Social media users have called out the Israeli army for a Twitter post celebrating two female soldiers for cutting off their hair for a good cause.
The Israeli army said the pair donated their hair to make wigs for cancer patients and described it as “a beautiful act of kindness”.
If you guys can also stop killing Palestinians that be super
— braderoni (@rooafzapapi96) November 8, 2019
A picture of the two soldiers, identified as Noam and Inbal, shows them smiling and holding their freshly cut hair.
But critics pointed out the irony of the post, reminding the Israeli army that they regularly deny thousands of cancer patients from the Gaza Strip permission to travel for treatment.
Nothing says kindness like forcing cancer patients to die in an open air prison in Gaza https://t.co/ePDhs2BsYf
— Remi Kanazi (@Remroum) November 8, 2019
The Gaza Strip has been under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade for more than a decade, where freedom of movement for the population of two million has been severely curtailed.
Palestinians from Gaza can exit the coastal blockade through the southern Rafah border, controlled by Egypt, or from the Israeli-controlled Beit Hanoun checkpoint in the north, also referred to as Erez.
But Palestinians can only exit the Erez checkpoint after they have received a special permit issued by the Israeli military, which is notoriously hard to obtain.
Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the Gaza Strip & West Bank. Medicinal shortages are severe, especially in Gaza. Around 30-40% of chemo drugs are out of stock at any given moment in Gaza.
And guess which country creates those problems? https://t.co/QaJvwrdSCO
— ✡️?️? (@koshersemite) November 9, 2019
Sarah Leah Whitson, the Human Rights Watch director for the Middle East and North Africa region, called on the soldiers named in the Israeli army’s Twitter post to ask their superiors to allow cancer patients in Gaza to medical treatment.
Hi Noam and Inbal – great that you want to help! can you please ask your bosses at the @IDF to open the #Gaza border so that cancer patients there can get urgently needed medical treatment? They and so many other Palestinians urgently need medical care but are blocked by #Israel https://t.co/ScrevvR9cB
— Sarah Leah Whitson (@sarahleah1) November 8, 2019
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 39 percent of patient applications for permits to exit Gaza for healthcare in 2018 were unsuccessful.
“The ability of Gaza’s hospitals to provide adequate diagnosis and treatment to cancer patients is severely limited due to chronic shortages of medicines and lack of medical equipment,” WHO said in a report last February.
Among this week's Pulse of Palestine stories: the inhumane case of a five year old cancer patient who spent most of her final month alone in Jerusalem hospitals, with her parents trapped in #Gaza, prevented from being by her side: https://t.co/K8lOfRj6Bj #Palestine #news pic.twitter.com/zCcCFLydBK
— Palestine Community Foundation (@PalCommunityUK) June 11, 2019
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in February that the number of cancer patients in the Gaza Strip had risen to 8,515 – including 608 children.
Most cases are diagnosed at a late stage, leading to difficulties in symptom control and treatment options.
(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)