Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) claims Israel has “dramatically toughened” its policy on granting permits to sick Palestinians needing life-saving treatment in Israeli hospitals, among them many cancer patients. This, despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays in full for every patient referred by its Health Ministry for care in Israel.
Attorney Mahmoud Abu Arisha, in charge of the organization’s occupied territories department, told Al-Monitor that over the past six months PHR has received 158 appeals from severely ill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank whose requests for treatment in Israel were turned down by the Shin Bet security agency. Naturally, not all people turn to PHR when their requests for entry permits are denied. Thus, the organization estimates that the number of requests refused by the Shin Bet is much higher than that. In 2015, in comparison, the organization received 48 such appeals over the entire year, and only 23 the year before.