Sunday, December 16, 2007

“We are not even drinking Coca Cola any more”

So – a few emails fired off to people who are more au courant than me and the same message back from them all – to get out of Gaza for medical treatment you need a permit.

For this, you need to get referred by a doctor to the Palestinian DCO, which (I think) lets hospitals in the West Bank, Israel and Jortan know about the case in the hope of an invitation and sends an application to the Israeli DCO.

Spoke to a girl from the excellent Physicians for Human Rights Israel, fluent in Hebrew, Arabic and English, who got in touch with Abed’s household. She stressed that 2-yr-old Abdurrahman would need the invitation from another hospital in order to get out. As no one knows what his illness is, would he be likely to get such an invitation?

Overall though, it looks grim – “to be honest, no one is getting in or out of Gaza right now” – said one correspondent.

Chatted to Abed’s brother Ahmed, who seemed to think Abed might not have applied for a permit yet – “We don’t get them because the Palestinian Authority has to pay for treatment in Israel and it’s very expensive so they don’t want to”.

I said that even if he doesn't get the permit, it's a step towards getting help. If he doesn;t apply for the permit, anyone he approaches may just tell him first to apply. If that fails perhaps a group like MSF can come into play...

Ahmed works in a Fatah-leaning university there and said Hamas had cut Fatah supporters’ salaries while in return Fatah in Ramallah had cut the salaries of Hamas supporters.

“We are not even drinking Coca Cola any more – there isn’t any.”

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