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Palestinian baby dies after treatment delayed by Israeli blockade of Gaza

Gaza (The Inside Palestine)- A 19-month-old child has died in Gaza after waiting for five months for the apartheid “Israeli” entity to grant her permission to leave the blockaded enclave for treatment.

Human right groups said “Israel’s” blockade of Gaza was responsible for the death of Fatima Al-Masri, who was diagnosed last year with a hole in the heart and who died on Friday.

“I loved her from deep inside my heart. I wish I had died as well as her,” said Jalal al-Masri, Fatima’s father. “They kept saying the application was ‘under review, under review’ and then she died.

“It felt like I had died as well without Fatima in my life. Nothing breaks a person more than losing their child.”

Masri said that Fatima missed two appointments for treatment at Occupied Al-Quds’ Al-Makassed hospital in December and February while her family were told her case was “under review” by the “Israeli” authorities.

“We are under blockade. I don’t understand how ‘Israel’ can send me this message about her case being under review,” said Masri.

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, a Palestinian NGO, took on Fatima’s case when Al-Masri complained in February, urging the Zionist regime to issue the permit in time for her to be taken to al-Makassed in the week after the appointment, before the hospital takes a patient off its list.

“Al Mezan deeply regrets Fatima’s death and strongly condemns ‘Israel’s’ ongoing closure on the Gaza Strip and its associated restrictions on the movement of Palestinians, that includes denying patients access to the hospitals in the West Bank, East Al-Quds, ‘Israel’ and abroad,” the NGO said in a statement.

According to the World Health Organization’s monthly report, 56% of applications for companions to patients in Gaza were not responded to in time for the appointment.

Palestinians have to travel for serious conditions that the overburdened health system in Gaza cannot treat, but face long waits for permits to 1948 Palestinian lands and Egypt, where they also endure a difficult journey through the Sinai desert.

The UN’s special rapporteur for Palestine, Michael Lynk, in a report last week that described “Israel’s” control over Palestinian territories as “apartheid”, said Gaza’s health system “is flat on its back, with serious shortages of healthcare professionals, inadequate treatment equipment and low supplies of drugs and medicines.”

Mahmoud Shalabi, program manager in Gaza for the charity Medical Aid Palestine, said the blockade had “suffocated” the health system, leaving hospitals short of medicine and equipment, and that conditions had worsened during the pandemic.

“My cousin, who was suffering from cancer, tried to seek specialist care in East Al-Quds, but died while waiting for a permit. She left behind five young children,” said Shalabi.

“Accessing care feels like a lottery. The case of 19-month-old Fatima is another devastating story. But these stories will keep appearing while ‘Israel’s’ blockade and restrictions are in place.”

Source: Alahed News

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