DCO: Gaza hospitals prevent treatment of patients
District Coordination Office rejects claims that Gaza hospitals lack equipment, says Israel delivered abundance of humanitarian aid since start of Operation Cast Lead. DCO head says Palestinian health officials refuse to allow patients out to Israel for treatment
The District Coordination Office in Gaza rejected Palestinian claims of lacking medical equipment in the Strip's hospitals on Wednesday.
DCO Head Moshe Colonel Levi told Ynet that since the start of the IDF's Operation Cast Lead in the Strip, unprecedented amounts of medical equipment have been allowed into Gaza, including medicine and blood units.
In addition, ambulances sent from the West Bank and donated from other countries were allowed into the Strip.
Colonel Levi also accused Palestinian Health Ministry officials of preventing the injured from leaving Gaza to receive medical treatment in Israel and piling up bureaucratic hurdles.
So far, a 16-year-old boy who was injured in the operation was permitted to leave Gaza for Israel and on Wednesday a seven-year-old boy who sustained serious wounds will follow.
A number of cancer patients were also transferred to Israel for treatment, but Palestinian medical officials demand a long list of documents to approve the release of patients, and therefore prevent any serious treatment of the matter.
"Gaza hospitals have not collapsed, and international organizations have not reported a collapse and even point out that the medical equipment sent there is improving the hospitals' efficient activity. Regarding food as well, we have not received official complaints, there are large amounts of food in the Gaza Strip and there is no crisis in this regard," Levi said.
Defense establishment sources said Gazan officials are trying to take advantage of the situation in order to create a false picture of a humanitarian crisis.
"Certainly the situation in the Strip is not easy, but Israel is allowing international organizations and neighboring countries to help in any way they can to provide all the necessary equipment to the Gaza Strip," said a defense establishment source.
More food and medical equipment is scheduled to be delivered to the Gaza Strip Wednesday, in some 100 trucks that will be inspected at the Kerem Shalom crossing.
Hundreds of blood units, donations from neighboring countries and equipment from international organizations are also slated to be sent to the Strip.
The defense establishment stressed there was no intention of freezing the flow of goods to the Strip, even in the event of a ground incursion, as long as security considerations allowed it.
DCO sources also reported they are in constant contact with Palestinian sources and do their best to provide whatever is needed while taking security criteria into consideration.