000 cancer patients in the Gaza Strip suffer from disastrous health conditions due to the acute shortage of medicines and medical supplies required for their treatment at Gaza hospitals. On the other hand, the Israeli occupation authorities continue to impose restrictions on the entry of new medical devices and laboratory materials necessary for cancer patients’ tests. These challenges deny patients’ access to treatment services appropriate to their serious health status. Also, the MOH expects to record (2000) new cancer cases in 2023 while the number of cancer patients recorded in 2021 was 1952 in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, there were 610 deaths recorded in the same year.

PCHR emphasizes that cancer patients in the Gaza Strip, including children, should enjoy their fundamental rights, including the early and accurate diagnosis, right to have essential life-saving drugs, right to receive adequate and qualitative treatment, and to have “better survival” opportunities for recovered patients. On this occasion, PCHR is deeply concerned over the lives of children with cancer in the Gaza Strip. Thus, PCHR:

Appeals the international organizations, including the World Health Organization, to support the health system in the Gaza Strip in order to improve its current capabilities relevant to diagnosing and treating sick children, and provide necessary medicines and medical devices to ensure high recovery rates among children with cancer in the Gaza Strip.
Calls upon the international community to exert pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities in order to end all restrictions imposed on patients’ travel, especially children with cancer.
Calls upon the international community to exert pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities in order to allow the entry of Radiology devices necessary for diagnosing cancer.
Calls on the Palestinian Ministry of health in Ramallah and Gaza to coordinate with each other and work on allocating operational expenses to purchase medicines and medical consumables for cancer patients to end their shortage, and to ensure that patients receive their right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental healthcare.

for more information, please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893

Gaza- Jamal ‘Abdel Nasser “al-Thalathini” Street – Al-Roya Building- Floor 12, El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail:, Webpage

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for assistance:

[1] An interview by PCHR’s researcher with Dr. Mahmoud Shubair, Head of the Hematology and Oncology Department at Al-Nasr and Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, 08 February 2023.

[2] Press releases published by the World Health Organization office in the Gaza Strip

[3] WHO factshees, 15 Years of Blockade and Health in Gaza.

Media Watch – February 1, 2023

Israeli settlers attempt to establish a new settlement in response to the killing of two settlers the night before, near the illegal settlement of Itamar, West Bank, October 2, 2015. All settlements are illegal under international law. 
This month we are focused again on the impact of the new government of terror and racism in Israel on Palestinians in Israel and the oPt affecting health and human rights.

Of note: The Israeli campaign in the West Bank and Gaza, to provoke, attack, injure, and kill Palestinians continues in full fury, raising the suspicion that the new rightwing government is going to continue these provocations until there is a more militant response from Palestinians and then use that to justify an all-out war. This has certainly happened before and Palestinians are facing horrific grief and dangerous collective punishment. The Israeli rightwing coalition is fulfilling its promises on multiple fronts from hate crimes to violence to subjugating anything and anyone that is not Jewish, Orthodox, or male. While much of the international community is trying to get along with and possibly weakly contain Netanyahu, the power of the Israel hasbara industry was challenged by the recent drama with Kenneth Roth and the Harvard Kennedy School. These are frightening and deadly times and we must not be silent.


HERO: UN General Assembly resolution to International Court of Justice

Israeli settlers attempt to establish a new settlement in the northern West Bank in October 2015. Yotam Ronen ActiveStills

UN General Assembly passed a resolution asking the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Netanyahu called the request a “despicable decision”.

Legality of Israel’s occupation referred to UN court
Last week, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – and Gaza.

The resolution asks the court to set out the legal consequences of Israel’s violation of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian land since 1967.

This includes “measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status” of Jerusalem and the “adoption of discriminatory legislation and measures.”

The resolution also asks the court to determine “the legal consequences that arise for all states and the United Nations” as a result of its findings.

The International Court of Justice is the UN’s tribunal for settling legal disputes submitted by states and requests for advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it through the UN system.

Though both are based in The Hague, the International Court of Justice is a separate body from the International Criminal Court, which opened an investigation into the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last year.

Advisory opinions issued by the ICJ are non-binding.

This will not be the first time that the ICJ has weighed in on Israel’s activities in occupied Palestinian territory.

In 2004, the court ruled that Israel’s construction of a massive wall in the occupied West Bank was illegal and must be stopped immediately and that reparations should be made for damage caused.

The 2004 advisory opinion had little effect on the ground in Palestine and is one of many recommendations made by UN organs concerning Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights that has gone ignored – both by Israel and third states.

Ahead of last week’s vote, the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council stated that despite the limited material effect of the 2004 advisory opinion, “the case supported the undeniable right of the Palestinian people to their self-determination under international law and emphasizes the illegality of all annexations and settlements.”

Additionally, the court’s 2004 ruling found that Israel’s wall in the West Bank amounted to de facto annexation of occupied territory.

Al-Haq, a leading Palestinian human rights group, said that the new advisory opinion “may incur, for the first time, important obligations on third states and the international community to bring the occupation to an end.”

Palestinian human rights groups championed the resolution, which was drafted by the UN’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee and then submitted to the General Assembly.

Al Mezan, a Palestinian rights group based in Gaza, said that the adoption of the resolution “is a significant milestone in the struggle against Israel’s apartheid settler-colonial regime.”
The rights group noted that many European states either abstained or voted against the measure despite it coming “at a critical time when a new far-right Israeli government has been installed.”

That government, Al Mezan noted, has “vowed to legalize dozens of illegal settlements and annex the West Bank as a top priority.”

Indeed, Israel is seeing through with those pledges by destroying Palestinian structures in Jerusalem and the South Hebron Hills and issuing forcible transfer notices affecting 1,000 people in the Masafer Yatta area of the southern West Bank this week.
European double standards

The failure of many European states to support the resolution seeking an advisory opinion on Israel’s prolonged occupation throws the double standards by which international law is applied into sharp contrast.

While imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russia over its invasion and occupation of Ukraine, European states have paid only lip service to opposing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

European Union officials even welcomed the new Israeli government led by extremists who have pledged to formally annex West Bank land and complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that began in 1948. Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, has stated that he plans to work with the new government on “further improving” relations with Israel.
While Borrell continues to talk about promoting a two-state solution, Zvika Fogel, a member of the new Israeli parliament, said that “the occupation is permanent.”

Fogel belongs to the Jewish Power party headed by Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s new national security minister who now oversees Israel’s police and paramilitary Border Police that operate in the West Bank.

Fogel is former chief of staff of the Israeli military’s “southern command,” which includes the Gaza Strip.

In 2018, soon after the launch of Great March of Return protests along Gaza’s boundary with Israel, Fogel championed the use of lethal force against Palestinians who approach the boundary fence, including children.

He said that shooting and killing children was a reasonable “price that we have to pay to preserve the safety and quality of life of the residents of the state of Israel.”

More than 215 Palestinian civilians, including more than 40 children, were killed during those demonstrations, and thousands more wounded by live fire during those protests between March 2018 and December 2019.

A UN commission of inquiry found that Israel’s use of lethal force against protesters warrants criminal investigation and prosecution and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The UN investigators called for sanctions on those responsible and for the arrest of Israeli personnel “alleged to have committed, or who ordered to have committed” international crimes in relation to the Great March of Return protests.

Those recommendations went ignored by the same states who have thrown their support and money behind war crimes trials and other punitive measures after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.