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Palestinians Seeking Medical Care Often Detained at Gaza Crossing

Israel is detaining Palestinian patients seeking to cross the Erez Crossing for hospital care with the aim to turn them into collaborators, Mohammed Suliman reports.
A Christian Palestinian woman leaves Erez border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip December 22, 2011, as she makes her way to the West Bank town of Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas. The Israeli army on Thursday gave permits to some 500 Christian Palestinians from Gaza to enter Israel as they make their way to Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION) - RTR2VJM0

Rafiq Abu Harbeed, 38, was up early in the morning on Jan. 1 as he prepared for the short journey up north toward Erez Crossing. Abu Harbeed, who lives in Beit Hanoun and suffers disc prolapse between the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae, was going to attend a security interview with the Israeli General Security Service (GSS), which is routine practice required by Israel for Palestinians seeking to travel though Erez Crossing. Abu Harbeed was seeking a travel permit to receive medical treatment at Al-Makassed Charitable Society Hospital in East Jerusalem.

At 5:00 pm on the same day, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported that Abu Harbeed’s family received a phone call from the GSS informing them that their son had been detained. He is still in Israeli custody.

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