Fadi al-Katshan, from the Gaza Strip, underwent a critical vascular surgery at the Israeli Tel Hashomer Hospital in May 2013. A ventricular assist device (VAD) was installed in his heart, and he was supposed to return later for a medical consultation. The operation was successful, and Katshan returned to his family in the Gaza Strip in good health. He tried to get a travel permit from the Israeli authorities for a medical consultation four times, but he was unsuccessful. Not long thereafter, on Nov. 16, he began feeling strong chest pains and died at age 26.
Katshan’s story seems to resemble the stories of dozens of patients who die as a result of the blockade on Gaza’s border crossings. Yet, his story stands out because an Israeli intelligence officer called Katshan after the first request for a travel permit was rejected. The officer said, “Fadi, we know that there’s a device in your heart that might explode any minute. That is why we will not give you a permit unless you cooperate with us.”