Gaza Health Ministry: Toddler Died Because PA Delayed Medical Treatment in Israel

Despite promises, the toll continues to rise in the power struggle between Hamas and Palestinian Authority

The emergency department at Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, March 29, 2017.
The emergency department at Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, March 29, 2017. MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS

A three-year-old girl died in the Gaza Strip on Thursday because the Palestinian Authority's Health Ministry in Ramallah delayed approving medical treatment for her in Israel, said the enclave's Hamas-controlled Health Ministry.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for Gazan Health Ministry, said the girl was suffering complications from heart problems and required urgent surgical intervention that could not be provided by the hospitals in the Strip. The request for treatment in an Israeli hospital remained unanswered by the PA’s Health Ministry, he added.

The girl was the 16th victim of Ramallah's delays in providing approval and the requisite financial commitment for such treatments in Israeli hospitals in the last two months, the Gazan Health Ministry said.

Two weeks ago, Haaretz reported that the Palestinian Authority began limiting approval for treatment in Israel, the West Bank or overseas as part of the power struggle between it and Hamas.

The PA and the Health Ministry in Ramallah vehemently denied claims of a change in policy, and blamed both Hamas and Israel for the situation.

A week ago, Palestinians sources involved in the matter told their Israeli counterparts that the delays and refusals will be eliminated, but so far, many patients in Gaza are saying they have not seen any real change.