PA prevents West Bank, Gaza patients from receiving treatment in Israel
Palestinian authorities refuse to cover medical costs for those seeking treatment in Israeli hospitals, in response to Israel cutting funds PA allocated for terrorists' salaries, leaving those in need of urgent medical care locked in the middle of a political dispute
The Palestinian Authority stopped sending West Bank and Gaza patients to Israeli medical facilities, following financial difficulties that arose after Israel decided February to deduct some half a billion shekels from the tax money it collects on behalf of the PA, due to its continued payment of terrorists' salaries.
Some 3,500 Palestinians from the West Bank and several dozens from the Gaza Strip are sent for medical care inside Israel each year. Some of the medical facilities lacking in the West Bank can be found in East Jerusalem institutions, while cancer patients and others with more complicated medical issues have to be sent to Israeli hospitals that have more advanced facilities.
For instance, radiation for cancer patients is only available in East Jerusalem for West Bank residents; a PET-CT, a necessary tool for the diagnosis of cancer, is completely lacking in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and must be performed in Israel.
Any Palestinian is permitted to apply for medical care in Israel, under the condition he or she can present a summon by the Israeli medical institution, and a document from the PA that guarantees the payment. However, for the last several weeks, the PA stopped issuing both documents, and as a result, Palestinian patients had been unable to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals, including hospitals in East Jerusalem.
Patients with no papers summoning them for treatment cannot be granted an entry permit into Israel, and are thus left without suitable necessary treatment.
In response to the medical crisis, the Physicians for Human Rights NGO criticized politicians on both sides, and said "patients can't become victims of power struggles between Israel and the Palestinian Authority."
"Israel has to stop the tax money deduction, and the PA has to leave patients out of this struggle," said the NGO.
According to an unnamed Israeli medical official, Palestinian patients were officially supposed to be sent for treatment in Jordan or Egypt. "However, in actuality, this doesn’t happen and they remain without a solution," he said.