In Response to Israeli Allegations. PCHR Categorically Refuses Implications It Would Substitute PA in Patients’ Travel Coordination
Date: 09 June 2020
Time: 09:00 GMT
A news report was released yesterday in Israeli media suggesting that Israel has reached an alternative coordination mechanism with Gaza through the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), following the Palestinian National Authority’s (PA) decision to end security coordination with Israel. PCHR condemns without reservation and in the strongest terms the Israeli occupation authorities’ political propaganda to undermine the PA by promoting the Centre as an alternative. PCHR categorically refuses such insinuations and holds the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the lives of Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip who are in dire need for medical treatment abroad and face imminent death as a result of denying them access to basic medical services that are unavailable in the Gaza Strip.
In light of such political exploitation of its role, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights wishes to clarify the following:
- On 19 May 2020, the Palestinian President announced that the State of Palestine and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are no longer bound by treaties and agreements with the American and Israeli governments and all consequent obligations to such treaties and agreements, including security. Immediately, the Palestinian government commenced urgent proceedings to effectively end security coordination with Israel. The PA decision was motivated by the annexation plans of over 30% of West Bank area intended by Israel with the support of the current U.S. Administration under President Trump.
- Accordingly, the Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs’ (GACA) work was suspended. Consequently, the travel coordination for Gaza Strip patients, who receive financial coverage from the treatment abroad department in the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) and had scheduled appointments at hospitals, was suspended;
- For more than 15 years, PCHR offered its services for patients who require treatment abroad, through legal interventions with the Israeli side, especially in cases classified as “life-saving,” and has been able to assist patients who obtained medical referrals in acquiring exit permits to travel for treatment abroad. Additionally, PCHR legal interventions address other civilian categories’ freedom of movement issues that fall within PCHR’s mandate to defend human rights and protect civilians.
- Over the course of the past two weeks, PCHR received numerous patients in critical health conditions, who have obtained MOH medical referrals for treatment in the West Bank hospitals, including Palestinian hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem. These patients are in dire need for urgent medical treatment; thus, PCHR intervened legally with the Israeli side as it has for many years, grounding its interventions in a human rights and humanitarian doctrine in accordance with the highest professional standards. It should be noted that PCHR offered such legal services to patients exclusively.
- It was inconceivable that the Israeli occupation authorities would reach this far, politically exploiting patients’ need for treatment, fronting PCHR as if it were a substitute for the PA or to circumvent the Palestinian leadership’s decisions to end security coordination.
In view of this development, PCHR has decided to discontinue all legal aid services it offers patients. PCHR regrets having to take such a decision and holds Israeli authorities fully responsible for its consequences. PCHR affirms its absolute rejection of attempts to circumvent the Palestinian leadership’s decisions in any way, shape or form.
PCHR stresses that the Gaza Strip is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and Israeli authorities, as a belligerent occupation, bear full legal responsibility for the lives of civilians in the Gaza Strip, including patients.
Finally, PCHR calls upon the international community to hold its responsibility in accordance with obligations under international law; and to intervene immediately to ensure the Israeli occupation forces’ abidance by their obligations towards Palestinian civilians, including patients.