At least 15 terminally ill Palestinian patients have died since the beginning of the year after Israel denied them permits to travel out of the besieged Gaza Strip for treatment, says a human rights group.
The al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights on Wednesday released a statement condemning Israel’s blockade on the coastal sliver, while stressing that the siege has brought Gaza’s healthcare system to “its knees.”
The group noted that all of those who had died had on multiple occasions requested for permission to receive treatment outside of the Gaza Strip.
“The Israeli regime shirks its international legal obligations by denying residents of Gaza the flow of necessary medical relief and supplies into Gaza, while simultaneously denying and delaying the movement that residents require to seek the care outside of Gaza,” read the statement.
The statement was released during a visit to Gaza by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who called for an end to the decade-long Israeli blockade earlier in the day.
“I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” Guterres said.
Israel has had Gaza under blockade since 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
The Tel Aviv regime has also waged several wars on Gaza since 2008. Hundreds of Gazans have been killed or maimed in the wars and a significant portion of infrastructure has been destroyed.