Monday, February 7, 2011

'Gaza patients in critical condition'

The Gaza Health Ministry has warned that the current shortage of medicine due to Israel's blockade has caused a serious health disaster for Palestinian patients.

According to the ministry, more than 170 medicines and 140 medical consumables are currently out of stock, a Press TV correspondent in Gaza said on Sunday.

According to the ministry, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are to be blamed for the increase in the deaths of patients who are in dire need of medicines.

Chronically ill patients, especially children and the elderly, are the worst hit.

The Israeli regime has imposed a travel ban on the Gaza Strip. Some of the patients are referred for treatment to hospitals outside the besieged coastal enclave.

However, many of them have had their applications for exit permits denied or delayed by Israel and have missed their medical appointments. Many of these patients die before getting their permits to leave Gaza.

The ministry also said the shortage in medicine is getting worse day by day and has reached critical levels.

Gaza health officials have called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to put an end to its prolonged siege of Gaza.

"With the continued lack of necessary equipment and medicine to deal with the relatively high number of patients in Gaza's hospitals, chronically ill patients could face an imminent death unless they receive the necessary treatment on time," said Munir al-Bursh, a Gaza health ministry official.

Human rights organizations accuse Israel of violating international humanitarian laws, specially the 4th Geneva Convention, which outlaws torture, collective punishment and the resettlement by an occupying power of its own civilians on territory under its military control.

The United Nations has repeatedly appealed for the opening of all crossings into the Gaza Strip, warning of the severe negative impact on Gaza's population.