Palestinian Ministry of Health Accuses Israel of Denying Treatment to Cancer Patients in Gaza

A woman with cancer waiting at the Qalandiya military checkpoint. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

The Palestinian Health Ministry on Saturday accused Israel of denying cancer patients the right to medical treatment abroad, Anadolu news agency reported.

“Israel deprives 40 percent of cancer patients in Gaza of their right to medical treatment abroad,” Khaled Thabet, head of the ministry’s oncology department, told Anadolu.

“Cancer patients in Gaza face multiple challenges that make their health conditions even worse,” he said, citing Israeli restrictions that “prevent the entry of necessary medicines” to patients.

The ministry official added that hospitals in the Palestinian territory “face a huge shortage of radiotherapy services.”

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According to the Health Ministry, there were 5,320 cancer patients in the Palestinian territories by 2021, including 1,952 patients in Gaza.

“Cancer is the highest third cause of death in the Palestinian territories,” the ministry said in a statement marking World Cancer Day on February 4.

For its part, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights called for an end to the Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to healthcare services.

In a statement, the center warned that “continuing to ban the entry of medical equipment needed to diagnose oncology patients in Gaza entails real risks that worsen the suffering and pain of patients.”

Home to nearly 2.3 million people, the Gaza Strip has been reeling under a years-long Israeli blockade since 2007, badly affecting livelihood in the seaside territory.


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