Palestinian Authority to Resume Issuing Permits for Gazans Seeking Urgent Medical Treatment in Israel

The Palestinian health ministry delayed financial commitments for such treatments; two babies died as result

The Palestinian health ministry will allow Gazans to receive medical treatment in Israel once again, after Israel and the Palestinians reached an understanding on the issue.

Haaretz reported on Monday that the Palestinian Authority is preventing patients from leaving Gaza to receive treatment in Israel, the West Bank or Jordan as part of its struggle with the Hamas government in the enclave. Gazans told Haaretz that the Palestinian health ministry has been delaying the financial commitment required for such treatment for months.

A day later, Gaza health officials said that two infants died after the Palestinian Authority failed to issue them permits to receive treatment in Israel, drawing an outcry from the international community. 

The PA rejected such accusations, blaming Israel and Hamas for the delay in patient permits. The Palestinian health ministry denied dragging its feet with regard to financial commitments, saying Israeli and Hamas media were waging a coordinated campaign against it. The ministry further said that Hamas refers patients for treatment in Israel even if they aren't eligible for it, and that Israel, in turn, restricts patient entry. 

Palestinian and Israeli sources told Haaretz on Thursday that following the reports and international pressure, Palestinian and Israeli officials reached a consensus, and that as of Sunday the Palestinian health ministry will lift restrictions on financial commitments for Gazans' medical treatment. 

Hamas spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of "crimes against humanity," saying his conduct led to the death of several sick Gazans.