The Special Committee on the Novel Coronavirus discussed on Thursday the fact that Palestinians in need of treatment in Israeli hospitals are unable to enter the country due to the corona pandemic and the absence of “Purple Badge” restrictions at checkpoints. The meeting was held at the request of MK Sondos Saleh (Joint List).
Committee Chairwoman MK Yifat Shasha-Biton said, “In the complicated reality we live in, we have a moral duty, as human beings, to save lives. Therefore, despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority (PA) chose the path of ceasing to cooperate with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Israel is not turning its back on the residents of the Authority and continues to provide them with medical treatment in life-saving cases.”
MK Shasha-Biton said Israel is also helping the PA prevent the spread of the coronavirus, “and will continue to make every effort to assist in humanitarian cases, but the responsibility cannot be lifted from the Palestinian Authority, which stopped the coordination and thus harmed its own residents.”
MK Saleh said, “The State of Israel must take the coordination upon itself – as the one responsible for the economic, health and civil situation. Following this debate I am more concerned for the health of the Palestinian public due to the bureaucracy and (the many forms that are required), and the cessation of coordination due to Israel’s decisions.”
Major Inbal Maman, head of the Civil Coordination Department in the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit, said thousands of requests by Palestinians to receive medical treatment in Israel have been approved during the corona crisis, “despite the termination of coordination on the part of the Palestinian Authority.”
On the other hand, Ran Goldstein of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel said “the previous coordination mechanism did not work, and (Palestinians in need of dialysis, or cancer patients, did not receive treatment… Hospital in Gaza rely on hospitals in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. During the corona period, only cancer patients or babies we permitted to leave Gaza in less than 60 days.”
According to Goldstein, “A Palestinian cannot submit a request for medical treatment directly. Rather, it is hospitals or organizations that do this.”