Palestinian patients and family members arrested at Beit Hanoun crossing

29283_345x230Ma’an reported that Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man at the Erez crossing in northern Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian security officials said.

Hussam al-Zanin was accompanying his sick mother to Israel for treatment, but was detained by Israeli forces. Al-Zanin’s mother was then asked to return to Gaza by Israeli forces at the border.

In response, Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights strongly denounced the ongoing Israeli practice of arresting Palestinian patients and their families while seeking entry to Israel or the West Bank for treatment through Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing. Use of the crossing requires prior travel permits, which are already highly difficult to obtain.

Al-Mezan said that the kidnapping of patients at Beit Hanoun crossing violates Israel’s legal obligations under the international humanitarian law, especially the fourth Geneva convention.

The center outlined some incidents in which patients from Gaza were taken prisoners by the Israeli occupation forces, including al-Zanin’s case, although they had obtained travel permits, noting that the detention of patients at this crossing increased during the current month. Other cases in the past month include those of Ibrahim al-Harbi and Mahmoud Shamallakh.

The center urged the international community to urgently intervene to curb Israel’s violation of the international law regarding the right of Gaza citizen to have access to health care outside the besieged Strip.

Beit Hanoun crossing is almost the only passage for Gaza citizens whose medical conditions cannot be treated in Gaza hospitals, especially after the Egyptian army closed the Rafah border crossing and imposed travel restrictions, said the centre.