Thursday, March 27, 2008

Press Release: Amnesty International

For immediate release:
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Contact: AIUSA media office,
202-544-0200 x302

Israeli Army Denying Cancer Patient Vital Treatment, Charges Amnesty International

(Washington, DC)--The Israeli army must allow chronically ill cancer patient Karima Abu Dalal to leave the Gaza Strip and obtain desperately needed medical care in Israel, Amnesty International said today.

"Karima Abu Dalal's life now hangs in the balance because of the Israeli army's failure to grant her a permit to leave Gaza to obtain specialized cancer treatment not available there," said Amnesty International.

More than 40 people are reported to have died in the Gaza Strip in recent months because they were refused passage out of the area in order to obtain urgent medical treatment that could not be provided to them there.

Karima Abu Dalal, 34, suffers from Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer which can be cured if appropriate, timely treatment is provided. Her condition has deteriorated recently and she now has difficulty breathing and walking. Her doctors in Gaza consider that her survival depends on her being removed urgently to Israel for treatment at an advanced medical center.

Since the Israeli authorities tightened their blockade on the Gaza Strip in June 2007, closing the border between Gaza and Egypt, each of the 1.5 million Palestinian inhabitants has to obtain the permission of the Israeli military authorities to leave the Gaza Strip for Israel. This is almost always refused. While some exceptions are made on a "humanitarian" basis, the Israeli military has denied permits for scores of ill patients saying they cannot allow them to leave the Gaza Strip because of unspecified "security" reasons.

Medical facilities in Gaza lack the specialized staff and equipment to treat a range of conditions, such as some forms of cancer and cardiovascular illnesses. Hospitals and medical facilities are also increasingly short of drugs, disposable supplies and functioning medical equipment.

Despite repeated requests since last November, the Israeli army has refused to issue a permit allowing Karima Abu Dalal to leave Gaza for medical treatment. A request made to the Israeli army last Sunday is still awaiting a response.

"Denying passage to patients in desperate need of medical care serves no legitimate security purpose, as all patients undergo strict security checks at the crossing, and are generally gravely ill," said Amnesty International. "Israel, as the occupying power, is responsible for providing the right to health and access to health care for Karima Abu Dalal and all 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip."

Background information:

Karima Abu Dalal received a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy and radiotherapy in Egypt before the Israeli authorities closed the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt in June 2007. This treatment was apparently successful. The Israeli army issued Karima Abu Dalal with a permit allowing her to leave the Gaza Strip in August 2007 to undergo courses of chemotherapy in Nablus in the West Bank. She responded positively to these and was due to return to Nablus in November 2007 for further treatment, but her requests to do so were rejected by the Israeli military authorities for unspecified "security reasons." The Israeli High Court of Justice also refused a petition against this decision stating that they saw "no grounds for intervention."

Karima Abu Dalal has been treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza. But doctors there say she now needs more specialist care at an advanced medical center in Israel if she is to have any chance of survival.

For more information, please contact the AIUSA media office at 202-544-0200 x302.

1 comment:

media said...

Malignant mesothelioma affects the lining or membranes of certain large cavities in the body. These cavities, called the serous cavities, house certain major organs in the body including the heart, lungs, abdomen and others. The membranes that surround these cavities are called the serous membranes. They serve to protect these major organs from the friction and abrasion that occur as the organs move against each other during typical daily functioning, such as breathing and heart beating. The serous membranes derive from specialized cells called mesothelial cells. These cells form to create the mesothelium, which is the major tissue layer of the serous membranes. Cancer that occurs in the mesothelium tissue is called mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a rare & uncommon type of cancer which is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. In mesothelioma, malignant type cells form and develop within the mesothelium. These cells also cover the outer surface of most internal organs. The tissue formed by these cells is called mesothelium. Mesothelioma is most common in the pleura which is the outer lining of the lungs, but it can also arise in the peritoneum or the pericardium which protects the heart.